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M.S. Child and Family Studies

MS in Child and Family Studies banner

Do you enjoy working in diverse settings? Are you interested in working with children and families to improve quality of life and create positive changes? The master’s in child and family studies focuses on human development with a theory-to-practice approach, allowing students to learn in the field. Graduates are prepared to critically evaluate and synthesize issues related to children, youth, and families. The degree requires 30 credit hours, including a grant writing class and a choice between internship and thesis options.

What makes the program appealing to so many professionals is its structure, which enables students to gain new expertise without sacrificing their job or lifestyle. Created to meet the needs of busy professionals, the program’s coursework is 100% online. Students completing the internship may do so from any approved location across the country; the thesis option can also be completed at a distance.

Program Benefits

  • 100% online
  • Graduates of the program are skilled in the following areas:
    • Advocacy
    • Grant writing
    • Enhance quality of life for children and families
    • Create positive changes in communities, organizations, and educational settings
  • Credentialed faculty with broad research interests
  • No out-of-state tuition ever charged
  • Access to support services designed to help students succeed in online coursework

The minimum requirements for acceptance are as follows:

  • A bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited college or university.
  • 2.75 GPA (on a 4.0 Scale) for all hours earned past the first 60-semester or 90-quarter hours of the baccalaureate degree.
  • Application and Fee
  • Official copy of Transcript(s)
  • Letter of Professional Intent
  • References
  • The GRE IS NOT required for admission into this program.

Application Process

1. Apply for admission

  • Visit the WKU Online Admission Page for more information.
    • There is a $65 application fee.
  • Complete the WKU Domestic and International Graduate Application
    • Under Planned Course of Study Section, Choose:
      • Category of Study >>> Masters
      • Planned Course of Study >>> Child and Family Studies (0489)

2. Submit Required Materials:

    • Request ALL official transcripts from ALL post-secondary institutions you have attended.
    • The transcript must be forwarded from the college or university registrar electronically or directly to the Graduate School. 
    • Send your official transcripts from each college attended to Graduate Admissions. 
      • You may request electronic transcripts through the National Student Clearinghouse. This speeds up the admissions process considerably. If your school is not listed with the Clearinghouse, please contact them directly to see if they have another process in place for electronic submissions or request an official copy be sent by mail.
    • Submit a 2-3 page letter of professional intent describing professional interests and career goals.
      • The letter should be a measure of an applicant's writing style and writing ability.
      • It should be 2-3 pages in length and is expected to be well organized, free of typing and grammatical errors, and clearly written.
      • It should have an introduction, clearly stated purpose, and contents that demonstrate the best impression of the applicant's writing. 
      • The letter of professional intent should articulate and demonstrate your specific qualifications for the program of study. We are interested in an applicant's reasoning for their intended course of study. Therefore, each of the following points must be addressed.
        • Why do you want to pursue this degree?
        • What are your career goals once you complete the program?
        • Describe an impactful situation or experience you have had working with children, youth, and/or families.
        • Describe the most important characteristics and qualities needed by professionals in working with children, youth, and/or families and where you stand relative to developing them.
    • The letter of professional intent should be emailed to graduate.school@wku.edu to be included with the graduate application.
    • Submit 3 letters of reference from previous instructors, colleagues, or supervisors indicating the applicant's ability to succeed in graduate classes.

Deadlines for Admission Applications & Transcripts 

  • Fall Semester: Rolling Admission
  • Spring Semester: Rolling Admission

The MS in Child and Family Studies requires students to complete 30 credit hours of graduate work, including a required core of 15-18 hours, and advisor-approved electives of 12-15 hours.

Below is a list of program requirements and the semester in which the courses may be available via web through WKU Online, which refers to semester-based online courses or self-paced through WKU On Demand.

Required Core Courses (15-18 hours)

FACS 510

Professional Development Seminar in Family and Consumer Sciences (Fall, spring)

FACS 511

Grant Writing for Child and Family Programs (Summer)

EDFN 500

Research Methods (Fall, winter, spring, and summer)

FACS 577 or FACS 550

Child Development Theory and Research (Spring)

Youth and Family Theory and Research (Fall)

FACS 580 or
FACS 599

Internship (Fall, spring)

Thesis Research/Writing


Required Electives (12-15 hours)

FACS 540

Infant and Toddler Development and Research (Spring)

FACS 543

Global Perspectives of Child and Family (Fall)

FACS 551

Community, Child, & Youth Program Development (Spring)

FACS 562

Advanced Family Resource Management (Fall)

FACS 598

Special Topics in Family and Consumer Sciences (Spring)

EDFN 603

Qualitative Research in Education (Summer)

EDFN 501

Educational Statistics (Fall, spring, and summer)

Please note the following as you plan your program of study:

  • Additional course options are available on campus. Please click HERE to see the full schedule of classes.
  • Students can also choose to enroll in a graduate certificate program and use up to 12 hours of courses to fulfill their elective requirements with advisor approval. 
  • A list of available graduate certificates can be found HERE.
  • Students may transfer up to 12 hours from another graduate program or institution to fulfill program requirements (if courses meet transfer requirements and advisor approval).

Eligibility Requirements and the Application Process

Financial Aid includes grants, scholarships and loans for educational purposes. To qualify for federal student aid you must meet certain requirements. General eligibility requirements can be reviewed on the Federal Student Aid website. Here are a few basics to keep in mind:

  • Your eligibility is determined through an application process. So, your first step is to fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid at www.fafsa.ed.gov. Even if you doubt your eligibility, apply. Approximately 90% of those who apply qualify for some form of aid. View a step-by-step guide through the application process.
  • Distance learning courses are treated the same as face-to-face courses. If your application is approved, you may elect to take web, on demand or face-to-face courses. Distance courses through On Demand require same semester completion and an On Demand Agreement.
  • You must be classified as a degree-seeking student to qualify. Degree seeking normally refers to an associate, baccalaureate or master degree. However, some stand-alone certificates are eligible.
  • Certificate Eligibility: As a general rule, if you are seeking an undergraduate certificate (certificate only; no degree), the program must require at least 16 credit hours, 15 weeks of instruction and be clearly tied to a profession. If you are seeking a graduate certificate (certificate only; no degree), the program must require at least 8 credit hours, 10 weeks of instruction and be clearly tied to a profession. For additional information on certificate eligibility, please email fa.questions@wku.edu. Certificates may also be earned in conjunction with degrees at the associate, baccalaureate and master levels.
  • You must be registered at least half-time to receive aid (6 credit hours for undergrad students; 4.5 credit hours for grad students).
  • You must meet federal and state regulations regarding Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) to remain eligible. View the complete SAP Policy.

Veterans and Active Military

WKU is a military friendly school. Veterans and active military are required to file additional forms for military tuition assistance. The Office of Veterans Affairs unit that helps ensure all appropriate information is on file. Visit the Veterans Affairs office website.

Academic Department

Program Advisor: Dr. Adam West
Phone: (270) 745-5138
Website: wku.edu/ahs/

WKU Online

Email: learn.online@wku.edu
Phone: (270) 745-5173
Toll-Free: (888) 4WKUWEB / (888) 495-8932
Website: wku.edu/online 

The Graduate School

Email: graduate.school@wku.edu
Phone: (270) 745-2446
Website: wku.edu/graduate  

For more information about the program, fill out the form below.

Some of the links on this page may require additional software to view.

 Last Modified 2/25/20