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Master of Science in Family & Child Studies

Graduate Program in Family and Child Studies

 

The Master of Science degree in Family and Child Studies (FCS) is an applied program that provides graduate level study dealing with the needs of families and children.

Core courses include:
  • Introduction to the Graduate Program in FCS
  • Advanced Child Development
  • Program Evaluation in FCS
  • Advanced Program Administration
  • Research Design and Methodology in FCS
  • Advanced Theory in FCS
  • Seminar:  Issues in FCS
If you choose to pursue a graduate degree in Family and Child Studies, you are able to develop a plan of study that best fits your personal and professional goals.

For example, you may choose from two tracks within the Family and Child Studies graduate program:
  • Program Administration and Evaluation Track (37 hours)
  • Child Life Specialist Track (The First Child Life Master's Program in Texas)
You can also choose the thesis or non-thesis option.
  • If you choose the non-thesis option, you will complete two practicum experiences (or a child life internship if pursuing the child life track).
  • If you choose the thesis option, you will complete one practicum (or a child life internship) and six credit hours of thesis.
Depending on the track you choose, you will have between 6 and 12 hours of electives which you can complete in a variety of fields (e.g., counseling, psychology, social work, sociology, special education, etc.)

In addition, classes in the FCS program are offered in the evenings or via the internet or as hybred to accommodate your schedule.
Students whose undergraduate degrees are in fields unrelated to Family and Child Studies are required to take at least a leveling course on the foundations of family and child development. This course is credit/no credit and does not count toward a student’s GPA or graduate course work.

 

Graduate Program in Family and Child Studies - Child Life Specialization

 

Our Child Life Specialist track will provide graduate students with the knowledge and expertise to become certified child life specialists.  A child life specialist is a professional who has been educated and trained to help children and their families understand and manage challenging health care experiences, usually within a hospital setting.  They also plan the health care environment in a way that supports children's growth and development throughout the hospitalization.

Core courses include:
  • Introduction to the Graduate Program in FCS
  • Hospitalized Child:  Child Life Specialist
  • Advanced Methods in Child Life
  • Advanced Child Development
  • Research Design and Methodology in FCS
  • Advanced Theory in FCS
  • Seminar:  Issues in FCS
  • Child Life Internship*
*The child life internship is a full-time, non-paid internship required by the Child Life Council.  It should be completed in the final year of your master's program.  Child life internships are extremely competitive in nature, so be sure to complete your application with the hospitals early.
Please note:  While the Family and Child Studies program will help prepare you for your internship, interns are selected by the individual hospitals.  Therefore, internships are not guaranteed.  Also, due to the competitive nature of internships, it might be necessary to apply to hospitals outside of the Central Texas area. 
Students will be admitted exclusively to the Child Life Track in the fall semester (not spring or summer).  The deadline for Fall enrollment is March 1st.
 If you choose to pursue the Child Life track, you are able to develop a plan of study that best fits your personal and professional goals.

For example, you will have six to 12 hours of electives which you can complete in a variety of fields (e.g., counseling, psychology, sociology, etc.).  Some of these courses include:
  • Loss and Grief Recovery Counseling
  • Child and Adolescent Counseling Methods
  • Healthcare Organization and Delivery
  • Health Psychology
  • Seminar in Medical Sociology
You can also choose the thesis or non-thesis option.
  • If you choose the non-thesis option (37 hours), you will complete a child life internship.
  • If you choose the thesis option (37 hours), you will complete a child life internship and six credit hours of thesis.
For more information regarding the Child Life track, contact:
Dr. Elizabeth Russell
Texas State University - San Marcos
601 University Drive
San Marcos, TX 78666
Phone 512-245-9196
Fax 512-245-3829

 

 

Admission Policy

 
Admission to the FCS graduate program requires the following:
  • a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution
  • an official Texas State Graduate College application
  • a GPA of 3.0 on the last 60 hours of undergraduate coursework
  • a preferred score of 285 on the verbal/quantitative sections of the GRE
  • an official transcript from each college or university attended
  • three letters of recommendation (Recommendation form.)
  • a 500 word statement of purpose
  • a resume

 

What can I do with a Master's degree in Family and Child Studies?


Here is a listing of what some of our recent graduates are doing with their degrees.

 

  • Child Life Specialist at various children's hospitals
  • Child Life specialist in community settings
  • Faculty member at local community college
  • Extension Agent with the Texas Cooperative Extension Service
  • Executive Director for Hope of South Texas (a sexual assault and children's advocacy center)
  • Case Manager, Department of Health and Human Services, Montana
  • Administrator of an Early Childhood Education program with a U. S. military base in Europe
  • Research Associate for the Texas Senate Research Office
  • Program Evaluator for Shore Research
  • Parent Educator with Communities for Recovery

 

Career Opportunities

Medical Focus:  The Child Life Specialist plans activities and programs and acts as an advocate for children hospitalized with a short-term, long-term, or terminal illness.  This is an area of emphasis within the program. 

Early Care and Education Programs:  Administrative positions in early care and education programs in the private or public sectors, e.g., university lab schools, Head Start, corporate organizations, medical centers.

Social/Community Services:  Positions related to varied educational and/or intervention programs including publicly and privately funded programs, e.g., children's programs affiliated with homeless shelters, Texas Department of Protective and Regulatory services, Texas Department of Health and Human Services, the Texas Workforce Commission, or the AVANCE program in San Antonio.

Public Education:  Faculty member of a Community College, School-Age Parenting Program administrator, or Texas Cooperative Extension Service.

Military Early Care and Education Programs:  Civilian positions with both international and US based programs; opportunities for both teaching and administration of programs.  www.USAJOBS.gov.  The international programs are primarily located in Europe.

Child Advocacy:  Work as an advocate for children and families at the state or national level with organizations such as the Children's Defense Fund or Texas Association of Child Care Resource and Referral Agencies.

Early Childhood Intervention:  Programs focused on providing home-based care to high-risk infants and toddlers, e.g., Any Baby Can in San Antonio or Home Spun in the Hays County area.

International Programs:  Various positions in education, administration, or social services programs.  www.USAJOBS.gov.

What do our students have to say about the Family and Child Studies Program?


Since enrolling in the Family and Child Studies graduate program at Texas State, I have been presented with infinite opportunities to explore my personal interests in research, teaching, community education, and publishing.  The intimate and flexible nature of the program allows students to follow their own interests and the freedom to apply themselves through various projects.  The professors are accessible, available, tremendously knowledgeable, and ultimately interested in making the program as valuable to the graduate students as possible.  I have felt less like a student and more like a member of a team throughout my time in the program.  I have been inspired, challenged, and motivated by my professors and my coursework.  I've gained a wealth of knowledge and experiences.  As a result, I am confident I could enter countless professions in the field of family and child studies.

                                                                                                                                  -Brittany Kolkhorst
                                                                                                                                        Thesis Student

I chose the Family and Child Studies program at Texas State because of its small size and its focus on both coursework and applied experiences.  The professors are caring and attentive to students' needs, the classes are challenging but beneficial, and my classmates are like family to me.  Furthermore, the greatest benefit of this program is that it has given me a jump-start into my future career (applied research), for which I am extremely grateful.

                                                                                                                                        -Alice Navarro
                                                                                                                                Graduate Assistant

I chose the Family and Child Studies program at Texas State because it provided me with a wide range of educational experiences to meet my needs in working with family and child programs.  It also fit my work schedule by offering classes at night and on weekends.  Even though I had years of work experience in this field, this program provided me with the depth of knowledge I needed to continue my work with families and children in both an administrative and training aspect.  I highly recommend this program for anyone working in the field because every class was very applicable to the real world.

                                                                                                                                  -Jackie Taylor, MS
                                                                                                      Early Childhood Education Consultant

Choosing to attend the Family and Child Studies graduate program at Texas State was easily one of the best decisions I ever made!  The professors were fantastic and were truly invested in helping the students.  Not only did I leave Texas State with the diploma I had set out to achieve, but I also left with a wealth of knowledge that I could actually apply to my profession as a Child Life Specialist.

                                                                                                                        -Jennie Cerny, CCLS, MS
                                                                                                           Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children

I chose the Family and Child Studies program not only for its emphasis on Child Life but also for the opportunity to be challenged academically.  This program has strengthened my knowledge of child development and families in order to have an advantage in what is becoming an increasingly competitive field.

                                                                                                                                      -Robyn Dickson
                                                                                                                         Graduate Child Life Intern
Dr. Elizabeth Russell, Graduate Program Coordinator
Texas State University - San Marcos
601 University Drive
San Marcos, TX 78666
Phone 512-245-9196
Fax 512-245-3829
For more information email er15@txstate.edu