Master of Family and Consumer Sciences

The College of Human Sciences offers a Master of Family and Consumer Sciences (MFSC) degree (non-thesis). Students may choose a specialization from the various departments within the college. The Department of Human Development and Family Studies (HDFS) offers these MFCS specializations:

MFCS – Family financial planning (online)

MFCS – Youth development (online)

MFCS – Gerontology (online)

MFCS – Human Development and Family Studies (campus-based, see below)

Master of Family and Consumer Sciences Degree with a Specialization in Human Development and Family Studies (Non-Thesis)

The Master of Family and Consumer Sciences degree specialization track in HDFS provides students with the opportunity to enhance their background knowledge and skills for working with children and families. Specifically, the objectives of this track allow students to:

  • Obtain knowledge of basic theory and research methods in human development and family studies
  • Acquire basic tools in statistics for informed consumption of research

A variety of opportunities exist for employment in human service agencies, child care centers, intervention programs, outreach, personal and financial resource management, and careers related to housing needs. Each program is individualized to optimize the existing background of the student for further development and expansion of skills and knowledge. Students with backgrounds in child/human development, family studies, education, psychology, sociology, and economics may find a good fit in the department for their academic goals. The requirements for the MFCS degree with program in human development and family studies includes 19 credits in theories and research methods and 18 credits in other HDFS courses. A written final exam is also required.

Admissions requirements



Specialization in Human Development and Family Studies (MFCS-HDFS) Core Courses

HDFS 501: Graduate Studies, Research & Ethics in HD FS  (2 credits)

HDFS 510: Theories of Human Development (3 credits)

HDFS 511: Family Theory (3 credits)

HDFS 503: Quantitative Research Methods (4 credits)

HDFS 505: Application of Quantitative Research Methods (3 credits)

HDFS 504: Qualitative Research Methods  (3 credits)

Additional credits in Research/Statistics (2 credits)

Other Program Requirements

Eleven additional credits of other coursework in HDFS

HDFS 599 Creative Component: Written and oral integrative final exam (5 credits)

GRE is NOT required for MFCS-HDFS (non-thesis)

Creative Component (Written Final Exam)

The final written examination for the MFCS-HDFS specialization option consists of a 10-15 page paper that the student prepares and submits to his or her committee two weeks prior to the final oral examination.

The student and the major professor will discuss the topic of the paper in terms of its application of the student’s course work to his/her life situation, for example, current position, goals, previous experience. Based on that discussion, the Program of Study (POS) committee will specify a problem that the student will address through the preparation of a paper approximately 10-15 pages in length (not including the references).

The paper will probably take the form of a review of relevant literature, followed by a discussion of the application of the research findings to the problem.

The student will have one month to prepare and submit the paper to the POS committee. The paper will serve as a basis for the oral examination, although areas of questioning also may cover any coursework taken for the MFCS degree. If the paper is not acceptable to the POS committee, the major professor will repeat the written exam procedure for a second time. The final oral examination will be conducted only if the written exam is passed.

This paper is to be an original effort on the part of the student. The major professor/POS committee will not serve in any editorial capacity. References should include primary references from the research literature (for example, journals, not magazines or newspapers), although a few citations from relevant review articles will be acceptable. The internet should be used judiciously because much information is without peer review and would not count as primary reference material. Some electronic information, such as electronic journals, is acceptable. Students should consult with the major professor when in doubt about those sources or other readings. Failure to follow this protocol may result in not passing the written exam.

The final paper should be 10-15 pages, double spaced, one-inch margins, 12-point font, with references formatted in APA style. The references are not included in the 10-15 pages.

FCS Licensure and Endorsement Options

Our program offers non-degree plans for obtaining family and consumer sciences (FCS) teaching licensing and FCS endorsements. The following checklists are used to evaluate your transcripts and provide a guide for your program of study. Reviewing the appropriate checklist for your situation will assist in your planning. Be aware that online courses are available, but limited, and some family and consumer sciences education and studies (FCEdS) courses are offered alternating summers. Refer to the schedule of classes for course offering information.

Do you have a Bachelor’s degree and need a teaching license in FCS?

Teacher Licensure Checklist

Do you have a teaching license, but need the FCS endorsement?

Endorsement Course Checklist

Endorsement Course Suggestions

The first step in getting your license or endorsement is to have your transcripts reviewed by our program. Please send transcripts and program questions to Michale Hansen.

Need More Information?

Graduate Program:
DeAnn Barnes
2330E Palmer Building
2222 Osborn Drive
Ames, IA 50011-1084