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College of Human Environmental Sciences

Family and Community Services (MA & Online Only)

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Understand. Deliver. Manage

The mission of the new Human Development and Family Science Master’s degree option in Family and Community Services may be summed up in three words – Understand, Deliver, Manage. The goal of the new Family and Community Services online MA option in Human Development and Family Science is to create alumni capable of Understanding family, interpersonal, and community dynamics in order to help individuals and their families through education, resource management, and effective service delivery. In addition, graduates of this degree option will acquire knowledge and skills in program and agency management. Understand. Deliver. Manage.

woman in front of community building

  • Understand individual, family, interpersonal, and community dynamics across the lifespan.
  • Develop knowledge and skills related to the design, implementation, and sustainability of family and community programming.
  • Develop essential knowledge and skills for leadership and management of family and community programs.

Individuals with degrees in social and behavioral sciences who want to work with children, youth, adults, and families in community agency settings are the target students for this master's option. We intend to educate professionals in the field who want additional knowledge and skills related to: (a) program management and evaluation, (b) delivery of programs for children and families, and (c) leadership in social service agencies. Although the primary goal of the Family and Community Services curriculum will be to educate students about family dynamics and how to assist families in their communities by working directly with children, youth, adults, and families in social service agencies, educational settings, and faith-based institutions, as well as military support agencies, we also want our graduates to be capable of directing agencies.

This new MA online degree option is offered by Human Development and Family Science faculty in conjunction with several other university partners as part of the Great Plains IDEA. Interested applicants will apply for admission to this program to the MU Graduate School and to the Department of Human Development and Family Science. Courses will be taught by MU faculty and by scholars from Great Plains IDEA sister institutions and the degree will be awarded by the University of Missouri. In addition to MU, sister institutions in the Family and Community Services program include: Michigan State University, Kansas State University, Oklahoma State University, South Dakota State University, North Carolina State University, the University of Nebraska, and Iowa State University.

The Family and Community Services MA option consists of 36 credit hours, including the 10 core courses shown below. For the remaining 6 credits students may choose from: (a) 6 credits of electives and a capstone examination, (b) 3 credits of electives and internship for 3 credits, or (c) 6 credits of an internship. Elective courses will be offered annually. Exams and internships will include an independently produced paper and an oral examination by the student’s MA committee.


Understand Families in Community Context

HDFS 8100: Foundations and Principles of Family and Community Services (3)
An introduction to the field of family studies and related professions that involve working with families and communities.

HDFS 7690: Family Resource Management (3)
Survey of current personal finance and family resource management literature to provide an overview of current consumer finance research from multiple perspectives.

HDFS 8012: Family Dynamics (3)
An examination of theories of family function and dysfunction, techniques of assessment, and models of family intervention.

HDFS 8520: Lifespan Development (3)
Human development from both lifespan and bio-ecological perspectives focusing on major theories of development and current research on micro-macro relationship.

HDFS 7640: Interpersonal Relationships (3)
In-depth examination of interpersonal relationships, including theoretical perspectives, research methods, relationship forms, relationship processes, and how context affects relationships.

HDFS 7600: Family Resilience Across the Life Course (3)
Exploration of resilience approaches to the study of families and human development across the life cycle.

Deliver Family Service Programs:

HDFS 8510: Parenting Programs and Parent-Child Relationships (3)
An examination of theories, models, research, and skills related to parenting and parent education.

HDFS 7650: Family Crises Intervention (3)
The purpose of this course is to provide students with resources related to managing stress and coping with crises across the lifespan that can be utilized in both their own lives and the lives of those families they serve. Students will be introduced to the bio psychosocial nature of stress; methods of coping with stress, anxiety, and conflict; models of effective family functioning in the presence of stress and crises; and the current literature on how families cope with a variety of life transitions and crises.

Manage Family and Community Service Programs:

HDFS 8235: Program Administration and Management (3)
This course is designed to introduce students to the development, administration, and management of youth, family, and community service organizations.

HDFS 8238: Program Design, Evaluation, and Implementation (3)
This course is an overview of the program development process and outcome evaluation of community, children, and family programs. Modes of outcome scholarship and their implications for community-based programs are discussed. Students will develop knowledge through participating in a community-based project involving the practical application of program design and evaluation methods.

Suggested Electives*:

ESC_PS 7087: (Summer) Youth Development Academy (3)
HDFS 7233: (Summer) Basic Grant Development and Management (3)
HDFS 8087 (Summer): Families in Poverty (3)
HDFS 8087 (Summer): Transitions to Adulthood (3)
HDFS 8234: (Fall) Adolescents and their Families (3)
HDFS 8237: (Fall) Youth Culture (3)

*Or any adviser-approved Course

NOTE: Up to 6 credits can be transferred from other graduate programs if the courses are deemed relevant by your adviser.

Independent Effort:

HDFS 8972: Internship (variable)
HDFS 8999: Exam*

*No course credit is assigned to the exam option.

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