Apr 23, 2024  
Ohio University Graduate Catalog 2015-2017 
Ohio University Graduate Catalog 2015-2017 [Archived Catalog]

Child and Family Studies - MS

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Degree Title: Master of Science in Child and Family Studies

Program Name and Number: Child and Family Studies - MS6469

Department/Unit: Department of Social and Public Health

Delivery Mode: Athens Campus

Program Mission: The Child and Family Studies graduate program offers a more in-depth study of children, adults, and families along the life span. In addition to the general CFS graduate program, we offer two concentrations to help graduate students plan an area of focus for their studies: 1) child life and 2) family gerontology.

Program Learning Objectives: CFS General Learning Outcomes:  Students will:

  1. Demonstrate their theoretical and practical knowledge about current approaches to helping people in their chosen field within the profession;
  2. Acquire increasingly complex intellectual skills by demonstrating their knowledge and understanding of the intricate cognitive, emotional and physiological interactions that govern human relationships;
  3. Demonstrate the ability to work effectively with diverse populations.
  4. Demonstrate an understanding of the research process, including the analysis, synthesis, and critical integration of data into a professional research format.

Program Overview:  The Child and Family Studies graduate program offers a more in-depth study of children, adults, and families along the life span. The program prepares individuals who are interested in studying and/or working with families in many settings, including human and social service agencies, and programs for youth, adolescents, and elders. The program focuses on family dynamics, how individuals within the family contribute to and are shaped by these dynamics, and how broad societal contexts influence individual and family functioning. In addition to our graduate program in CFS, we offer two concentrations to help graduate students plan an area of focus for their studies. The two concentrations are 1) child life and 2) family gerontology.


Child Life: This concentration prepares students for a career as a Certified Child Life Specialist (CCLS), as designated by the Child Life Council, the governing organization that oversees this profession. The CCLS helps normalize the hospitalization experience for children and families, and provides specific services that include preparations for medical procedures, coping skills for children during stressful health care experiences, support for siblings and parents, therapeutic medical play, planning and implementing activities to enhance growth and development, and interdisciplinary team involvement. In addition to core cores in the Child and Family studies program, students in this concentration are required to take courses child life foundations and theory, psychology, and early childhood and special education. Applicants having volunteer experiences (50 minimum) in a child life department within a hospital will be given priority application review, so we highly encourage applicants to begin volunteering before the fall semester they are applying.

Family Gerontology:  This concentration focuses on aging within the context of families, more specifically the implications, support needs, and outcomes for adults and their family members as they age and the quality of their relationships across the life course. Child and Family Studies students who choose this concentration also will receive a graduate gerontology certificate to help them better prepare for careers advocating for and helping older adults and their family members. With this concentration, students typically seek employment working with mid to later life adults and their family members or pursue graduate work in such areas as marriage and family therapy, social work, human development and family studies, rehabilitation services, and public/community health.

Graduation Requirements:

  1. Minimum 3.0 GPA
  2. Completion of a final internship (minimum 500 hours)
  3. Completion of a child life practicum and final child life internship(child life concentration only)
  4. Completion of a research project
  5. Minimum semester hours: 42 hours, plus final internship

Admission Requirements:

  1. Minimum 3.0 GPA in relevant/related undergraduate program
  2. 3 letters of recommendation, with at least one letter from an academic professor in applicant’s undergraduate discipline
  3. Written personal statement (APA Style) that addresses applicant’s reasons for graduate study, reasons for interest in our program, strengths of applicant, and future professional goals
  4. Additional requirements, child life concentration:
    1. 50 minimum hours of volunteer experience within a child life department in a hospital (documentation required)
    2. Medical terminology course
    3. Anatomy and Physiology course with a lab
    4. Written personal statement must address the following additional questions:
      1. Tell us about your introduction to the child life specialist profession
      2. Tell us what you have done so far to pursue this profession (volunteer experience, undergraduate work, professional work, etc…)
      3. Tell us why this profession interests you.
  5. All application materials must be uploaded to the Ohio University Graduate College application online site in order to have a complete application and be considered for admission.

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