Jun 23, 2024  
Ohio University Graduate Catalog 2023-24 
Ohio University Graduate Catalog 2023-24 [Archived Catalog]

Child and Family Studies - MS

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Master of Science in Child and Family Studies

Child and Family Studies – MS6469

Department of Social and Public Health
Grover Center W324
Ohio University
Athens, OH 45701

Delivery Mode: Athens Campus

Terms of Entry: Fall, Summer

Terms of Entry Requiring Program Permission: None

Program Overview

The Child and Family Studies (CFS) graduate program offers an in-depth study of children, adults, and families along the life span. We offer two concentrations: 1) child life and 2) family gerontology.

The CFS 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.


Child Life

This concentration prepares students for a career as a Certified Child Life Specialist (CCLS), as designated by the Association of Child Life Professionals, 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 in child life foundations and theory, life span development, and child life clinical training in our simulation lab. Applicants are required to have volunteer experiences (75 hours minimum) in a child life department within a hospital, and documentation is required as part of the application packet.

The child life graduate program is a two-year program that includes a summer child life practicum and a final 600 hour child life internship.

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.

Child life students have the option of adding an extra full year to their program and receive a master’s in public health (MPH M.S.). 

Child life graduate students can add any of the following graduate certificates within the two-year program: Global Health Certificate, Healthcare Leadership Certificate, Health Policy Certificate.

Program Learning Outcomes

Upon completion of the program, students will be able to:

  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.

Further Information

Link to Program: https://www.ohio.edu/chsp/social-public-health/child-family-studies/graduate

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
  4. Additional requirements, child life concentration:
    • 75 minimum hours of volunteer experience within a child life department in a hospital (documentation required)
    • Medical terminology course
    • Anatomy and Physiology course with a lab
    • Written personal statement must describe the following:
      • Applicant’s introduction to the child life specialist profession
      • Applicant’s relevant background (for example, volunteer experience, undergraduate or professional work)
      • Applicant’s interest in the profession
  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.

International Students

This program permits full-time enrollment in residence at Ohio University, and an I-20 may be issued based on admission to this program.

Graduation Requirements

Complete 33 credit hours as follows:

Core Courses

All students in the Child and Family Studies master’s program must complete the following courses:

Child Life Concentration Courses

Culminating Experience

All students will complete a capstone research project. Child Life concentrators will also complete a 600-hour clinical externship.

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