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Family and Consumer Sciences

Family Studies Specialization

Master of Science Degree Programs in the Department of Family and Consumer Sciences

Family Studies Specialization

The graduate specialization in Family Studies aims to prepare students to work in Family and Social Service agencies or as Child Life specialists.  The Family Studies specialization seeks to train students to be effective leaders in these organizations by providing training in conflict management, professional development, and program administration.  Students in the Family Studies Specialization will have multiple opportunities for service learning through collaborative research projects, program design, and a supervised internship.

The Family Studies specialization is a 45-47 hour program.  Students typically begin in the Summer term, and will complete the degree after the following Summer.  Students may, however, begin the program during any quarter after they have completed an undergraduate degree and been accepted into the program. Students seeking certification as Child Life Specialists or Family Life Educators may need to complete additional coursework to qualify for certification. 

CWU Catalog: Family Studies Specialization 

Family and Child Life Graduate Program Handout

*Note: We plan to change the name of the program to "Family and Child Life" beginning in the 2016-2017 academic year, pending university approval.

What is unique about the graduate program at CWU?

  • All Family and Child Life Master’s students complete a multi-term practicum or internship experience in an agency suited to their particular professional goals. Students pursuing child life certification can complete this requirement in a child life internship in a children’s hospital.
  • All students design and conduct a research study specific to their area of interest. Students have the opportunity to present their findings at a University sponsored research symposium as well as a regional professional conference.
  • Students have the flexibility to choose a capstone project that best meets their professional goals. Students will work with an advisor to decide whether to complete a thesis research project, an alternative project, or a comprehensive examination.
  • Limited teaching assistantships are available. Assistantships provide tuition support and a stipend in exchange for students serving as instructors and advisors in the family and child life undergraduate program.

How to Apply

Apply for the Family and Consumer Sciences Master's degree with a specialization in Family Studies.

Application Requirements:

  • Online admission application
  • Statement of objectives
  • Three letters of recommendation (*at least one from a faculty member)
  • Official transcripts


  • Applications are accepted on a rolling basis.
  • Deadline for priority application for Summer/Fall enrollment is Feb 1st

For more information about applying, visit the graduate school website.

For more information about the graduate program, contact Duane Dowd, Amy Claridge, or Sarah Feeney.

We have undergraduate programs in Family Science and Child Life.

For more information on professional certifications:

National Council on Family Relations: Certified Family Life Educator

Child Life Council: Certified Child Life Specialist