Child Development and Family Science, MS—Family Science Specialization

About the Family Science Specialization

Our Graduate Family Science Specialization is a comprehensive program designed to provide you with an in-depth understanding of family dynamics, child development, and the social and cultural factors that affect family functioning. We emphasize a practical approach, with a strong foundation in theory and research. You will develop your skills in working with families from diverse backgrounds, promoting healthy family relationships, and advocating for policies that support family well-being.

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Why Study Family Science at CWU?

Our Family Science graduate program involves research projects and practical experience, providing you with opportunities to contribute to the field's body of knowledge.

This can be especially valuable if you plan to pursue a PhD. We prepare you for leadership positions within organizations that serve families, such as non-profits or government agencies. Enjoy being a part of a small cohort throughout the program, allowing for rich relationship-building in a supportive learning environment.

Where is this program offered?

How much does this program cost?

Explore information on Cost, Aid, and Value to make an informed decision about investing in your education at CWU.

Does CWU offer assistantships?

We offer several graduate teaching assistantships in Child Development and Family Science. Graduate assistants teach entry-level Child Development and Family Science undergraduate courses, in close collaboration with a faculty mentor. Contact us to discuss assistantship possibilities in the program.

Find opportunities to fund your degree through the School of Graduate Studies and Research.

Where can I find more information?

Please visit the CWU Academic Catalog for current information about admission requirements, course descriptions, learner outcomes, and credit information.

Visit the School of Graduate Studies and Research for additional program eligibility information.

Careers and Opportunities

Upon graduation, you are prepared for a wide range of careers in child and family-related fields.

  • Family Support Specialist
  • Case Manager
  • Social Services Specialist
  • Family Life Educator

In addition to these career paths, you may also pursue further education and research opportunities, such as a Ph.D. in Family Science or a related field.

Additional Program Information

  • Admission Requirements 

    Admission Details and Deadlines: 

    • The deadline for priority applications is Feb 1st.
    • We admit a cohort of students each year. We review applications in February and hold interviews in March. Applicants will be notified of admittance decisions in April and can start the program in either Summer or Fall quarter.
    • We do not require the GRE for admission.
    • We do not have any required prerequisite coursework or clinical hour requirements for admittance to the program.
    • However, we recommend that students pursuing child life certification take undergraduate courses in child development, anatomy, and physiology. These courses are available at CWU and can be completed during the graduate program if students enter without them.
    • Child Life applicants are encouraged to engage in hospital and/or medical camp volunteer experience before starting their graduate coursework, with at least 100 hours recommended.
  • Program Requirements  

    • All Child Development and Family Science Master’s students complete a Multi-term Practicum or Internship experience in an agency suited to their professional goals.
    • The practicum requirement for the graduate degree requires students to complete 360 hours of volunteer, practicum, and/or internship experiences. All students design and conduct a research study specific to their area of interest. Students can present their findings at a university-sponsored research symposium and 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.


Choose the Right Path for You

At CWU, we encourage you to find the right path—or paths—for you. When choosing a practicum or internship, the Child Development and Family Science Department is dedicated to helping you find the best placement possible. View Practicum Opportunities students like you have completed at CWU.

Our Students Stand Out in the Community

Our Child Development and Family Science (CDFS) Department prepares students with the knowledge, skills, and perspectives needed to stand out in community, government, and graduate settings. See CDFS Student Research and Program News featured in Pearson Education articles, Pulse articles, the Yakima Herald, and more.

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