Curriculum

Master's Degree - Family & Community Services

The Family & Community Services Master's Degree is a 36-credit hour program. All students are required to complete 30 credit hours of core coursework (detailed below) plus an additional 6 credit hours of electives and/or a capstone project.

All core courses are offered twice a year. Please use the suggested course sequence and talk to your advisor for further input on course sequencing and selection.

  • First (preferably) or Second Semester: Foundations and Principles of Family and Community Services
  • Parenting Education and/or Interpersonal Relationships and/or Lifespan Development should be completed prior to taking Family Dynamics
  • Next to last semester: Program Design, Evaluation, and Implementation or Program Administration and Management
  • Final semester: Program Design, Evaluation, and Implementation or Program Administration and Management
  • The capstone project or class varies according to the university in which you are enrolled. Your academic advisor can provide you with details about this part of your degree program.

Core Courses: 30 credit hours

All core courses are offered twice a year. Please use the suggested course sequence and talk to your advisor for further input on course sequencing and selection.

  • First (preferably) or Second Semester: Foundations and Principles of Family and Community Services
  • Parenting Education and/or Interpersonal Relationships and/or Lifespan Development should be completed prior to taking Family Dynamics
  • Next to last semester: Program Design, Evaluation, and Implementation or Program Administration and Management
  • Final semester: Program Design, Evaluation, and Implementation or Program Administration and Management
This course is an introduction to the field of family studies and related professions that involve working with families and communities.
This course is an in-depth examination of interpersonal relationships. It includes theoretical perspectives, research methods, relationship forms, relationship processes, and how context affects relationships.
Students learn about human development, including cognitive, social-emotional, motor, language, and moral domains from both lifespan and bio-ecological perspectives. The course focuses on major theories of development and current research on micro-macro relationship.
Students examine theories, models, methods, research, and skills related to parenting and parent education.
Students examine theories of family function and dysfunction, techniques of assessment, and models of family intervention.
Survey course of personal finance and family resource management literature to provide an overview of how individuals and family members develop and exercise their capacity to obtain and manage resources to meet life needs. Resources include the self, other people, time, money, energy, material assets, space, and environment.
This course provides students with resources related to managing stress and coping with crises across the lifespan to use in their own lives and the lives of families they serve. Students learn about the biopsychosocial nature of stress; methods of coping with stress, anxiety, and conflict; and models of effective family functioning in the presence of stress and crises.
In this course, students explore the evolution of a resilience approach to the study of families and human development across the life cycle.
This course introduces students to the development, administration, and management of youth, family, and community service organizations. It includes special focus on the roles and responsibilities of administrators and managers.
This course is an overview of the program development process and outcome evaluation of community, children, and family programs. Students develop knowledge through participating in a community-based project involving the practical application of program design and evaluation methods.

Elective Courses

Elective course topics vary each semester. Consult your academic advisor when selecting electives.

This course centers on roles of nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) in the U.S. and globally. The course reviews mission, scope of work, and activities of NGOs as they pertain to poverty alleviation, health promotion, community development, violence reduction, and disaster relief in different geographic and cultural settings. The course includes how NGO interventions and activities affect families, and how this varies across NGOs by sector and type (for example, human rights and political NGOs, community-based organizations, and faith-based NGOs). Students considering professional careers with NGOs will benefit from the theoretical foundations of the course as well as the practical application of concepts. This course examines the following questions, among others: What are the strengths and limitations of NGOs in local and global settings? What are the negative and positive effects of aid distribution during violent conflict? To what extent are NGOs’ practices reflective of the needs and desires of the families and communities served? What is the voice and role of community members in NGO activities?
This course focuses on causes and impact of poverty, the relationship and interrelationship of poverty to individual and family functioning, and programs, actions and proposed actions to break the poverty cycle.
This course introduces students to the grant development and management process. This course is not intended to cover all aspects of grant development and management; it is intended to give students confidence in their grant development abilities and inspire them to learn more. Students learn and use professional writing skills throughout the course.
Examines the development, formation, implementation, and application of policy issues related to family issues and social problems. Emphasis placed on how policy is made and how professionals can influence policy issues and outcomes.

Practicum/Independent Study/Capstone Class

The capstone project or class varies according to your home university. Your academic advisor can provide you with details about this part of your degree program.

Required or elective courses such as creative components, directed studies, practica, research and theses are available through your home university. Consult with your academic advisor about course selection and scheduling.
Program Summary
Cost per credit hour:

2023-2024: $600
2024-2025: $610
Learn more about tuition and cost

Average time to complete:
Master's degree: 27 months or less
Graduate certificate: 6-12 months

36 Hours


12 Hours

University Contact
These campus coordinators can help you navigate Great Plains IDEA. Click on the university name to learn more about how Great Plains IDEA works at that campus. Ashley Schultz
Meagan Rau
Rae Ann Montgomery
Sarah (Heewon) Kim
Janice Clawson
Lisa King
University Members
Members of the Great Plains IDEA are universities accredited by a regional accrediting agency recognized by the U.S. Department of Education. Member universities recruit, admit and graduate students, teach in an academic program and contribute to the leadership and maintenance of the alliance. Membership in the alliance is a selective process that engages institutional leadership at all levels.

Headshot photo of Ana Treptow smilingIn addition to professional development and advancement, this program challenges and promotes my personal growth as I gain skills and understanding applicable to my own life and relationships.  I look forward to using the lessons from each class in every segment of my life.

– – Ana Treptow, Family and Community Services Master's Graduate,
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