Apr 17, 2024  
2023-2024 Graduate Catalog 
2023-2024 Graduate Catalog

Human Development and Family Science, MS

Program Coordinator: Sandy Lookabaugh (133 Rivers Building West; 252-328-1336; triebenbachers@ecu.edu)

The Human Development and Family Science, MS is designed for students whose career goals are in child and family services. With advanced study in human development and family science (HDFS), students are able to fill a variety of professional roles in the administration of programs serving children, families, and older adults; in teaching young children, preadolescents, and young adults; and in specialized clinical roles in child life, early intervention, developmental evaluation, and other mental health and human services programs.

Each student’s program of study is tailored to fit his or her needs and interests, and students are encouraged to select an area of specialization that will prepare them for in depth study in a related discipline.

Opportunities for national and international internships are available for HDFS students to expand their study and experience. Students may apply for the National Council on Family Relation’s certification in family life education and other certifications.

All students must successfully pass a comprehensive examination prior to beginning work on their research. The comprehensive examination contains two components: an objective component on the following courses: HDFS 6401, HDFS 6402, HDFS 7007, and HDFS 7400; and a written component.

Following successful completion of the comprehensive exam, students may choose one of two options: a thesis option or a research project. Both options include building research skills and the completion of a research-related product

The degree requires 36 s.h. as follows:

2. Area of specialization - 6 s.h.

Note: At least 3 s.h. must be HDFS courses.

4. Options - 6 s.h.

Select one of the following options: 


Students seeking eligibility for child life certification who have not completed an undergraduate internship will need to complete a 6 s.h. child life internship in addition to the required hours for degree completion.

Licensure/Certification Requirements in North Carolina

The curriculum for all ECU Certificates, Degrees, and other Graduate Programs  have been designed to meet the licensure/certification requirements in North Carolina and prepare students to sit for licensure/certification exams in North Carolina. The various licensure boards in each state are responsible for setting requirements for licensure/certification in their state. Other states have their own requirements, and you’ll want to make sure your program meets criteria in your home state (or state where you intend to work) before you apply. Search our state  Licensure Dashboard to see if the program you’re interested in meets the educational requirements for licensing/certification in your home state (or state where you intend to work).