2023-2024 Graduate Course Catalog 
    Dec 03, 2023  
2023-2024 Graduate Course Catalog

Applied Human Development and Family Science, MA


Eunjoo Jung, Graduate Program Co-Director

Rachel Razza, Chair, Graduate Program Co-Director
144D White Hall

Program Description

The master’s degree (M.A.)  in applied human development and family science is designed to meet the goals of individuals who seek to work in applied settings (such as service agencies, Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs)) in which a broad background in human development and family science, administrative skills, and an appreciation for increasingly diverse client communities are important. The hallmark of our M.A. is that it offers broad training in the theory and methodology of lifespan human development and family science, training in skills critical for working in administrative or other roles in service delivery agencies, a specialized focus on topics offered through elective coursework, and the opportunity to work in an applied setting with special populations that represent growing sectors of our communities both in national and international settings.

The program requires the completion of 30 credits of coursework including a 3-credit hour project experience. Students may choose to focus their studies in a variety of areas in the HDFS field such as early childhood, gerontology, issues faced by immigrant and refugee children and families, HDFS data analytics, program administration, community and youth development, etc. All students must complete the core course requirements. Depending on their interests, students can use elective coursework to focus their studies on specific areas of human development (e.g., early childhood education, youth development, gerontology, children and families in medical settings), on the development of expertise in particular skills, or in specific areas or populations of the global community. Finally, in this students are required to complete a project either in a local context or an international (see the Graduate Manual for details).

The M.A. program prepares students to work directly with children, youth, and families in various educational, familial, or community settings in both regional and international settings. Courses and training emphasize multicultural perspectives in development and family relationships as well as diverse research methodologies and scholarship. 

The degree may be completed through full-time or part-time study. Students who are interested in an accelerated degree, may complete the required coursework and project during a single academic year (including summers).  

All students must file a tentative program of study during their second semester of enrollment in the program. Students transferring courses from another institution must file a program of study prior to completing 12 credit hours at Syracuse University.


Students seeking admission to the Department of Human Development and Family Science must meet the general admissions requirements of the Graduate School. Although no single factor determines entry to the program, competitive applicants typically have a minimum of: 1) GPA of 3.00 or higher (undergraduate and/or graduate work); 2) GRE scores of 144 Quantitative, 153 Verbal (please note, the GRE exam must be taken within the last five years). For international students whose primary language is not English, TOEFL scores of 577 (paper test) or 100 for the internet based (IBT) test are desirable.

Part-time Study

Students may pursue their graduate degree on a full or part-time basis. Students must enroll in a minimum of nine credit hours for full-time status. Students enrolled in six credit hours or less are considered part-time.

Financial Support

Limited department financial aid is available in the form of graduate assistantships and scholarship credits for students enrolled in masters and doctoral programs. Financial aid is determined based on merit.

Additional information regarding graduate financial aid can be found at Graduate students applying for financial aid - Syracuse.edu.

Transfer Credit

Master’s students are limited to a maximum of 6 transfer credits.

Satisfactory Progress

Per University Rules and Regulations, graduate students must earn a minimum average of 3.000 for work comprising the program for the degree or certificate and a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.800.
To maintain good standing, all graduate students are required to:
  • Earn a B or better in all required courses.
  • Maintain a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0, including courses taken outside the department (e.g., anthropology, education, psychology, sociology, etc.).

Student Learning Outcomes

1. Analyze and evaluate theory and empirical research on children and families

2. Explain human development and changes in individuals and families across the lifespan

3. Explain and apply the roles of development and change in different cultural communities and contexts

4. Apply knowledge about issues of child and family development in practice

Core Courses required for the M.A. degree (18 credits)

Required coursework provides students with both the theoretical and practical skills that are the basis for work with children and families.

Electives (12 Credits)

Elective coursework, chosen in consultation with the student’s academic advisor, can be focused on the needs of the individual student, allowing the student to focus on particular areas or issues of concern in the field. For example, through elective coursework students may choose to pursue training in data analytics, in working with non-governmental organizations or organizational management, in human development, family science, and related disciplines.

Distribution of Credits

Core Requirements 18

Approved Elective Courses 12

Total 30