Family and Child Studies (M.A.) - Graduate - 2015 University Catalog

The Master of Arts in Family and Child Studies at Montclair State University prepares dedicated practitioners and scholars to address the needs of families and children across the lifespan. Graduates pursue careers working in a variety of areas, including:

  • Community agencies and non-profit organizations serving families
  • State agencies focusing on older adults or youth and their families
  • Residential treatment facilities
  • Foster and/or adoptive care organizations
  • Early childhood education
  • Academic institutions
  • Hospitals
  • Corporations
  • Research
  • Advocacy and social policy

Graduates are also prepared to pursue post-graduate and doctoral education in several areas, including Family Studies, Human Development, Psychology, Sociology, Social Work, Law, Education and other related areas.

Individuals Interested in pursuing the MA/PhD should visit the PhD in Family Studies.


Complete 33 semester hours, including the following 3 requirement(s):


    Complete the following 9 courses:

    FCST 501 Seminar in Family and Child Studies (3 hours seminar) 3
    FCST 506 Introductory Statistical Methods in Family and Child Studies (3 hours lecture) 3
    FCST 507 Research in Family and Child Studies (3 hours lecture) 3
    FCST 509 Research Seminar (3 hours seminar) 3
    FCST 510 Qualitative Methods in Family and Child Studies (3 hours lecture) 3
    FCST 516 Human Development (3 hours lecture) 3
    FCST 544 Intercultural Study of Family (3 hours lecture) 3
    FCST 620 Social Policy and the Family (3 hours lecture) 3
    FCST 640 Family Theories (3 lecture hours) 3

    Complete any 3 semester hours, 500 level or above, with advisement.


    Complete 1 of the following culminating experience options:


      Complete a Master's Project for 3 semester hours with advisement from Graduate Program Coordinator: .

      FCST 697 Master's Project (3 hours lecture) 3

      1. Complete for 3 semester hours.

        FCST 698 Master's Thesis 3
      2. Submit the completed Thesis original and one copy to the Graduate Office. See Thesis Guidelines for details.

Course Descriptions:

FCST501: Seminar in Family and Child Studies (3 hours seminar)

In this course students gain experience identifying issues in family and child studies and analyzing trends as a basis for managing change. Each student designs and plans for implementation of a project. 3 sh.

FCST506: Introductory Statistical Methods in Family and Child Studies (3 hours lecture)

This course provides students with an overview of basic statistics used in family and child studies taking an applied approach. Students develop a conceptual understanding of the methods used in data analysis. They learn about descriptive statistics, normal distributions, confidence intervals, significance tests, correlation, simple linear regression, multiple regression, logistic regression, analysis of variance, and analysis of covariance. Students are also introduced to several advanced statistical methods such as factor analysis, path analysis, and structural equation modeling. 3 sh.

FCST507: Research in Family and Child Studies (3 hours lecture)

Designed to provide basic research and statistical literacy so that the student can develop a research proposal in its entirety in family and child studies. 3 sh.

Prerequisites: FCST 304; Family and Child Study majors only.

FCST509: Research Seminar (3 hours seminar)

Students will develop critical thinking skills as applied to original research and theoretical writing. This course is designed to facilitate the development of ideas and concepts that will be used by students to execute their master's thesis. 3 sh.

Prerequisites: FCST 507.

FCST510: Qualitative Methods in Family and Child Studies (3 hours lecture)

In this course students develop introductory skills for conducting basic and applied qualitative research within the family and child studies discipline. Particular emphasis is on the connections between choice of theory, methodological approach, elements of research design, and analysis strategy. Students also develop skills related to the ethical practice of qualitative research, strategies to enhance validity, and rapport building with research participants. 3 sh.

Prerequisites: FCST 507 or departmental approval.

FCST516: Human Development (3 hours lecture)

In this course, students learn about theories and current knowledge of human development throughout the lifespan (from conception through death). Drawing on lifespan and life course perspectives, students critically examine various issues and topics related to social, emotional, cognitive, psychological, and biological change with an emphasis on the diversity of humans. The role of cultural context in shaping the course of human development is emphasized. Students explore topics related to both typical and atypical development, as well as research methods for assessing developmental change. 3 sh.

Prerequisites: Graduate Standing.

FCST544: Intercultural Study of Family (3 hours lecture)

In this course students perform an analytical study of cross cultural regularities and differentials in family structures, while examining functions and impact of social change on family values and patterns. Students utilize a variety of conceptual approaches to the study of families as well as gain a broad acquaintance with empirical studies and research. 3 sh.

FCST620: Social Policy and the Family (3 hours lecture)

Through this course students gain a historical overview of family policy in the United States and the role of the economy, politics, race, class, gender, and legal and advocacy issues. Students examine major social policies and programs and how they affect diverse families' well-being and quality of life across the life course. Through a social justice lens, students analyze intended and unintended family consequences of governmental policies as well as the policy implications of change in the structures and composition of families. Students also learn the basics of policy formation and the competing constituencies that help shape the process. 3 sh.

FCST640: Family Theories (3 lecture hours)

Students gain an overview of the interface between theory, research, and application of various developmental and behavioral theories related to the study of families and interpersonal relationships. Students engage in an extensive and in-depth review and analysis of the major theoretical frameworks underlying the understanding of family functioning and development. Students also analyze current research on diverse families through varying theoretical lenses. They analysis emphasizes the influence of gender, age, ethnicity, disability, religion, language, immigration, cultural values and beliefs, education, social class, and sexual orientation on the development, understanding and application of family theories. 3 sh.

FCST697: Master's Project (3 hours lecture)

In this course, students will develop and implement a project as part of the culminating experience of their course of study leading to the MA degree in Family and Child Studies. Students will use the skills that they have acquired in their previous coursework and will select a topic for further inquiry based on their professional goals. Each student is required to develop a tangible product such as position paper, journal article, action research investigation, instructional videotape/CD ROM, review of curriculum, policy manual, etc. A formal written report of the completed project is to be submitted. 3 sh.

Prerequisites: FCST 509.

FCST698: Master's Thesis

Students develop an Independent research project done under faculty advisement. Students must follow the MSU Thesis Guidelines, which may be obtained from the Graduate School. 3 sh.

Prerequisites: Departmental approval.