Applied family science program available to graduate students

Justin Hall on Kansas State campus in Manhattan, Kan. (Archive photo by Parker Robb | Collegian Media Group)

Kansas State’s School of Family Studies and Human Services announced on Sept. 5 that an applied family science graduate program is now available to students seeking master’s and doctoral degrees.

According to the College of Human Ecology website, the program updates the previous family studies graduate curriculum to combine education, research and outreach.

The graduate faculty began discussing potential curriculum changes in Jan. 2016 before they were approved in spring 2017.

“Our discipline’s professional organization, the National Council on Family Relations, has recommended using the term ‘family science’ in place of ‘family studies’ to provide more unity within the discipline nationally and internationally and to reflect the science that takes place in our field,” Melinda Markham, applied family science program director, said. “We took this as an opportunity to review our curriculum and make changes to better prepare our students for careers following graduation.”

Students can pursue a master’s degree in family studies and human services with a specialization in applied family science or a Ph.D in human ecology with a specialization in applied family science.

According to the college’s website, graduate students in the applied family studies program will be trained to develop, implement, evaluate and administer programs designed to enhance family and relationship health and well-being.

Erin Yelland, assistant professor and extension specialist, said the student-centered curriculum propels students to excel in their personal and career goals.

“Students who get into this program would be part of a very hands-on program for their graduate career,” Yelland said. “Our faculty is very passionate and involved in student success and we look forward to mentoring students and making them successful.”

The master of science degree consists of 36 credit hours, while the Ph.D in human ecology consists of 90 credit hours. The doctorate program will provide students with the skills to teach, conduct research and practice in the field. Students who choose the thesis option will also develop research skills to investigate family phenomena.

Sydney Brellenthin, junior in family and consumer sciences education, said the opportunity to study family sciences as a graduate student is not something she originally considered, but the opportunity to continue her education with the faculty would be a positive.

“My favorite part of studying family sciences is all of the teachers,” Brellenthin said. “It’s a very tight-knit community, and there are so many opportunities to get involved.”

Yelland said the additional experience that students garner from the program would allow students to move up within their future careers.

“Often times people with the undergraduate degree end up working in social services, but with this graduate degree, it prepares you to take on a managerial role or leadership role, which could elicit a pay increase,” Yelland said.

To apply for the graduate program, students must complete an online application and submit materials including a personal statement, an academic writing sample, three letters of recommendation and official transcripts from all post-secondary institutions.

Students applying for the doctoral program must submit official GRE scores. International students must submit official TOEFL scores.

Graduate studies applications are due on Feb. 1 for priority admission, but applications will be accepted throughout the remainder of the year, though assistantship funding cannot be guaranteed.