Graduate School - Family Studies

Contact Information

Steven Wages, Advisor
ACU Box 27890
Abilene, Texas 79699-7890
Hardin Administration Building, Room 120

Phone: 325-674-2306
Fax: 325-674-6524


Page Links:

Family Studies (MS)

Family Studies Certificate


David Gotcher, Associate Professor
Charlie Pruett, Assistant Professor
Steven Wages, Assistant Professor

Faculty from other departments who
teach in this program:
Paul Lakey, Professor of Communication
Tom Milholland, Professor of Marriage and 
     Family Therapy



The Department of Sociology and Family Studies offers a Master of Science (MS) degree in Family Studies designed to prepare students to fulfill personal and professional roles in community agencies and services, in the church, in education and in government. It also prepares students for advanced graduate study of the family.

The program is especially intended for students who want to learn to plan prevention and enrichment programs rather than provide therapy to individuals and families. Students are taught to deal effectively with family groups, children, adolescents, parents and community organizations in an environment of social change.

This degree program qualifies a student to apply to be a Certified Family Life Educator (CFLE), certification granted by the National Council on Family Relations (NCFR). Upon completion of the advanced degree requirements, students may apply for Provisional Certification leading toward full certification after two years of experience in family life education. Completion of the MS degree in family studies does not guarantee certification by NCFR.

Admission Requirements
Although a bachelor’s degree is required for admission, no specific undergraduate major is required. Applicants with fewer than 15 hours of undergraduate credit in the social sciences, behavioral sciences or family studies will, however, be required to complete undergraduate
leveling courses. A student may demonstrate proficiency in these areas by examinations or
other evaluations before or during enrollment in the family studies core.

For admission criteria, please refer to the Graduate School Admission Requirements section of this catalog. In addition to the general Graduate School requirements, additional admission requirements are as follows:

          1. A satisfactory GRE score;

          2. A written purpose statement describing the applicant’s reasons for wishing to enter the
              family studies program and future career plans; and

          3. A personal interview with the department chair.



Major Code: FST

The Master of Science degree in family studies requires a minimum of 36 hours,
to be completed in either:

          1. 30 hours of course work, plus 6 hours of thesis credit; or

          2. 36 hours of course work, including a supervised field practicum.

At least half of the hours required must be in 600-level courses.

Requirements for the MS in family studies are:

          1. Family studies core, 15-18 hours:
              BMFT 639 Family Theory/General Systems Theory
              FAM 532 Family Economics
              FAM 552 Parenting and Family Skills
              FAM 553 Family and Community
              FAM 555 Ministry to Fathers
              SOCI 562 Marriage and the Family

          2. Human development, 6 hours:
              PSYC 631 Human Life Cycle II
              PSYC 646 Child and Adolescent Development

          3. Research methodology, 6 hours:
              PSYC 511 Elementary Statistics
              PSYC 611 Introduction to Research

          4. Thesis or field practicum, 3-6 hours: consult with advisor.
              FAM 606 Field Practicum (3 hours)
              FAM 699 Thesis (6 hours)

          5. Electives, 0-6 hours

          6. Comprehensive exam or thesis defense. Students may retake this exam only once.



A graduate certificate in family studies is an 18-hour program available for those who do not wish to complete a degree in family studies.

Requirements for the certificate in family studies are:

          1. Core courses, 9 hours:
              BMFT 639 Family Theory/General Systems Theory
              FAM 552 Parenting and Family Skills
              FAM 553 Family and Community

          2. Electives, 9 hours: consult with advisor.

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