In the Department of Sociology and Family Studies, we prepare our students for dynamic careers that focus on helping individuals and families reach their highest potential.


Earn an advanced degree completely online

There may be no greater calling than working to improve the lives of children and families. UNA's M.S. in Family Studies offers students the opportunity to advance their careers without ever stepping foot on campus. Even if you are already working full time, managing family responsibilities, or living out of state, you can fit our fully online program into your schedule.

UNA's M.S. in Family Studies program boasts an extremely high job placement rate in field post-graduation. Our graduates are working as Parent Educators, Financial Stability Coaches, Family Case Managers, 4-H Youth Development Agents, Family, and Consumer Sciences Extension Agents, and Youth Advocates.

The Master of Science in Family Studies Degree is an online program intended to meet the educational needs of professionals who wish to serve children and families in family and social service agencies. The Family Studies graduate program seeks to train students to be effective leaders in these organizations by providing students with a strong background in research, application, and family studies content.

Non-majors may enroll in a total of six credit hours within the discipline with department approval. Students wishing to take additional courses must seek department approval from the graduate program coordinator prior to registration.

How to Apply

  1. Apply Online
  2. Request letters of recommendation
  3. Request official transcripts
  4. Submit official test score report for GRE or MAT
  5. Check your Application Status


In addition to the general requirements for admission to graduate studies (see General Regulations and Procedures), admission to the Master of Science Degree program in Family Studies requires the following:

  1. Test scores: submission of satisfactory scores prior to admission on either the Miller Analogies Test (MAT) or on the Graduate Record Examination (GRE); recommended minimum score of 388 on the MAT or a minimum GRE score of 146 on the Verbal and 140 on the Quantitative portions of the exam.
  2. Scholastic achievement: minimum overall grade point average of 3.0 (4.0 scale) is recommended on undergraduate work.
  3. Preparation: must hold a bachelor’s degree or higher from an institution that meets the general admission requirements for graduate study at UNA.
  4. International Credentials: candidates holding a bachelor’s degree, a graduate degree or the equivalent from an institution outside the United States of America must submit a WES, ECE, or other approved international credential evaluation.
  5. References: three professional references must complete our Recommendation for Admission form using the online admissions system. At least one recommendation form must be completed by a current or former faculty member who can attest to the student’s academic abilities
  6. Resume: candidates must submit a record of employment and volunteer activities.
  7. Application essay: candidates must submit a letter of intent that outlines the reasons they are interested in the program and how it aligns with their professional goals.
  8. Professional writing sample: candidates must submit a paper that best reflects their writing and critical thinking skills, typically chosen from undergraduate work.

The Department of Sociology and Family Studies recommends a minimum GPA of 3.0 and a minimum test score (388/MAT or GRE 146/ verbal and 140/quantitative) for admission to the graduate program.


Students will complete a plan of study in Families Studies Graduate Orientation (FS 500) with the assistance of the Family Studies Graduate Program Coordinator.


Non-majors will be limited to a total of six hours within the discipline and all courses selected require departmental approval.

Program Requirements

The M.S. in Family Studies program is comprised of 31 credit hours of course work and the completion of a comprehensive exam or thesis. The program is designed to be completed in two years.

Core Courses of Study 19
FS 500 - Family Studies Graduate Orientation (1)
FS 600 - Research Methods in Family Studies (3)
FS 601 - Applied Statistics in Family Studies (3)
FS 602 - Family Theories (3)
FS 604 - Families and Social Policy (3)
FS 606 - Family Problems and Methods of Intervention (3)
FS 599 - Practicum (3)
FS 698 - Comprehensive Exam (0)
Elective Courses of Study
12 hours of the following or advisor approved graduate coursework.
FS 501 - Family Life Education (3)
FS 510 - Family Diversity and Social Change (3)
FS 543 - Social Psychology of Intimate Relationships (3)
FS 605 - Contemporary Topics in Family Studies (3)
Total 31

Non-Thesis option

Students completing the Non-Thesis Option must, in the last semester in which all other course requirements are expected to be completed, register for FS 698 (Comprehensive Examination) in order to take a written comprehensive examination prior to graduation in order to complete the program.

Thesis option

In addition to the courses above, students who request and receive permission to complete the Thesis Option must complete a minimum of 6 semester hours of FS 695 (Thesis) and register for FS 699 (Thesis Defense) during the last semester in which all other course requirements are expected to be completed. Thesis students will not be required to take FS 698 (Comprehensive Exam).

FS 695 - Thesis/Project (3-6)
FS 699 - Thesis/Project Defense 0

Career Options in Sociology and Family Studies

1. Human Services (Family, Social, and Community Services)

Possible Jobs: Possible Employers:

Entry level positions:
Case Manager; Child/Family Advocate; Family Resource Coordinator; Foster Care or Adoption Professional; Housing Officer; Activity/Recreation Coordinator; Volunteer Coordinator; Youth Services Worker; Crisis/Hotline Worker; Clergy, Pastoral Care

Require a Master’s degree:
Program Administrator/Director; Development Officer; Grant Writer; Program Evaluator and Researcher

Government, non-profit and for-profit agencies designed to serve children, youth, families, seniors, and communities; Child welfare/foster care and adoption agencies; Residential children’s homes; Hospitals, home health, long-term care agencies; Military family support services; Substance abuse prevention programs; Child and adult protective services; Senior day program centers; Community centers; Summer camp programs; Disability support services; Family support centers; Faith-based organizations; Research institutes

2. Education

Possible Jobs: Possible Employers:

Entry level positions:
Certified Family Life Educator (CFLE); Extension Agent; Family Resource Coordinator; Preschool Teacher; After School Program Worker; Birth to Three Service Coordinator; Adult Education Services Provider

Require a Master’s degree:
Program Administrator/Director; Curriculum Developer; Grant Writer; Program Evaluator and Researcher

Cooperative Extension; Parenting, family life education, and outreach programs; Marriage and family enrichment programs; Child development centers; Head Start programs; After school tutoring/social-emotional skills programs; Health and wellness prevention settings; Vocational rehabilitation/job training agencies

3. Policy & Law

Possible Jobs: Possible Employers:

Entry level positions:
Advocate; Case Manager; Juvenile Services Specialist; Victim Assistance Worker

Require a Master’s degree:
Community Organizer; Policy Analyst; Lobbyist; Strategic Analyst; Grant-writer; Program Administrator/Director; Program Evaluator and Researcher

At all levels of government (Departments of Health, Education, Human Services, Nutrition, Occupational and Human Safety, Immigration Services, etc.); Nonprofit child/family research/advocacy organizations; Policy “think tanks”; Non-governmental organizations (NGOs); Criminal justice settings; Juvenile service settings; Domestic violence shelters; Victim advocacy groups; Human rights organizations; Child and adult protective services; Legislative advocacy groups

4. Communications & Business

Possible Jobs: Possible Employers:

Entry level positions:
Job Placement Specialist; Human resource specialist; Employee assistance specialist; Family financial counselor; Consumer protection specialist

Require a Master’s degree:
Program Administrator/Director; Development Officer; Program Evaluator and Researcher

Jobs programs; Human resources departments; Public relations departments; Development offices; Consumer service departments/agencies; Financial agencies

*Adapted from resources developed by the University of Maryland and The University of Tennessee.

Tuition & Fees

Alabama Resident
1-11 Hours $277.00/hour
12-18 Hours $4,155.00 flat rate
Program taught in:
  • English

See 2 more programs offered by University of North Alabama College of Arts and Sciences »

Last updated December 12, 2018
This course is Online
Start Date
2 years
11,736 USD
$326 per hour, plus $50 Distance Learning per hour and $15 Technology fee per hour.
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