Our graduate programs are based on the model of the empirically-based professional or social scientist. Graduate students learn to conduct research on child development, family studies, and educational environments in accordance with established standards of scientific inquiry and evaluation. Child and family studies graduate programs seek to produce researchers, scholars, and educators who are capable of independent investigation of family and developmental processes. Students also receive training in how to conduct scientifically-based assessments of prevention, intervention and educational strategies. Many opportunities exist in child and family studies for graduate students to become involved in research on children, youth, and families. The central premise of graduate programs in child and family studies is the idea that scientific inquiry provides the most effective means to improve the welfare of children, youth and families.
A cornerstone idea for child and family studies graduate programs is development in context, or the perspective that human development is best understood in terms of interconnections among families, neighborhoods, schools, communities, cultures, and international environments. A more specific focus within this development in context perspective is an emphasis on children, youth, and families at risk. Together, these two themes, development in context and children, youth, and families at risk, are the foundations upon which our graduate curriculum options are structured.
Concentrations (Required) and Options Available
General-Emphasis — Thesis, Course only with comprehensive exams
Teacher Licensure (PreK-3) — Course only with comprehensive exams
- Complete and submit formal online application to the Graduate Admissions Office, along with the application fee.
- For the department, a completed file for review includes:
- A departmental application
- Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores for the general section
- The GRE is not required for applicants to the MS- Teacher Licensure Pre-K-3 concentration
- Completion of three Graduate Rating Forms by individuals who can attest to the applicant’s potential for graduate education.
- Admission to the graduate program is contingent upon:
- Faculty evaluation of GRE scores
- Not Applicable for Teacher Licensure (PreK-3) concentration
- Undergraduate/graduate GPA
- Rating forms
- Work experience
- The match between student’s goals and department’s foci
- Prerequisites for admission to the master’s program are 9 credit hours of upper-division undergraduate social science.
General-Emphasis concentration, Thesis or Course Only with Comprehensive Exam Options
Credit Hours Required
37 graduate credit hours
- Child and Family Studies Foundation Courses (13 credit hours)
- Computation-Based Statistics (3 credit hours)
- Child and Family Studies Specialization Electives (9 credit hours)
- The CFS specialization credit hours are elected with guidance of the student’s master’s committee.
- General Electives (6 credit hours)
- Courses may be child and family studies (CFS) or may include courses from outside the child and family studies curriculum chosen in consultation with the major professor and committee.
- Option Requirement
- Thesis Option: CFS 500 (6 credit hours)
- Course Only with Comprehensive Exams Option: Practicum Experience (6 credit hours) from CFS 564 and CFS 565
- Students must select a master’s committee chair and file a plan of study with the department head after 12 credit hours.
- Thesis Option: A minimum of two semesters is required for Master’s level research and thesis completion. The thesis is a written account of original research conducted by the Master’s student under the direction of their major professor and faculty committee. It serves as the culminating experience for thesis students.
- Course Only with Comprehensive Exams Option: Evaluation of core knowledge is achieved through a comprehensive examination of required coursework that allows the student to integrate knowledge across courses, including research methods and statistics. The comprehensive examination should be taken during the final semester of required coursework, typically before the start of the third year of doctoral work and prior to the dissertation proposal meeting.
Teacher Licensure (PreK-3) concentration, Course only with comprehensive exam Option
The teacher-licensure (PreK-3) concentration is designed for students seeking a MS along with initial teacher licensure in early childhood education (PreK through Grade 3). The teacher licensure concentration only, is comprised of 24 credit hours and completion of the practice-based review of research paper. At the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, students interested in the MS with a major in child and family studies [teacher-licensure (PreK-3) concentration] must apply for admission to graduate study through the procedures outlined above. Application for admission to teacher licensure (PreK-3) is a part of the application process to the graduate program and is described in the Undergraduate Catalog. Admission to teacher-licensure (PreK-3) is concurrent with admission to the child and family studies master’s program; licensure can be earned (24 credit hours) without completing a Master’s degree. The teacher-licensure (PreK-3) Master’s degree with licensure requires 36 credit hours of graduate course work and a practice-based review of research paper.
Credit Hours Required
36 graduate credit hours
- Child and Family Studies Foundation Courses (9 credit hours)
- Childhood Education Core (includes licensure) (24 credit hours)
- Math Education Course (3 credit hours)
- Required Comprehensive Exam: a practice-based review of research.