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FHD MS Course Descriptions

CDE 531 Theoretical Issues in Child Development
The primary emphasis is placed on understanding theories of change that take place during the development of individuals. An emphasis is placed on understanding how theories affect the way you perceive and react to others, with a particular emphasis placed on children and adolescents. We cover the 'grand' theories of development with an emphasis on practical application. We also will cover the important role that observation plays in interpreting and understanding developmental change. In this way, an enhanced appreciation of children and their changing needs should be gained, as well as an appreciation of the issues involved in guiding and socializing them.

FAS 500 Research Methods
This course is designed to strengthen your ability to evaluate and conduct social research. We will first focus on the fundamentals of social research, including: the scientific method, developing testable theoretical propositions, causal inference, sampling, and measurement. We will also explore the diverse methods available to social scientists, including surveys, social experiments, observation and ethnography, and content analysis, and discuss their strengths and weaknesses.

CDE 501 Social Science Statistics
This class is designed to introduce you to the statistical concepts necessary for understanding research in the social sciences and the application of that research in real world settings. This class will help you to (a) analyze, organize, and interpret data using common statistical tests conducted with SPSS, (b) understand the logic of common data analysis techniques, (c) choose appropriate statistical procedures, and (d) critically assess statistics encountered in both the popular media and academic settings. The primary focus of this course will be on applied statistics and does not require an advanced mathematical background. If you are someone who plans on working in settings outside academia but desires to be a wise consumer of information, this class is an excellent choice. If, on the other hand, you are someone who wants to conduct research and analyze data in an applied setting, this class will start you on the path to understanding and selecting appropriate statistical techniques.

FAS 598 Cultural Diversity
This course examines issues of diversity in families within the United States and around the world. It explores the context of individual family units with a focus on family systems theory and larger systemic issues affecting diverse families utilizing critical race theory. Today, families in the United States are more diverse, in terms of structure, culture, and ethnicity, than at any other point in history. At the same time, common family experiences are shared across groups, across cultures, and across borders. The course explores risk and protective factors associated with ethnoracial, physical, religious, and sexual diversity, as well as resilience, prevention strategies, and future directions. This class is atypical in its approach to family diversity issues in that it does not examine families by categorizing them into groups that are viewed as monolithic and unchanging. Thus, do not expect to learn about "Asian families" or "Hispanic families" or "African families;" rather, expect to learn about families/family dynamics and the reciprocal influence of culture, ethnicity, economics, and politics.

FAS 598 Parenting
Focus on theoretical, empirical and practical applications of parenting and parent-child relationships across the lifespan.

FAS 598 Marriage and Family Relationships
The purpose of this course is to contribute to students' understanding of family theory and the use of theory to understand family interactions. Major theoretical perspectives on family relationships will be introduced from a variety of disciplines, including sociology, psychology, history, and economics. Emphasis will be placed on enhancing students' ability to critique, compare/contrast, and integrate family theories. Each week there will be scholarly discussions and analyses of the ideas contained in the reading material and the implications of the theories for our understanding and study of families.

FAS 598 Leadership and Social Justice

This course will expose you to current literature on leadership, especially as related to social justice. It will allow you to practice leadership in a "safe place," where failure can be seen as personal growth as well as success. This course also is designed to provide you with new knowledge about yourself, others, and social justice. It will prepare you for real world leadership and strategic planning.

Capstone Courses and Culminating Experience

The Online Master's degree in FHD includes three capstone courses that must be taken in sequence, ending with a non-thesis, applied culminating experience. Each part of the Capstone experience allows for some customization to fit individual students' professional and academic needs and interests. Ultimately, this culminating experience will provide students with a deeper understanding of family and human development, as well as professional competencies and insights.

The capstone experience consists of the following parts:

  • Capstone Project Part I: Professional Development. Capstone Project I allows students to explore and begin to specify their professional goals and means of obtaining those goals. This process of professional exploration and goal specification will help ensure that, together, the student and student's capstone instructor can craft personalized Capstone Projects and experiences that maximize the student's potential of obtaining their goals.
  • Capstone Project Part II: Exploration/Specialization. Capstone Project II allows students to delve into their area(s) of interest, developing a greater depth and understanding of topics that influence children, youth, and families, and that further the student's academic and professional goals. Students develop and enhance their writing, research, and presentation skills through various assignments.
  • Capstone Project Part III: Application. Capstone Project III is the culminating experience for the master's program and is taken in a student's last session of the program. This is the point at which students apply what they have learned through their coursework. Once again, the emphasis is on a personalized and useful experience for the students. In consultation with a capstone instructor, the student will fashion a field experience plan that allows the student to gain real-world experience related to family and human development. Activities that fulfill the field experience requirement are vast and varied, often limited only by a student's creativity.