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Human Development and Family Sciences

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Students are prepared for academic, research and applied careers that address the needs of diverse families and individuals across the lifespan.

The human development and family sciences program offers a flexible model of graduate training that allows students to develop individualized degree plans catered to career goals, provides opportunities to conduct research, supports cross-disciplinary education and emphasizes mentorship and professional opportunities to support students’ development and career placement.

 Contact The Graduate College for general questions about getting started with your application, funding your degree, and more.

If you have program-specific questions after reviewing the program details, we encourage you to contact the following: 

Graduate Advisor
Dr. Christine Gray
Family & Consumer Sciences (FCS), Room 113

“With small class sizes, friendly staff and professors who truly care about my future, I knew that I had made the right choice in choosing this program at Texas State. I couldn’t imagine myself anywhere else.”

— Leslie Wells, M.S. ’17

Course Work

The 37-credit hour program is designed for students interested in research and applied careers. The program prepares students for a broad range of careers in human development and family sciences as it offers advanced educational experiences in the content areas of research methodology, theories related to families and children, child development, and current issues impacting families and children. A child life specialist concentration gives students the foundation to become a Certified Child Life Specialist.

Degree Concentration Hours Thesis Option Minor Option
M.S. Child Life Specialist 37 Non-Thesis No minor
M.S. Child Life Specialist 37 Thesis No minor
M.S. No Concentration 37 Non-Thesis No minor
M.S. No Concentration 37 Thesis No minor
Students in lobby

Online Availability
Part of this program may be offered online. If you are not a Texas resident and will not relocate, please visit the Office of Distance and Extended Learning. International students, please visit International Student and Scholar Services (ISSS) regarding additional considerations in taking online courses.

Students are accepted to top Ph.D. programs and receive various employment opportunities. Child life students have notable success securing internships and employment as Certified Child Life Specialists.

Program Mission

The goals of the human development and family sciences program are to provide students with exceptional classroom and research experiences, support students through practicum and internship experiences, and prepare students to work with diverse populations.

As the first graduate-level child life academic program in Texas, the program also strives to continue to offer its exceptional training from Certified Child Life Specialists that combined have nearly 50 years of clinical experience.

Visit program website ›

Program Faculty

Faculty have established research programs in social and cultural processes; family relationships; infant, child, adolescent and young adult development; gender; teacher-child relationships; and gerontology. Faculty members’ research has been published in top-tier journals including Child Development, Developmental Psychology, Family Process and Journal of Family Psychology. Faculty research has been supported by the Department of Health and Human Services, the Greater Texas Foundation and the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Meet our faculty ›

Career Options

Students will find a variety of career options available after graduation including:

  • Child Life Specialists in hospitals and community-based nonprofit organizations
  • leadership roles in nonprofit agencies and early childhood education programs
  • research and project coordinators in governmental agencies
  • faculty members at community colleges

Students are also prepared to continue their studies in doctoral programs.

Application Process

Step 1

Review Requirements

Application Deadlines

Deadlines U.S. Citizen International
Fall - Priority December 1 December 1
Fall - Standard February 15 February 15
Spring No Admission No Admission
Summer I No Admission No Admission
Summer II No Admission No Admission

Application Deadline
This program has a firm deadline.

Funding Information
Applications must be complete by the priority deadline to be considered for certain types of funding.

Decision Timeline
This program reviews applications on a firm basis.

Application Requirements

The items required for admission consideration are listed below. Additional information for applicants with international credentials can be found on our international web pages.


  Review important information about the online application.

Application Fee

  • $55 nonrefundable application fee
  • $90 nonrefundable application fee for applications with international credentials

  Review important information about application fees.

Transcripts & GPA

  • baccalaureate degree from a regionally accredited university
  • a copy of an official transcript from each institution where course credit was granted
  • minimum 3.0 GPA in your last 60 hours of undergraduate course work (plus any completed graduate courses)
  • background course work

  Review important information about transcripts. Official transcripts, sent directly from your institution, will be required if admission is granted.

GRE Scores*

  • official GRE (general test only) required with competitive scores in the verbal reasoning and quantitative reasoning sections

  Review important information about official test scores.

*GRE scores not required for fall 2022 and fall 2023 applicants.


  • resume/CV
  • statement of purpose (approximately 500 words)
  • three letters of recommendation

  Review important information about documents.


Applicants are required to submit TOEFL, PTE, or IELTS scores that meet the minimum program requirements below unless they have earned a bachelor’s degree or higher from a regionally accredited U.S. institution or the equivalent from a country on our exempt countries list.

  • official TOEFL iBT scores required with a 78 overall
  • official PTE scores required with a 52 overall
  • official IELTS (academic) scores required with a 6.5 overall and
    • minimum individual module scores of 6.0

  This program does not offer admission if the scores above are not met.

  Review important information about official test scores.