Aug 05, 2020  
2020-2021 Graduate Catalog 
    
2020-2021 Graduate Catalog

Master of Science in Applied Human Development and Family Sciences


This major provides professional career enhancement for advanced graduate work and research, college teaching, and programming and administration in family social services and child development settings in community and government agencies, including youth work, gerontological programming, child life programs in hospitals, infant and child care programs, family support services, and family life and parenting education.

A program of courses is developed cooperatively by the student and an adviser. In addition to taking the required courses, the student may focus on an individualized area of interest through the selection of courses within and outside the school.

Students-at-large intending to take courses required by this program should meet with the program coordinator.

Within the major, there is also the opportunity to specialize in marriage and family therapy and leadership in aging studies.

Check departmental information for any additional requirements.

The student learning outcomes for this degree are located at http://www.niu.edu/assessment/clearinghouse/outcomes/index.shtml.

Admission


Upon admission into the program, students are required, within 30 days, to notify the area coordinator in writing of their intention to register for classes in the term for which they were admitted. Failure to do so may result in cancellation of admission.

An applicant is required to have a minimum of 9 semester hours of undergraduate courses in human development and family sciences, or the equivalent including a course in family relations and one in child or lifespan development. Three of the 9 hours must be an upper-division family theories or child development theories course. A student may be required to remove deficiencies in the area of applied human development and family sciences by successfully completing designated courses. These deficiency courses should be completed during the first semester after admission to the major. Graduate students’ undergraduate deficiencies have to be met with a grade of B or better. Failure to do so may result in removal from the program.

The maximum combined total of student-at-large hours plus transfer credit used in the degree program may not exceed 12 semester hours. For course work taken while a student-at-large, no more than 6 semester hours taken in the school and 6 hours outside of the school may be used in the degree program. Exceptions to these limits may be approved in special cases by the coordinator of the applied human development and family sciences faculty, provided that the Graduate School limit of transfer credit is not exceeded.

Since admission/enrollment in the major is limited, declared majors in the applied human development and family sciences program have priority for course enrollment. In such cases, students-at-large may not be allowed to enroll in some courses, or may be dropped from courses in the school within the graduate student drop period.

Thesis Option Requirements


Students choosing the thesis option must take a total of 6 semester hours of FCNS 699A, and must be continually enrolled for at least one (1) credit hour for every semester once they begin their thesis study. Students choosing the thesis option complete the requirement through the successful oral thesis defense and acceptance of the thesis by the Graduate School. Students must be enrolled for thesis hours during the semester(s) during which they defend and submit their thesis to the Graduate School.

Non-Thesis Option Requirements: Comprehensive Examination


Students choosing a non-thesis option will fulfill the comprehensive examination requirement by successfully completing a proctored essay examination. Students must be enrolled in the term in which the comprehensive examination is taken.

Requirements


This program requires a minimum of 30 semester hours.

  • Additional courses with approval of the adviser (6)

Course work from the following (3-12)


Three or four of the following including at least one 600-/700- level course (9-15)


Special Requirements


Special Requirements for HDFS 594


Prerequisites for enrollment in the practicum in administration of quality programs for young children (HDFS  594) are (1) completion of a minimum of 9 graduate semester hours in applied human development and family sciences; (2) previous full-time employment for at least one year in a licensed early childhood program or other professional setting related to young children and their families or the equivalent of the following: supervised on-campus practicum (HDFS 590) and an early childhood administration course (HDFS 534); (3) provide written proof of a fingerprint-based criminal background check in compliance with DCFS’ policies; and (4) consent of school.

Special Requirements for HDFS 631


Prerequisites for enrollment in the child development internship in community programs (HDFS 631) are (1) completion of a minimum of 9 graduate semester hours in applied human development and family sciences; (2) previous full-time employment for at least one year in a licensed early childhood program or other professional setting related to young children and their families or the equivalent of the following: supervised on-campus internship (HDFS 590), both guidance and planning courses (HDFS 330 and HDFS 331/HDFS 331A), a parent-child interaction course (HDFS 537), and an early childhood professional programs course (HDFS 534); (3) HDFS 637; (4) provide written proof of a fingerprint-based criminal background check in compliance with DCFS’ policies; (5) proof of Illinois Network of Childcare Resource and Referral Agencies’ Gateway Registry; and (6) consent of school.

Special Requirements for HDFS 632


Prerequisites for enrollment in the family services internship in community programs (HDFS 632) are (1) completion of a minimum of 9 graduate semester hours in applied human development and family sciences; (2) previous full-time employment for at least one year in a social services program or family therapy setting or the equivalent of all of the following: (a) 50 hours of approved volunteer work, (b) a group process class (HDFS 382 or COUN 540), and (c) a professional issues class (HDFS 581 or HDFS 692); (3) provide written proof of a fingerprint-based criminal background check in compliance with DCFS’ policies; and (4) consent of school.

Special Requirements for HDFS 638


Prerequisites for enrollment in the parent education internship (HDFS 638) are (1) undergraduate course work in child or adolescent development, including principles of guidance (HDFS 330 or equivalent) and course content in ethics (HDFS 534, HDFS 581, HDFS 692, or equivalent); (2) completion of a minimum of 9 graduate semester hours in applied human development and family sciences, including HDFS 538 and one other content course related to the focus of the practicum; (3) completion of or co-enrollment in HDFS 637 or HDFS 684; and (4) consent of school.

Specialization in Leadership in Aging Studies (33)


The specialization in leadership in aging studies is intended for those interested in pursuing leadership positions in aging, including, but not limited to, long-term care, social services, service management, and research and evaluation. The program is designed to meet competencies outlined by the Association for Gerontology in Higher Education as well as the needs of those intending to sit for the Illinois Nursing Home Administrator’s License. The foundation for the program is the systemic study of the development of individuals and families within an ecological and global framework. Note: The Illinois Nursing Home Administrators License also has specific experience requirements. See state of Illinois codes for further details. 

Application Process


Students are admitted for the fall and spring semester each academic year. Preferred deadlines for application are March 1st (for summer/fall admission) or September 1st (for spring admission). The following documents are to be submitted: 

  • Completed application for admission to the NIU Graduate School (select Master of Science Applied Human Development and Family Sciences) 
  • Official transcripts from all undergraduate and graduate institutions to the NIU Graduate School 
  • GRE scores to the NIU Graduate School 
  • A personal/goals statement to the NIU Graduate School 
  • Two letters of recommendation to the NIU Graduate School  

Admission


Upon admission into the program, students are required, within 30 days, to notify the area coordinator in writing of their intention to register for classes in the term for which they were admitted. Failure to do so may result in cancellation of admission.

An applicant is required to have a minimum of 6 semester hours of undergraduate courses in family relations and lifespan development or an equivalent course. A student may be required to remove deficiencies in the area of family relations and lifespan development by successfully completing designated courses. These deficiency courses should be completed during the first semester after admission to the specialization. Graduate students’ undergraduate deficiencies have to be met with a grade of B or better. Failure to do so may result in removal from the program.

A baccalaureate degree from an accredited institution is required prior to formal admission to the AHDFS program. All applicants must first be admitted to the Graduate School at NIU. Applicants must provide evidence of academic competence by a combination of GRE scores, undergraduate GPA, or the equivalent. Students applying for and admitted to the specialization in leadership in aging studies must also meet the requirements for admission and retention in the master of science in applied human development and family sciences.   

Special Requirements for Field Work in Gerontology 


Prior to supervised field work, a criminal background check is required and other items may be requested by the external site. The leadership in aging studies program may not be able to place students in supervised field work if they have a criminal record or positive drug screen results. 

Thesis Option Requirements


Students choosing the thesis option must take a total of 6 semester hours of HDFS 699A, and must be continually enrolled for at least one (1) semester hour for every semester once they begin their thesis study. Students choosing the thesis option complete the requirement through the successful oral thesis defense and acceptance of the thesis by the Graduate School. Students must be enrolled for thesis hours during the semester(s) during which they defend and submit their thesis to the Graduate School. 

Non-Thesis Option Requirements: Comprehensive Examination


Students choosing a non-thesis option will fulfill the comprehensive examination requirement by successfully completing a proctored essay examination. Students choosing the thesis option fulfill the comprehensive examination requirement through the successful oral thesis defense and acceptance of the thesis by the Graduate School. Students must be enrolled in the semester in which the comprehensive examination is taken.  

Students must complete the following required courses:


Required (33)


Additional course work may be taken from the following:


Specialization in Marriage and Family Therapy


The specialization in marriage and family therapy, accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Marriage and Family Therapy Education, emphasizes the practical application of systemic family therapy principles to the diagnosis and treatment of problems in human relationships.Through extensive course work and clinical experience working with couples, families, and individuals under the supervision by Approved Supervisors of the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy (AAMFT), students learn to integrate theory and research while developing the clinical skills of marriage and family therapists. The specialization prepares students to function in mental health, family service, hospital, business, and social service settings.

Upon graduation, students have completed all requirements for a state associate marriage and family therapy license and for association membership in AAMFT. SMFT students graduate with a Master of Science in Applied Human Development and Family Sciences with a Specialization in Marriage and Family Therapy. Additional information about the specialization may be found on the FACS website.

Application Process


The specialization in marriage and family therapy admits a limited number of students once a year in the spring semester. Accepted applicants begin the program in the following fall semester. The priority deadline for applications is January 15. Late applications will be considered if space is available. Applications for the specialization in marriage and family therapy are completed on-line through the Graduate School. The following documents are submitted to the Graduate School:

  • Completed application
  • Unofficial transcripts from all undergraduate and graduate institutions
  • GRE Scores
  • Statement of Purpose
  • Three letters of recommendation
  • Current resume/curriculum vita

Guidelines for the Statement of Purpose are provided on the website for applicants.

Admission


After a review of the applications, qualified candidates are invited to an interview day in February. Under extraordinary circumstances, faculty may conduct a long-distance interview with a candidate. Admission decisions are made following the interview process. Students are accepted into the graduate major in Applied Human Development and Family Sciences. Graduates of the program receive a Master of Science in Applied Human Development and Family Science with a Specialization in Marriage and Family Therapy.

Students admitted to this graduate major are required to have 9 undergraduate semester hours in human development and family sciences including a course in:

  • Child or Lifespan Development
  • Family Relations
  • Family Theories or Child Development Theories (Upper Division)

Upon acceptance, the coordinator of Human Development and Family Sciences will notify candidates if there is a deficiency with the three required courses. Students are required to complete deficiency courses with a B or better by the end of their first semester in the SMFT Program. Failure to do so may result in removal from the program. Deficient courses may be taken at NIU or another institution.

Special Requirements for Practicum


A fingerprint-based criminal background check, as defined by the Specialization in Marriage and Family Therapy, is required prior to starting practicum. The Specialization in Marriage & Family Therapy faculty may be unable to allow a student to begin practicum if he or she has a criminal record. Therefore, the student may not be able to complete the Specialization in Marriage and Family Therapy.

Thesis Option Requirements


Students choosing the thesis option must take a total of 6 semester hours of FCNS 699A, and must be continually enrolled for at least one (1) credit hour for every semester once they begin their thesis study. Students choosing the thesis option complete the requirement through the successful oral thesis defense and acceptance of the thesis by the Graduate School. Students must be enrolled for thesis hours during the semester(s) during which they defend and submit their thesis to the Graduate School.

Non-Thesis Option Requirements: Comprehensive Examination


Students choosing a non-thesis option will fulfill the comprehensive examination requirement by successfully completing a proctored essay examination. Students must be enrolled in the term in which the comprehensive examination is taken.

Requirements


Students must complete a minimum of 54 semester hours in the program for graduation. This includes 500 supervised clinical contact hours completed within the field of marriage and family therapy. This may be done through required course work and work experience or internship.