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Program Overview

The Great Plains IDEA Family and Community Services masters degree will provide you with a well-rounded curriculum that focuses on understanding family and community dynamics, delivering quality services, and managing programs. Our online format allows flexibility by providing online classes you can complete from any location.

Program Outcomes

This program will provide you with the skills to:

  • Strengthen your local community by designing and delivering quality programming
  • Empower families during times of transition or stress
  • Cultivate strengths of individuals and families
  • Recognize the role of diversity (e.g., racial/ethnic, military, religious) in family and community dynamics
  • Understand the unique strengths and challenges of military life

Career Outlook

Graduates of this program work in a variety of settings promoting family life and family/community well-being. Graduates hold jobs in county extension offices, army community services, pre/post-deployment assistance, family advocacy programs, emergency shelters, crisis centers, consumer credit counseling services, and United Way.



  • FAM 801Family Resource Management3 Credits

    This course offers a survey of current personal finance and family resource management literature to provide an overview of current consumer finance research from multiple perspectives.

  • FAM 801Crises Across the Lifespan3 Credits
  • FAM 802Family Dynamics3 Credits

    Students examine theories of family function and dysfunction, techniques of assessment, and models of family intervention.

  • FAM 803Lifespan Development3 Credits

    Students learn about human development, including cognitive, social-emotional, motor, language, and moral domains from both lifespan and bio-ecological perspectives. The course focuses on major theories of development and current research on micro-macro relationship.

  • FAM 804Interpersonal Relationships3 Credits

    This course is an in-depth examination of interpersonal relationships. It includes theoretical perspectives, research methods, relationship forms, relationship processes, and how context affects relationships.

  • FAM 808Program Administration and Management3 Credits

    This course introduces students to the development, administration, and management of youth, family, and community service organizations. It includes special focus on the roles and responsibilities of administrators and managers.

  • FAM 809Program Design, Evaluation and Implementation3 Credits

    This course is an overview of the program development process and outcome evaluation of community, children, and family programs. Students develop knowledge through participating in a community-based project involving the practical application of program design and evaluation methods.

  • HDFS 814/FAM 804Parenting Education3 Credits

    Students examine theories, models, methods, research, and skills related to parenting and parent education.

  • HDFS 874/FAM 800Foundations and Principles of Family and Community Services3 Credits

    This course is an introduction to the field of family studies and related professions that involve working with families and communities.

  • HDFS 875/FAM 805Resilience in Families3 Credits

    In this course, students explore the evolution of a resilience approach to the study of families and human development across the life cycle.


  • FAM 892Nongovernmental Organizations and Families: A Global Perspective3 Credits

    This course centers on roles of nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) in the U.S. and globally. The course reviews mission, scope of work, and activities of NGOs as they pertain to poverty alleviation, health promotion, community development, violence reduction, and disaster relief in different geographic and cultural settings. The course includes how NGO interventions and activities affect families, and how this varies across NGOs by sector and type (for example, human rights and political NGOs, community-based organizations, and faith-based NGOs). Students considering professional careers with NGOs will benefit from the theoretical foundations of the course as well as the practical application of concepts. This course examines the following questions, among others: What are the strengths and limitations of NGOs in local and global settings? What are the negative and positive effects of aid distribution during violent conflict? To what extent are NGOs’ practices reflective of the needs and desires of the families and communities served? What is the voice and role of community members in NGO activities?

  • FAM 892Grant Development & Management3 Credits

    This course introduces students to the grant development and management process. This course is not intended to cover all aspects of grant development and management; it is intended to give students confidence in their grant development abilities and inspire them to learn more. Students learn and use professional writing skills throughout the course.

  • HDFS 895Families in Poverty3 Credits

    This course focuses on causes and impact of poverty, the relationship and interrelationship of poverty to individual and family functioning, and programs, actions and proposed actions to break the poverty cycle.

Admissions and Requirements

To be accepted to this program, you must have:

  1. A bachelor's degree

  2. Previous work experience

    Resume/Curriculum Vitae that includes the following: -Employment history -Education, degrees -Honors and leadership -Student organizations, professional organizations, and honor societies -Honors, special awards, research and other creative work -Other material related to your professional background and experience

  3. Taken the TOEFL

    (Only required if English is not your native language)

  4. A written personal statement

  5. 3 letters of recommendation

  6. Official transcripts from all previous schools

To apply to this program:

  1. Complete the  university graduate application online (program code:7722) Complete the Department Application Form which includes your academic statement and your personal statement. All applicants  must  clearly indicate the faculty member(s) from whom they wish to receive research mentorship. Master’s plan A track. You do not need to submit GRE scores if you are a U.S. resident applying to the Master’s Plan B (professional track) program. International applicants must submit GRE scores for the Plan A and Plan B Master’s Program.
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Key Dates

Fall 2021

Application Deadline

June 1, 2021

Spring 2021

Application Deadline

October 1, 2020

Summer 2021

Application Deadline

February 1, 2021

Tuition & Fees

In State Tuition

  • $590
  • Per Credit Hour

Out of State Tuition

  • $590
  • Per Credit Hour


As one of the top research universities in the world, Michigan State University has advanced the common good with uncommon will for more than 160 years.

MSU pushes the boundaries of discovery and forges enduring partnerships to solve the most pressing global challenges while providing life-changing opportunities to a diverse and inclusive academic community.