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Online Master's in Child Development and Family Studies

Tarleton State University's online Master of Science (M.S.) degree in Child Development and Family Studies (CHFS), expands your career opportunities in educational and community settings. This graduate program in Child Development and Family Studies emphasizes content areas such as theories related to families and children, research methodology, and current issues impacting child development and family dynamics. 

By providing an intellectually rigorous curriculum studying children, adolescents, and families across the lifespan, our online Master’s program prepares you for career advancement throughout the field of child development.

Why earn a M.S. in Child Development and Family Studies?

As a field, Child Development and Family Studies encompasses various academic disciplines and leads to a variety of employment opportunities. More employers in Child Development and Family Studies are beginning to require bachelor’s degrees for lower level positions, and seeking out directors, administrators, and family service advocates who hold graduate degrees in Child Development and Family Studies. Obtaining a master's degree provides you with the comprehensive background to contribute to research and to qualify for leadership roles.

What can you do with a Master's in Child Development and Family Studies?

With your online Master’s degree in Child Development and Family Studies, you can pursue a variety of positions including child advocate, child life specialist, and researcher, in Texas and beyond. 

Common employment settings for those with expertise in child development include:

  • Education (early childhood education programs, higher education institutions, parent/family life education)
  • Social / Community Services (child advocacy centers, adoption/foster agencies, behavioral health centers)
  • Medical (Hospitals and health care facilities)
  • Business (companies that manufacture and market children's items)
  • Communication (publishing children's books, television shows, magazines)
  • Government (early childhood intervention, military child care and family programs, legislative advocacy)


Tarleton’s online degree in Child Development and Family Studies is accredited, demonstrating our commitment to high-quality graduate education. 

Graduate Degree Requirements

The Child Development and Family Studies graduate program requires 30 semester credit hours (SCH); 21 of the 30 SCH are required courses. If you select the thesis option, 6 SCH are reserved for the thesis with another 3 SCH for the prescribed electives. If you select the non-thesis option, there are 9 SCH of prescribed electives.

The coursework examines child development from a variety of perspectives, incorporates education-related classes, and introduces you to research methods in the social sciences. For more information on child development classes, please refer to the university catalog.

Required/Core Courses

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CHFS Program Highlights

As a student in the Child Development and Family Studies graduate program, you have an abundance of avenues to advance your career aspirations and find community.

A student plays with a child in a classroom

Research Opportunities

You will have the ability to design a research study using various qualitative and quantitative techniques and assist faculty on their existing research projects.

A student plays with a teddy bear

Career Services

Tarleton’s Career Services offers you a wide variety of professional development opportunities that support child development careers. A few of these programs include:

  • Career counseling and My Plan
  • Handshake Jobs Portal
  • Mock Interviews
  • Resume Assistance
  • Business Etiquette Dinners
Student playing with children

Texans Assisting Parenting Students (TAPS)

The TAPS program provides resources for students who are also parents on the Stephenville and Fort Worth campuses. Family-based activities for parenting students are held throughout the year.

Student working with children

Service Day

Each spring, the CHFS program hosts at least two Service Day projects that benefit children and families in many communities. As an online student, you can be offered a project that allows you to participate from your location or travel to the Stephenville campus for the opportunity to perform community service in person. e.

Students interacting with children


The CHFS Club provides opportunities for graduate and undergraduate students to socialize, provide community service, and learn more about the overall field of child and family studies.

What master's degrees are related to Child Development and Family Studies?

An online Master’s in Child Development and Family Studies provides you with advanced knowledge and research skills related to human development and family structures. Tarleton State University also offers over 100 different graduate degrees and certifications that may be of interest, including:

Learn more about Tarleton's Child Development and Family Studies Program

Tarleton’s Master of Science in Child Development and Family Studies is a career-focused graduate program offering the analytical skills and specialized knowledge to pursue leadership positions. The online coursework of this Master’s program offers child development classes in a convenient format that still allows for rigor and academic opportunities. 

Request information to learn more about Tarleton’s Child Development and Family Studies degree.