Family Studies and Human Development and Family Studies

On This Page

Invest In Others By Investing In Yourself

The Master of Arts in Family Studies is a non-clinical program within the Department of Marriage and Family Therapy. Here, students are put on an advanced educational track in early childhood, human development, interpersonal relations, and family studies. The program’s nationally and internationally recognized faculty will teach you everything from basic developmental and behavioral characteristics of the individual within the context of the family system, to conditions that influence human growth and development. Graduates of the program may enter a variety of non-clinical human services vocations and/or pursue further advanced degrees in human and family development.

Application Deadlines for the Family Studies and Marriage and Family Therapy programs are October 1st and January 15th.

Information Session

Come meet our deans and faculty to learn more about our graduate programs.

Message From The Director

3936_gseap_programs_family-studies_preli_06222017.jpg‌Dear Prospective Student,

Family Studies involves the study of human behavior from a developmental and family systems perspective. The curriculum explores how individuals develop over the life span from conception through aging, and how they function within the context of the family system and other environmental influences.

The curriculum is appropriate for those who wish to pursue doctoral studies in related areas to become educators and researchers. You may pursue advanced degrees in areas such as human and family development, early childhood, adolescence, marriage and geriatrics.

As a Family Studies graduate, you may elect to pursue a career in:

  • Social and human services as a case manager, family support worker, advocate, researcher, grant writer, and administrator. These jobs are available in universities, schools, non-profit organizations, hospitals, home health and long-term care agencies, and the government sector.
  • Community service, including becoming a parent and family life educator, grant writer, crisis and hotline worker, program administrator or director. These jobs are available in community centers, cooperative extensions, churches and faith-based organizations, family support centers, parenting education programs, and job programs.
  • Policy and family law as a family policy analyst, researcher, lobbyist or advocate, legislator, and politician. Employment in these areas might include working with domestic violence organizations, legal aid agencies, government offices, international organizations, human rights organizations, and non-profit organizations.

As you explore our website further, please contact me by e-mail if you have any questions or would like to schedule a time to meet with me.

Rona Preli, Ph.D.
Associate Professor and Director of Marriage and Family Therapy

Career & Professional Opportunities

Upon completion of the M.A. in Family Studies, graduates are qualified to seek paid positions in the mental health field. Family Studies graduates may seek employment in a wide variety of non-clinical areas of social service delivery, including:

  • Research
  • Family policy and family law
  • Parenting and family life education
  • Health and well-being
  • Prevention
  • Program evaluation

The program also prepares the candidate to pursue doctoral studies in related areas to become educators and researchers.

Learn more about how the University's Office of Career Planning can support your post-graduate goals, and how Fairfield's tight-knit alumni network can build career and mentoring opportunities that last a lifetime.

Course Offerings

View the course catalog

Required courses:

  • FT 98-01 Comprehensive Examination in Family Studies
  • PY 433 Behavioral Statistics
  • PY 571 Research in Psychology
  • PY 475 Program Evaluation


Additional courses around which each student's program will be designed include:

  • FT 447 Lifespan Human Development
  • FT 550 Introduction to Marriage and Family Therapy
  • FT 555 Foundations of Marital and Family Therapy
  • FT 552 Interventions in Structural and Strategic Family Therapy
  • FT 525 Divorce, Single-parenting and Remarriage
  • FT 561 Advanced Interventions in Family Therapy
  • FT 433 Multicultural Issues in Counseling
  • FT 562 Human Sexuality and Sexual Dysfunction
  • FT 465 Introduction to Substance Abuse and Addictions
  • FT 430 Contemporary Families: Culture, Religion, Childbearing and Community
  • FT 565 Ethical, Legal and Professional Issues in Family Therapy
  • FT 556 Research in Marriage and Family Therapy
  • FT 568 Special Topics in Family Therapy
  • SE 441 Parents and Families of Children with Disabilities


Other family studies elective courses also may be taken.

Core Faculty


Admission Requirements

Applicants for the M.A. in Family Studies must hold a bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited college or university (or the international equivalent) and give promise of meeting the standards set by the School.

Formal Admission Process

Students seeking admission must submit:

  • A completed online application
  • A Non-refundable $60 application fee paid by credit card.
  • A Professional Resume. Applicants are required to submit a current resume that includes employment and education history (submit online).
  • A Personal Statement. Students should describe why they want to undertake graduate studies in Family Studies  (submit online).
  • Official transcripts from all colleges and universities attended demonstrating a cumulative GPA of at least 2.67 (or receive a GPA waiver from the department, available on a case by case basis). You must hold a bachelor's degree with an approved subject major or interdisciplinary major. (All foreign transcripts must be evaluated by an approved evaluating service.
  • Two Recommendation Forms and Letters, one of which must be, preferably, from a current employer or supervisor. The Recommendations are completed online. At the time of application you will need to provide your two Recommender's names and e-mail addresses.
  • Participation in an Admission Interview.


Students from Non-English Speaking Countries

Students from non-English speaking countries are required to submit a Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) score report. A TOEFL composite score of 550 for the paper test, 213 for the computer-based, or 84 on the Internet-based test (iBT) with a minimum score of 21 in reading and 23 in writing is strongly recommended for admission. Fairfield's ETS code is 3390.


All application materials for formal admission should be sent to:

Office of Graduate Admission
1073 North Benson Road
Fairfield, CT 06824-5195
Phone: (203) 254-4184
Fax: (203) 254-4073


How to Apply

For detailed admission requirements, please refer to the links below:

Applications are accepted on a rolling basis.

Financial Aid

To be considered for financial aid, Fairfield University requires students to complete a FAFSA form. For further information, visit the Office of Financial Aid.

Frequently Asked Questions

When are applications due?


What kind of employment can I pursue after I graduate?

The master's degree in Family Studies is appropriate for those who wish to seek employment in the non-clinical areas of social service delivery, research, family policy and family law, parenting and family life education, health and well-being, prevention and program evaluation.


What are some of the other reasons why I might consider pursuing this degree?

The curriculum is designed to prepare the candidate to pursue doctoral studies in related areas to become educators and researchers. Graduates of the program may pursue further advanced degrees in human and family development, including early childhood, adolescence, marriage, and geriatrics.


Can I continue working full time while going through the program?

We develop individual plans of study with each student, taking into account your personal circumstances. Except during the summer semester, didactic courses are taught on weekday evenings between 4:55-9:15 p.m. or as a Friday / Saturday weekend class.


How long does it take to finish the program?

Anywhere from 2.5 to 3 years; it all depends on how many courses you want to take a semester. Full-time students can complete the program in 2 to 2.5 years.


Contact Us

For more information about Fairfield University's graduate programs, please contact:

Office of Graduate Admission
Fairfield University
1073 North Benson Road
Fairfield, CT 06824

Call (203) 254-4184 or email

Search Results