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Graduate Programs: MS in Family and Consumer Sciences

The Graduate Program in Family and Consumer Sciences (FCS) is designed to provide advanced, specialized leadership in various professions, and to further professional competencies for students in extension, business, industry, and education. The curriculum aims to provide students with a holistic theoretical base through awareness of physiological, psychological, sociological, and intellectual characteristics and human needs of the public they will serve.

The Master of Sciences (MS) in Family and Consumer Sciences is an online, 37-hour program that offers two degree plan options:

Master of Science, Plan I
This plan requires the completion of a thesis. Students complete 15 hours of Family and Consumer Sciences coursework, 4 hours of statistics, 12 hours in an approved minor, and 6 hours of thesis work. The comprehensive examination must be taken in the major field and the minor field. Students must be enrolled in the University the semester or summer session in which the comprehensive exam is administered.

Master of Science, Plan II
In this non-thesis plan, students complete 21 hours of Family and Consumer Sciences coursework, 4 hours of statistics, and 12 hours in an approved minor. The comprehensive examination must be taken in the major field and in the minor field. Students must be enrolled in the University the semester or summer session in which the comprehensive exam is administered. A thesis is not required.

The MS in Family and Consumer Sciences is now an on-line program.

Suggested minor fields include health/fitness, business administration, counselor education, and curriculum and instruction.

Concentration Areas
Students may gain advanced study and research in the following areas:

  • Clothing, Textiles, and Merchandising
  • Family and Consumer Sciences Education
  • Family Economics and Resource Management
  • Interior Design
  • Nutrition and Dietetics

The Department of Family & Consumer Sciences

Mission Statement: The Department of Family and Consumer Sciences is dedicated to meeting the needs of students through periodic monitoring and improving each program area offered. There is continuous striving for the professional development of students through educational opportunities and wise use of faculty and university resources.

Our highly experienced, licensed and certified faculty members stay well-informed on current issues by remaining active in their fields. Many of our Family and Consumer Sciences faculty members have held and/or currently hold committee positions within the University and the community and all are members of various organizations, including the American Association of Family and Consumer Sciences, Interior Design Education Council, Fashion Group International, and The American Dietetic Association.

Who Benefits from a Master of Science in Family and Consumer Sciences?

  • Students interested in continuing their academic careers through a related doctoral program
  • Professionals in business, industry, nutrition, and education who are seeking to extend their professional competencies
  • Individuals seeking a leadership position in Family and Consumer Sciences professions

Why Earn Your Master’s Degree at Sam?

Advancement: Today’s FCS professionals practice in multiple settings including early childhood, elementary, secondary, college/university, and extension educators; administrators and managers; human services professionals; researchers; community volunteers; business people; and consultants who address the issues most important to our quality of life. A master’s degree enhances practice skills and promotes management, research, and specializations that fall under the FCS umbrella.

Satisfaction: Participating in research and applying research findings to nutrition, fashion, interior design, and teacher education are useful and valued skills. Advanced knowledge in each of the core areas of the body of knowledge under FCS provides a means to organize the rich array of experiences necessary to function as a family and consumer sciences professional.

Competence: The broad competencies that are required for FCS professionals to function successfully is partially dictated by external influences and trends, such as the aging population, digital technology, nutritionally- and genetically-enhanced foods, and the changing dynamics of the family. As such, a Master of Science degree will allow FCS professionals to become knowledgeable in areas of interpersonal relationships, lifespan and human development, family wellbeing, career connections, family and consumer resources, and nutrition and wellness. Individuals must ethically take responsibility for determining their own competence to provide added value to their chosen fields.

Publish and Present Your Work
You will have the opportunity to become actively involved in research by publishing and presenting your work under the direction of professionally-engaged faculty. You will be encouraged to present original research at conferences nationwide and to develop articles for submission to professional journals.

Family and Consumer Sciences Graduate Faculty
Valencia Browning-Keen, Ph.D., R.D, L.D.
Laura Burleson, Ph.D.
James G. Landa, M.F.A.
Paula J. Tripp, Ph.D., CFCS
Janis H. White, Ph.D., CFCS

Sam Houston State University

Since 1879, Sam Houston State University has touched the lives of over 93,000 graduates and helped shape the economic, social and cultural development of the state and nation. Steeped in tradition and Texas hospitality, the university offers the type of educational experiences most often found at private institutions. The low student-to-faculty ratio allows for more individual attention, while our beautifully maintained campus and historic architecture provide a serene backdrop to high-tech facilities, equipment and amenities. Our tuition rates combined with exceptional faculty and academic programs produce one of the best educational values in Texas.

The sooner you apply, the sooner you will realize the benefits of enrolling in Sam Houston State University’s Family & Consumer Sciences program.

The minimum requirements to be considered are:

  • Graduate Studies Application
  • Application fee
  • Official transcripts from institutions attended
  • A writing sample of scholarly work
  • Two letters of recommendation that discuss the applicant’s suitability for graduate study
  • Official GRE scores
  • A personal statement of career interests and goals

Potential applicants who do not have a degree in Family and Consumer Sciences should contact the department’s Graduate Director for determination of readiness for the program. Leveling work may be required, depending on the applicant’s background./

Graduate applications online at ApplyTexas.org

Department of Family & Consumer Sciences
Sam Houston State University
Box 2177
Huntsville, TX 77341-2177

Graduate Director
Dr. Paula Tripp

Graduate Studies Support

Submit application materials to:

Office of Graduate Studies
Sam Houston State University, Box 2478
Huntsville, TX 77341-2478

A non-refundable application fee must accompany the application form. Check, money order or credit card (American Express, Discover, or MasterCard) must be payable to Sam Houston State University. Deadlines for graduate school applications are August 1 for the Fall semester and December 1 for the Spring semester. Sam Houston State University is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Institution.

Accreditation Status

Sam Houston State University with all of its programs is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS).


The Department of Residence Life offers a variety of housing venues, many of which are designed to meet the needs of graduate students. For more information, contact the Department of Residence Life, Box 2416, Sam Houston State University, Huntsville, Texas 77341-2416 or call 936.294.1812. The website for the Department of Residence Life is http://www.shsu.edu/~hou_www/.

Courses and course descriptions are available in the Graduate Catalog.

University Financial Aid and Scholarships:

Information and application deadlines may be obtained from SHSU Financial Aid and Scholarships, 1903 University, Estill 201Box 2328 Huntsville TX 77341-2328 or on their website http://www.shsu.edu/~fao_www/.

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