M.S. in Applied Human Development and Family Sciences (AHDFS)

Our M.S. in Applied Human Development and Family Sciences (AHDFS) is designed to provide you professional career enhancement for programming and administration in family social services and child development in the community and government agencies including:

  • Youth programming
  • Aging services
  • Child life programs in hospitals
  • Infant and early childhood programs
  • Family support services
  • Family life
  • Parenting education
  • Social services
  • Juvenile services
  • Child welfare services

This degree also augments advanced graduate work and research as well as college teaching. The AHDFS program includes the study of theories, research, and prevention/intervention/practice, and their interaction across the lifespan of individual development within the context of family and social systems.


To further tailor your degree, you may select from two specialization areas:

  • Marriage and family therapy
  • Leadership in aging studies

The marriage and family therapy specialization provides training in marriage and family therapists to work with diverse individuals, families and communities. Coursework focuses on the latest therapy techniques that promote respectful treatment of human systems, and includes courses necessary for the marriage and family therapy license in Illinois. This program is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Marriage and Family Therapy Education (COAMFTE).

The leadership in aging studies specialization is intended for those interested in pursuing leadership positions in aging, including long-term care, social services, service management and research and evaluation. It is also designed to be preparation to sit for the Illinois Nursing Administrator’s License. The program meets the competencies outlined by the Association of Gerontology in Higher Education.


Applied human development and family sciences also provides three graduate certificates:

  • Family and child development
  • Leadership in aging services
  • Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health

The graduate certificate in family and child development is intended for recent graduates, students enrolled in any graduate degree program and for working professionals. The program is designed to build general competence in understanding family dynamics and children’s developmental process as well as provides an in-depth understanding of the connection between child development, family life, and the broader social context. The application for the certificate (PDF) is available online.

The graduate certificate in leadership in aging services is an interdisciplinary certificate that prepares students for leadership positions within the senior housing and healthcare industry, including long term care administration. This certificate prepares students for the examination required to be licensed as a nursing home administrator in Illinois.

The graduate certificate in Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health is intended for professionals who work with infants, young children, families and caregivers, but who lack specific knowledge about promoting and supporting young children’s social-emotional development in the context of relationships and within early childhood systems of care.

Contact Us

Family and Consumer Sciences
118 Wirtz Hall
DeKalb, IL 60115

Kristine Radtke
Program Coordinator

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