Academic Affairs
Graduate Catalog 2008-09

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College of Human Ecology

Department of Child Development and Family Relations

Cynthia Johnson, Chairperson, 108 Rivers Building

The department offers two MS degrees: child development and family relations and marriage and family therapy; a MAEd degree in birth through kindergarten education (BK) and family and consumer sciences education (FACS); and a PhD in medical family therapy. All teacher education degrees lead to advanced licensure. See College of Education for additional information about licensure and teaching requirements for the MAT. Course work and training prepare students for professional practice, research, and administrative roles in teaching as well as in agencies and organizations that provide services and support to children and families. Applicants must meet the admissions requirements of the Graduate School. Completion of an undergraduate degree in child development, birth through kindergarten, family studies, family and consumer sciences, the behavioral or social sciences or closely related area from an accredited institution is required for admission. Applicants may be required to take additional courses as part of the degree requirements in order to make up deficiencies or meet certification requirements. Research and clinical experiences are available through the departments’ child development laboratory and the family therapy clinic. For more information, visit our webpage at

MS in Child Development and Family Relations

The master of science in child development and family relations (CDFR) is designed for students whose career goals are in child and family services. With advanced study in child development and family relations, students are able to fill a variety of professional roles in the administration of programs serving children, families, and older adults; in teaching young children, preadolescents, and young adults; and in specialized clinical roles in child life, early intervention, developmental evaluation, and other mental health and human services programs. Each student’s program of study is tailored to fit his or her needs and interests, and students are encouraged to select an area of specialization that will prepare them for in depth study in a related discipline such as special education, early intervention, child life, gerontology, or adult education. Opportunities for national and international internships are available for CDFR students to expand their study and experience. Students may apply for the National Council on Family Relation’s certification in family life education and other certifications.

The MS degree in CDFR requires 36 semester hours. Students may choose one of two options: a thesis option, which includes the building of research skills and the completion of independent research or a research project option, which includes a practicum in the area of the student’s concentration and passing the comprehensive examination. Program requirements include the following:

  1. Core - 15 s.h.
    CDFR 6401, 6402, 6404, 6406, 6420
  2. Specialization - 9 s.h.
    6 s.h. must be CDFR courses
  3. 3. Research - 6 s.h.
    CDFR 7007, 7400
  4. Research project (CDFR 7900) or thesis (CDFR 7000) - 6 s.h.

MS in Marriage and Family Therapy

The marriage and family therapy (MFT) program at East Carolina University is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Marriage and Family Therapy Education of the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy. Enrollment in the marriage and family therapy program is limited and admission is competitive. Acceptance into the program is contingent on prior admission to the Graduate School, application to the marriage and family therapy program, a personal interview with the clinical faculty, and a favorable recommendation from the MFT faculty. Decisions regarding acceptance into the program are based on the following criteria: undergraduate and graduate GPA, standardized test scores (MAT or GRE), work or practicum experiences, a statement of professional objectives, and performance during the personal interview. Upon acceptance into the program, students typically begin course work in the fall semester.

A minimum of 51 s.h. is required in the following areas of study:

  1. Theoretical foundations in marriage and family therapy: CDFR 6407, 6408
  2. Clinical practice: CDFR 6300, 6303, 6409, 6410, 6412, 6425
  3. Human development and family studies: CDFR 6401, 6402, 6404 or 6406 (select one)
  4. Professional identity and ethics: CDFR 6411
  5. Research: CDFR 7007, 7400
  6. Additional learning: 6 s.h. of thesis or advisor-approved electives
  7. Supervised clinical practice: CDFR 6415, 6416, 6417
The Department of Child Development and Family Relations administers a marriage and family therapy clinic, which serves as a clinical training and research site for the program.

Additional information about graduate programs and application information can be obtained from the Director of Graduate Studies, Department of Child Development and Family Relations, College of Human Ecology, East Carolina University, Greenville, NC 27858-4353.

Graduate Teaching Degrees

The department offers the master of arts in education (MAEd), specifically birth through kindergarten teacher education (BK) and family and consumer science education (FACS). This degree leads to advanced licensure. See the College of Education, Department of Curriculum and Instruction, for degree requirements for the master of arts in teaching. Both degrees are offered online.

MAEd in Birth Through Kindergarten (BK)

This program is designed to prepare individuals beyond the entry level for professional roles as master teachers, consultants, program coordinators, supervisors, and staff development trainers. This program is based on the philosophy, rationale, and competencies established for the initial BK license. Thus, it is open to persons who hold a continuing license in BK or closely related area. Applicants lacking licensure or experience in the BK area must complete an internship and/or course work to make up deficiencies in required BK competencies. A flexible program of study is developed to meet the needs and allow for previously attained competencies of individual students. Upon acceptance into the BK program, the student is assigned an advisor.

The program requires 39 s.h. consisting of 12 s.h. of core courses, 18 s.h. of professional courses, and 9 s.h. from a specialty strand as follows:

  1. Required core courses - 12 s.h.
    Research, Trends, and Issues Competency Area - 3 s.h.
    EDUC 6482 or SCIE 6500
    Diverse Learner Competency Area - 6 s.h.
    EDUC 6001 and SPED 6002
    Effective Communication and Leadership Competency Area - 3 s.h.
    ADED 6550 or ELEM 6550 or LEED 6000
  2. Professional Area: Birth through Kindergarten Education - 18 s.h.
    CDFR 6402, 6501, 6503, 6990, 6991, 6995
    Final product requirement: a research project with an oral presentation (CDFR 6991) or a thesis with an oral thesis defense (CDFR 7000)
  3. Specialty Area (Select one strand; choose three courses) - 9 s.h.
    Select three advisor-approved courses from one of the following strands:
    Assistive Technology
    SPED/OCCT 6701, 6702, 6703
    Community College Teaching
    ADED 6240, 6450, 6453
    Elementary Education
    ELEM 6010, 6412, 6488

MAEd in Family and Consumer Sciences

This program is designed for individuals who already hold a teaching license. The curriculum is designed to help teachers achieve goals and develop advanced competencies in professional education, family and consumer sciences subject matter, and interpersonal relationships. The desired outcome is to help teachers develop the skills to become leaders in the field of family and consumer sciences. The program requires a minimum of 39 credit hours as specified below.

Required core courses - 12 s.h.
Research, Trends, and Issues Competency Area: EDUC 6482 or SCIE 6500 - 3 s.h.
Diverse Learner Competency Area: EDUC 6001; SPED 6002 - 6 s.h.
Effective Communication and Leadership Competency Area: ADED 6550 or ELEM 6550 or LEED 6000 - 3 s.h.
Family and consumer sciences education - 27 s.h.
BVTE 5205, 6426, 6450, 6750; FACS 6423, 6984; 3 s.h. in major or related area; 6 s.h. major area electives
Final product requirement: An internship product (FACS 6984, 6985) or a professional portfolio (FACS 6450) with an oral defense.

PhD in Medical Family Therapy

The objective of the PhD program in medical family therapy is to graduate individuals who will collaborate with health care providers and families to resolve biopsychosocial issues inherent with acute and chronic illness. Students must complete a standard curriculum for doctoral programs as stipulated by the Commission for the Accreditation of Marriage and Family Therapy Education (COAMFTE). The 59 s.h. program includes: research (14 s.h.), theory (12 s.h.), clinical practice (3 s.h.), clinical supervision (3 s.h.), cognates and electives (12 s.h.), dissertation (6 s.h.), and internship (9 s.h.). Full-time students are expected to complete the program in a minimum of three years. Students completing the program will be expected to fulfill educational and clinical requirements for marriage and family therapy licensure.

Applicants must have a master’s degree in marriage and family therapy or a related discipline. Applicants from a related field should have completed a course of studies that demonstrates competencies in basic marriage and family therapy studies and clinical experience. Additional requirements for admission include: acceptable performance on the GRE and a cumulative GPA of 3.5 on a 4.0 scale in graduate work; a sample of scholarly writing which may be a thesis, a published or unpublished reprint, a research paper; a statement of purpose that summarizes the reasons for pursuing doctoral study in medical family therapy; a personal interview with the program faculty; and other requirements included in the Graduate School’s application packet.

Transfer Credit
A maximum of 9 s.h. of course work taken beyond the master’s degree may be applied toward the doctoral degree at the discretion of the medical family therapy faculty, the department chair, and the dean of the Graduate School.

Doctoral Candidacy Requirements
Admission to candidacy for the PhD requires students to pass a preliminary examination testing basic knowledge in medical family therapy. Subsequent to passing the preliminary examination, students will be permitted to complete a dissertation and a nine-month internship.