Master's Degree in Child and Family Studies

Housed within LSU’s School of Social Work, the Master of Science in Child and Family Studies degree program prepares highly competent, effective and ethical individuals to serve children and families within communities, schools, hospitals, nursing homes and social service agencies in national and international contexts.

The program empowers graduate students to explore child and family theory, empirical research and research methodology, policy and child and family development through the lens of diverse social contexts.

Externships and intensive academics prepare our graduates for a wide variety of human services, non-profit, public service and private industry positions.

The CFS master’s degree is central to LSU’s mission as a land, sea and space grant institution to promote stability and well-being of families in all forms, positive human growth and development, optimal management of resources and to build a well-prepared, educated workforce for current and future labor markets.


According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, careers for community and social services professionals are “projected to grow 14 percent from 2016 to 2026, faster than the average for all occupations, adding about 371,900 jobs.”

Because there is an expanding need for educated and caring professionals and leaders in this field, our graduates are well-positioned for career success. So, it’s not surprising that our alumni hold a wide array of positions including as researchers, child development center directors, child life specialists, educators, nonprofit organization directors and entrepreneurs.

Admission Requirements and Process

CFS MS admission requirements include:

  • A baccalaureate degree from an accredited college or university;
  • A 3.0 cumulative grade point average on undergraduate coursework for regular admission; Minimum of 2.75 cumulative or last 60 hours GPA for probationary admission in certain cases;
  • Evidence the applicant possesses the personal qualities and aptitudes necessary for a career in CFS;
  • Three recommendation forms completed by professional and academic references; and,
  • A letter of intent

How to Apply:

Application to LSU is a two-step process. Applicants must submit:

  1. CFS supplemental application materials to the CFS program; and,
  2. A graduate application to the LSU graduate school.


Submit to the CFS Program:

  • Supplemental CFS application submitted in pdf format to
  • Letter of intent submitted in pdf format to
  • Current resume or vita uploaded to the Graduate School online application or emailed as a pdf to
  • One official copy of all transcripts from all universities attended. Transcripts may be mailed in sealed envelopes to the LSU School of Social Work, 1207 Pleasant Hall, Baton Rouge, LA 70803. Alternatively, transcripts may be sent electronically from a university to (All transcripts are required regardless of whether credit was earned or is desired.) Official transcripts of courses taken at LSU are not required.
  • Three recommendation forms:
    • A total of three recommendation forms are required for an admission file to be complete. A letter of support is optional.
    • Two recommendations must be submitted by academic references (i.e., college instructors, internship supervisors, etc.,).
    • The remaining recommendation must be a professional reference (i.e., a work or volunteer supervisor). Recommendations from family, friends, clergy, therapists and high school teachers will not be accepted.
    • Applicants who have been out of school for two or more years and cannot obtain academic recommendations may substitute other professional recommendations for academic.
    • If an applicant is unable to acquire two academic and one professional recommendation, that applicant must include a statement explaining the reason for the substitution and email this statement to along with the application.
    • Due to the unique nature of our admission process, the Child and Family Studies master’s degree program has its own recommendation form. To avoid confusion, applicants should insert under the three recommendation fields on the LSU graduate school application. The CFS admissions committee will only review the CFS recommendation form, not the letter of support from the graduate school application.
    • These forms need to be sent by the recommender to

Submit to the LSU Graduate School:

  • Applicants must complete the LSU Graduate School application, which includes the application fee and official copies of transcripts from all universities attended.
  • Applicants may place the completed printed application in a sealed envelope and mail it to LSU Graduate School, 114 David Boyd Hall, Baton Rouge, LA 70803. Alternatively, applicants may submit electronically the application from a university to (All transcripts are required regardless of whether credit was earned or is desired). Official transcripts of courses taken at LSU are not required. For international applicants whose native language is not English, scores on the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) are required.
  • Applicants DO NOT need to submit a writing sample or program of study to the LSU Graduate School. Simply type N/A on this section of the online application.
  • Applicants DO NOT need to submit letters of recommendation to the LSU Graduate School as the CFS program has its own letter of recommendation form.


MS in CFS Course Requirements

Non-Thesis Students Thesis Students
Core Courses (9 hours)

CFS 7090 (3)
Research Methods in CFS

7000 Level Statistics (3)
One of the following
CFS 7056 Theories of Child Development (3)
CFS 7057 Theories in Family Science (3)
Specialization (Choose 9 hours)
CFS 7051 (3) Contemporary Family
CFS 7052 (3) Topics and Issues in CFS
CFS 7053 (3) Infant Behavior and Development
CFS 7054 (3) Child Guidance and Behavior
CFS 7055 (3) Human Development
CFS 7050 (3, taken twice for credit) Research Seminar in CFS CFS 8000 (6 credits total) Thesis Research
6 hours electives in CFS or related area approved by graduate committee 12 hours electives in CFS or related area
approved by graduate committee
6 hours of supervised practicum experience approved by graduate committee No required practicum. Thesis students may select 3 hours practicum experience to substitute for 1 elective academic course if approved by graduate committee.



Contact Us

Laura Ainsworth, PhD, LCSW


CFS Supplemental Application Materials


Recommendation Form

Letter of Intent