Affordable Online Master’s Degrees in Human & Family Development

Human and family development is a multidisciplinary field that focuses on the development of individuals and families in a variety of social contexts. Combining aspects of sociology, anthropology, and biology, it’s a broadly applicable concentration that can be useful in a variety of occupational fields, from social work to childcare.

If you already have a background in human and family development and love working with people, a master’s degree can open up a world of career opportunities. Master’s programs allow you to develop a specialization, letting you focus on the aspects of human and family development that interest you most. Coursework trains students in research methods and professional development topics crucial to success. If becoming a social worker or counselor is your goal, a master’s can also help you attain the licensure necessary to go into practice. Many graduates take a different path, finding careers in emergency relief or other public service fields.

With the average median salary for social service workers at $34,120, many people are concerned with the cost and benefit of further education. Increasingly, students are choosing cheap online graduate programs to earn a master’s degree. The accredited schools on our list of affordable online graduate programs offer the same rigorous academics as brick-and-mortar colleges for the lowest tuition rates. Online human development and family studies graduate programs offer flexible course schedules that allow you to study at your convenience, accessing online assistance and materials whenever and wherever you need them.


10 Affordable Online Master's Degrees in Human & Family Development
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1

Texas Woman's University

Value Score 8.43
Average Tuition $4,380
Percentage of Students in Online Programs 64%
Number of Online Programs 10
Part-time cost per credit hour $243

TWU in Denton offers an affordable online human development and family studies graduate program in family sciences. All TWU’s online degrees require both online and face-to-face components, except the online master’s degree program in family studies, which can be completed entirely online.

Students may consider multiple tracks to customize their coursework. The program requires 34 or 35 credits, depending on a student's specialization. The research-based degree requires a master’s thesis. Alternatively, students may choose a non-thesis focus to build a professional portfolio. PhD candidates follow a more traditional track, including qualifying exams and a doctoral dissertation.

Applicants to the MS or PhD programs in family studies must have a minimum 3.00 GPA and 3.35 GPA, respectively. Applicants must also submit a letter of intent, which is graded using a rubric.


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2

Missouri State University-Springfield

Value Score 7.98
Average Tuition $4,590
Percentage of Students in Online Programs 39%
Number of Online Programs 15
Part-time cost per credit hour $255

MSU Springfield offers one of the best online human development and family studies graduate programs in the country. The master's of science in early childhood and family development can be completed entirely online, but students may take some in-person courses. MSU offers four-semester, three-semester, and accelerated programs. Students typically enroll in three courses per semester, completing the required 35 credits in two years. Students must pass a comprehensive exam and a research seminar, which is comparable to a traditional written thesis.

Applicants must complete an online graduate application form and submit a letter of intent indicating their future plans, professional goals, and related work experience, along with two letters of recommendation from professionals familiar with the student’s abilities and academic potential.


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3

Texas Tech University

Value Score 7.00
Average Tuition $4,858
Percentage of Students in Online Programs 36%
Number of Online Programs 14
Part-time cost per credit hour $270

TTU in Lubbock, Texas, offers a master's of science degree in human development and family studies online. The program features concentrations in gerontology and youth development and is provided through the Great Plains Distance Education Alliance, a partnership of 20 public universities, established to improve online academic programs. Regardless of concentration, students complete 36 credit hours.

Students in the youth development concentration complete 28 credit hours of coursework and an 8-hour practicum, research project, or thesis. The gerontology concentration requires eight core courses and four electives. In-state and out-of-state students pay the same affordable tuition, and TTU helps students locate internal and external scholarships and financial assistance.


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4

University of Nebraska-Lincoln

Value Score 6.26
Average Tuition $6,960
Percentage of Students in Online Programs 32%
Number of Online Programs 12
Part-time cost per credit hour $290

UNL offers an affordable online human development and family studies graduate degree program with a specialization in human and family services administration. This degree in child, youth, and family studies provides expertise in relationship studies and business skills required for administrative positions. Graduates of this affordable, 36-credit program possess the practical and administrative knowledge to design and manage organizations in the public and private sectors. Students also complete a capstone project.

Students may apply for departmental graduate assistantships and fellowship opportunities through UNL. Federal loan and work-study programs are available to students who complete a FAFSA form, which must be submitted each year.


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5

North Dakota State University

Value Score 5.24
Average Tuition $5,440
Percentage of Students in Online Programs 27%
Number of Online Programs 9
Part-time cost per credit hour $302

NDSU offers an online human development and family studies graduate program, which focuses on youth development. This master's of science degree in human development and family science puts developmental research and theory into practice. Graduates work in nonprofit administration, community action organizations, and juvenile justice facilities. The 36 required credits are taught through Blackboard. Students explore subjects such as violence, adolescent health, substance abuse, and program management. A variety of electives allow students to craft a course trajectory based on personal interests and career goals.

Full-time students typically complete the program in two years. Many graduates pursue NDSU’s PhD in developmental science.


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6

North Carolina State University at Raleigh

Value Score 4.88
Average Tuition $7,852
Percentage of Students in Online Programs 29%
Number of Online Programs 34
Part-time cost per credit hour $368

NCSU offers an online master's of science degree in youth, family, and community services, which prepares students for doctoral programs or research-centered careers. The degree can be completed entirely online. Courses are taught synchronously during the evenings, through live video teleconferencing. The 36-credit program allows students to focus on one foundational area of the field, such as youth development or family development. Alternatively, students may configure their online human development and family studies degree to be a broad exploration of the human lifespan.

Applicants must submit a personal statement outlining their goals in the field, GRE scores, and three letters of recommendation. Applicants must hold a relevant bachelor’s degree. Discounted tuition is available for North Carolina residents.


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7

University of Southern Mississippi

Value Score 4.31
Average Tuition $6,980
Percentage of Students in Online Programs 46%
Number of Online Programs 15
Part-time cost per credit hour $402

USM in Hattiesburg, Mississippi, offers an online master’s in human development and family studies. Designed specifically for working professionals, the child and family studies master's degree is convenient and affordable. This 37-credit program can be completed entirely online, following a thesis or non-thesis track. Students in the thesis track must complete an original research-based document indicative of their mastery of course content. Students in the non-thesis track must complete a series of practicums in child and family studies and must pass a comprehensive exam during their final semester.

All online students pay the affordable in-state tuition. Online graduate students may enroll in more than nine credit hours per semester at no extra charge.


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8

University of Missouri-Columbia

Value Score 4.03
Average Tuition $8,402
Percentage of Students in Online Programs 31%
Number of Online Programs 12
Part-time cost per credit hour $350

UM’s online human development and family studies degree program can be completed entirely online, with no campus visits. Students typically take one or two classes each semester and complete the degree in two to three years. Of the required 36 credit hours, 30 are based in the core curriculum; students acquire a strong foundation in family studies through courses in lifespan development, crisis intervention, and parent-child relationships. Students complete either a capstone examination or a supervised internship, which each requiring an original research paper and an oral examination by the master’s committee.

Applicants must have completed a bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited institution and have a minimum 3.0 GPA. UM is a member of the Great Plains Interactive Distance Education Alliance.


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9

Concordia University-Saint Paul

Value Score 3.79
Average Tuition $8,550
Percentage of Students in Online Programs 92%
Number of Online Programs 17
Part-time cost per credit hour $420

CU’s master’s in family science is one of the best online human development and family studies graduate programs in the country. Students focus on societal issues that influence healthy family functioning, with classes such as family systems, child growth and development, and family communication. Students choose between certified and noncertified tracks. Graduates of the certified track earn the international designation of certified family life educator. Certified track students do not take the certifying exam, since the program’s coursework is endorsed by the National Council of Family Relations and meets all required criteria.

Students of both tracks complete an intensive seminar, which includes a capstone project. Applicants must have a bachelor’s degree and a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0.


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10

Kansas State University

Value Score 3.48
Average Tuition $9,139
Percentage of Students in Online Programs 32%
Number of Online Programs 70
Part-time cost per credit hour $563

As part of the Great Plains Interactive Distance Education Alliance, KSU students may earn a master’s degree in human development and family studies online. This 36-credit program includes 30 credit hours of core coursework and 6 credit hours of electives. Core course are offered on a rotating basis. Elective options include a practicum or independent study created with a professor’s guidance. Students also complete a capstone course, which requires supervised counseling, community action, and services aligning with the student’s interests. While practicum and internship experiences are not required to graduate, they are encouraged. The best financial assistance for this program comes from external sources, which KSU includes on their website.


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