Online Master's Degrees in Family and Consumer Sciences

Do you have a bachelor's degree in nutrition, human development, another area of family and consumer sciences or a related area?  Would you like to become certified to teach family and consumer sciences in your state and earn a master's degree at the same time?  Or would you like to advance in your current profession?  If so, consider the collaborative online program through the Great Plains Interactive Distance Education Alliance (Great Plains IDEA).

The program is designed for individuals who have a bachelor's degree in a family and consumer sciences (FACS or FCS) content specialization or a related area, and are seeking initial teaching certification/licensure or who are seeking professional development and advancement in family and consumer sciences.

What will I learn in the Family and Consumer Sciences master's degree?

This program provides students with an arsenal of knowledge to educate and support individuals and families.  This online master's degree will prepare you to:

  • Analyze the historical and philosophical underpinnings of FCS Education, formerly known as home economics
  • Plan standards-based curriculum
  • Develop strategies to engage students in the learning process
  • Examine the relationship of diverse groups and the educational process
  • Apply research to practice
  • Promote professional development and advancement within FCS Education fields

Two Degree Paths

Option A: Designed for a person with a bachelor's degree in a FCS related area looking to work towards obtaining a teaching license.  

The program will offer the pedagogy (professional development) courses needed for certification/licensure.  Teacher certification/licensure standards vary by state, and students must meet all the requirements in the state in which they wish to become certified.

Earning an academic/professional degree does not necessarily lead to state credential or licensure. People seeking licensure may need to meet additional requirements such as tests and additional coursework. Potential and current students should consult with the appropriate academic program coordinator for advice about licensure, certification, or credentialing after communicating with the appropriate state official.

Option B: Designed for professionals already in FCS Education related fields, including certified teachers and Extension Educators.  It includes a variety of elective options to help you reach your professional goals.

For more information on these options, click here.

Curriculum Program Requirements

To qualify for the master's degree, students must be admitted to the program, take the necessary course work, and meet the master's degree requirements of their admitting/degree granting institution.  The program is a 36 - 41 credit hour program.

Courses in the Online Option A FCS Master's Degree Program

  • History and Philosophy of FCS & Career & Tech Ed - 3 credits
  • Occupational Program in FCS - 3 credits
  • Exceptional Learners - 3 credits
  • Education in a Pluralistic Society - 3 credits
  • Psychology of Adolescence - 3 credits
  • Reading in the Content Area - 3 credits
  • Teaching FCS with Technology - 3 credits
  • FCS Methods I (taken concurrently with a practicum) - 3 credits
  • FCS Methods II (taken concurrently with a practicum) - 3 credits
  • Practica (two at 1 credit each)
  • Student Teaching (10 weeks minimum) - 9 credits
  • Research Course - 3 credits

Other undergraduate or graduate level courses may need to be taken to obtain teacher licensure in your state.  Click here for Course Descriptions.

Courses in the Online Option B FCS Master's Degree Program
(some are elective)

  • Vocational Philosphy and Policy - 3 credits
  • Advising FCCLA - 3 credits
  • Teaching FACS with Technology - 3 credits
  • Occupational Programs in FACS - 3 credits
  • Reading in the Content Area - 3 credits
  • Research Design in FACS - 3 credits
  • Curriculum Dev. in FACS - 3 credits
  • Evaluation in FACS - 3 credits
  • Administration of FACS Programs - 3 credits 
  • Techniques of Supervision in FACS - 3 credits
  • Reflective Practice & Ed. Research - 3 credits
  • Students and Their Learning - 3 credits
  • Curriculum Design and Delivery - 3 credits
  • Monitoring and Managing Learning - 3 credits
  • Educational Statistics - 3 credits

Click here for Course Descriptions

Career Outlook

The online Master's Degree program was developed in response to the need to increase the supply of FACS teachers, a need that has been documented by historical data showing dramatic declines in the number of FACS teacher preparation programs and the number of individuals completing these programs.  According to the most recent National Directory of the Family and Consumer Sciences Division of the Association for Career and Technical Education (2003-04), there were only 168 pre-service family and consumer sciences teacher education programs in the U.S., representing a decline of 40% during the last twenty years.  Several states have only one institution that offers FACS teacher preparation and some have none.

In response to a 1990s survey by the American Association of Family and Consumer Sciences (AAFCS), most state administrators reported an inadequate supply of qualified FACS teachers.  The majority believed their state faced a severe shortage.  The survey results showed that undergraduate enrollments in FACS teacher preparation programs would supply only about 25% of the demand for new FACS teachers.  A more recent study published in 2006 confirmed that most states continue to experience a serious shortage of FACS teachers and revealed that shortages are particularly severe in rural areas.  All of the states participating in the Great Plains IDEA FACS Master's Degree program reported that the supply of FACS teachers was inadequate.

Career Opportunities

Since the FACS education major has preparation across all areas of family and consumer sciences, a wide variety of career opportunities are available.  Those who opt to go into teaching may find employment in both traditional and nontraditional teaching situations.  Settings include teaching in middle and high schools and secondary vocational centers.  Other options can include being a consultant in teaching FACS at the elementary school level, or working with adult programs to offer adult enrichment and continuing education.

Non-teaching career opportunities might include working with local Extension Service, utility companies, health and human service agencies and retail establishments.  Capacity in which graduates serve in these fields varies.  While some are employed as family and consumer scientists to contribute specific knowledge, others are providing educational services and dissemination of information to consumers.

Careful selection of elective courses, adding a second major, or a minor (especially in another teaching field) can enhance career opportunities.

Studying Online through Great Plains IDEA

What is Great Plains IDEA? 

The Great Plains IDEA Interactive Distance Education Alliance (Great Plains IDEA) is a consortium of reputable universities which offer online, flexible, affordable programs for a virtual community of individuals from diverse backgrounds. Each university brings a unique strength in faculty and curriculum to the multi-institution program. Students choose a home university where they apply, are admitted, register for courses, and receive their degree. Online courses are taught by the best faculty in each discipline from several universities. Students pay one common price per credit hour regardless of which university is their degree-granting institution. Click on the link below for more information on how it works.

How it Works

What are the benefits of learning in a consortium?

Great Plains IDEA offers you a unique chance to take classes from multiple, high-quality universities. Expand your professional network by collaborating with classmates and expert faculty from across the country who bring diverse perspectives and experiences to the coursework.  Our collaborative approach to sharing resources and expertise creates a space for innovation among faculty and staff which provides opportunities to shape the future of higher education.

How much does it cost?

Through Great Plains IDEA, students pay one common price per credit hour for graduate courses or undergraduate courses at all member universities regardless of the program or whether the student is in-state or out-of-state.  Click on the link below to see the current tuition rates. The linked page also has some options for financing your education.

Great Plains IDEA cost page

Participating Institutions

In addition to North Dakota State University, the following Great Plains IDEA institutions participate in the program:  Central Washington University, Oklahoma State University, South Dakota State University, Texas Tech University, and University of Nebraska-Lincoln.  Students may be admitted to the program at any one of the participating universities.  This university becomes the student's "home" (degree-granting) university.  Students will register for all courses at the home institution, although graduate faculty at any of the member institutions may teach courses.

Admissions Requirements

Option B

  1. Compose a statement of your experiences and goals using the Five Core Propositions of the NBPTS as the framework ( The essay should demonstrate graduate level writing quality and follow these guidelines:
    *3-4 double-spaced pages
    *Explicitly connect your experiences and career goals to the Five Core Propositions
    *Explain how NDSU's Teacher Education program will help you to achieve your career goals
  2. Official transcripts from all institutions attended.
  3. Three letters of recommendation concerning academic ability at the undergraduate level and the candidate's proficiency in the following areas:
    *Degree of mastery of the fundamental knowledge in an academic field.
    *Knowledge of and ability to use the basic research techniques in a field.
    *Ability to express knowledge and personal opinions in speech and writing.
    *Self-reliance and independence in a major professional area.
    *Motivation toward a successfully productive career.
    *Emotional stability and maturity.
    *Possession of imagination and originality in a profession or field.
    *Growth during the total period in which the people making the recommendation have observed you while in school and/or working in your profession.
  4. An applicant's GPA for post-secondary coursework must meet one of the following conditions:​​​​
    *cumulative GPA is 3.0 or higher (on a 4.0 scale)
    *GPA for the final 30 semester credits of graded undergraduate coursework is 3.25 or higher
    *GPA for 10 semester credits of graduate coursework must be 3.0 or higher
  5. Applicants whose first language is not English must also demonstrate English language proficiency.  (See the Graduate School page below for more information.)

Option A

In addition to meeting the requirements stated above for option B, applicants must meet three additional requirements for the Teacher Licensure option:

  1. Instead of the NBPTS-focused essay, compose a 400-500 word original essay that answers the following questions:
    * What are your reasons for applying to the Teacher Licensure program?
    * Describe how your 20 hours working with youth supports your decision to apply to the Teacher Licensure option.
  2. Hold a bachelor's degree or the equivalent thereof in a content area related to Family and Consumer Sciences.
  3. Pass the Praxis Core Academic Skills exam, meeting ND cut scores in reading, writing and math.  See for additional information and to register for the exam.

Applicants should review the Teacher Education Student Handbook and will apply through NDSU, not Great Plains IDEA. 

Become a Family and Consumer Sciences Educator with NDSU's Online Master's Degree

Please click HERE to apply to NDSU today!

Have more questions?  Check out the FAQs at:

Contact for more information.


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