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Virtual open house provides information about Family and Consumer Science master’s degree programs

November 11, 2020

It was Starr Chase’s passion for helping people that led her to pursue a master’s degree in Applied Human Development and Family Studies at NIU.

Starr Chase, a 2015 graduate with a master’s degree and Specialization in Marriage and Family Therapy, attributes her NIU degree to her successful transition into the workforce.

“I don’t know if I really appreciated how good of an education I had from the program until I had graduated,” said Chase, who graduated in 2015 with a master’s degree and Specialization in Marriage and Family Therapy. “When I first entered the workforce, I felt prepared; I had an idea of the different types of issues that I was seeing in my community and in my workplace.”

NIU’s School of Family and Consumer Sciences (FACS) offers a Master of Science degree in Applied Human Development and Family Sciences, Specialization in Marriage and Family Therapy and Specialization in Leadership in Aging Studies.

Scott Sibley, assistant professor and FACS graduate school faculty director, said training future professionals in the field of Applied Human Development and Family Sciences is important for many reasons.

“Our three graduate programs focus on helping people have healthier relationships,” Sibley said. “Now more than ever, individuals and families need support.”

Sibley said the master’s degree programs prepare students by providing them with a specialized skill set that sets them apart from other degrees. And with a Couple and Family Therapy Clinic and Child Development and Family Center on campus, there are constant opportunities to teach and learn.

“We have state-of-the-art facilities right here, and our students are taught how to work with parents, children, individuals and couples,” Sibley said. “They obtain a skill set that makes them very competitive in the job market.”

Chase agreed, stating that the master’s program at NIU allowed her to gain real-world experience early on.

“One thing I love about NIU’s program is how hands on it is,” Chase said. “We work in the clinic, we have our externship site, and we are having constant communication with our various professors and instructors.”

In turn, there is a collaborative approach to learning, Chase said, that encourages students to network with others and build a system of support.

“Another thing that is intentional (about the program) is that you are not kept in your own bubble,” Chase said. “You are introduced to professors that have varying emphasis and therapists who work within the clinic and outside of the clinic. It really encouraged us to branch out – to put ourselves out there – and to say yes to new opportunities.

Learn more about the opportunities by attending a one-hour virtual open house on Nov. 18 at 6 p.m. During the live Zoom event, faculty will provide an in-depth look into the school’s three graduate programs followed by a question and answer session. RSVP at or contact [email protected] with questions.