Master of Arts in Family and Consumer Sciences

The M.A. degree in Family & Consumer Sciences (FCS) in the Department of Family, Interiors, Nutrition & Apparel (FINA) is designed to prepare students for advanced studies of individual, family, and community issues using an interdisciplinary approach. Throughout the program, students gain a greater understanding of current issues and trends as well as their implications toward an optimum quality of life for individuals, families, and communities. 

Student understanding within these areas provides the roadmap for the development of a culminating experience, which illustrates identification of issues and problem-solving methodologies. Students have the opportunity to structure their degree around their specific interests within the emphasis areas noted below and also with other programs across campus.

The degree consists of 30 units, including completion of a master's thesis or field study project as a culminating experience. Graduates of the M.A. in FCS have gone on to careers in the non-profit sectors, community agencies, early childhood settings, education, food, and nutritional sciences, and apparel and interior design industries. The M.A. also prepares students for continued education at the doctoral level. Individual studies can be developed around the following specializations:

  • Apparel Design & Merchandising
  • Interior Design
  • Dietetics/Nutrition
  • Family and Consumer Sciences

Admission to Program

Applicants must hold a baccalaureate degree and a 3.0 GPA with a major in Family & Consumer Sciences, or one of its specializations (apparel, child/family, interior design, nutrition/dietetics). Those without this degree must complete thirty units of prerequisite coursework in a family & consumer sciences program area approved by a program advisor and the FINA Department Chair.

Within these 30 units:

  • 3 units must be from outside the student’s graduate area of specialization
  • a maximum of 6 units may be counted for past professional experience in an area of specialization.

Program Learning Outcomes

  1. Graduates will exhibit professional skills and knowledge associated with their sub-discipline in Family & Consumer Sciences:
    Interior Design
    Family Studies
  2. Students will appreciate a socially conscious approach to sub-disciplines; contribute to the community through service.
  3. Graduates will demonstrate the ability to design and conduct research associated with their sub-discipline.
  4. Students will exhibit professional presentation and writing skills.
  5. Students will link theory and practice in their program experiences.
  6. Graduates will understand the interdisciplinary nature of family & consumer sciences.

Written English Proficiency Requirement

Level One

Students may either sit for the GRE (writing component) exam prior to application or take a writing-intensive course upon acceptance into the program. Students who take the GRE, prior to application, and do not receive a score of at least 4.0 will be required to take a writing-intensive course (Graduate Writing in Health and Social Sciences - HSS 700). Students who elect to take the writing course (HSS 700), rather than the GRE exam, are required to complete the additional 30 units required for the degree.

Level Two

Level Two is demonstrated by the completion of FCS 895 or FCS 898.

For the Culminating Experience (CE) and SF State Continuous Enrollment Policy students should view SF State Graduate Division policies at The Proposal for Culminating Experience, Human Subjects Protocol, and Advancement to Candidacy are due the semester prior to enrolling in FCS 895/FCS 898 Students have one semester grace period after enrolling in FCS 895/FCS 898 to complete their CE. If it is not completed during the semester following enrollment, they must then continually enroll in HSS 499 through the College of Professional & Global Education until FCS 895/FCS 898 is completed.

Seventy percent of a student’s Advancement to Candidacy (ATC) must be at the 700 level or above. Students must make continuous progress toward the completion of the degree. See the Graduate Division website for details on policies, procedures, and required forms at

Family and Consumer Sciences (M.A.) — Minimum 30 units

Program Requirements (9 units)

FCS 700/DES 701Seminar: Trends and Issues3
FCS 710Family and Consumer Sciences Research Applications3
ISED 797Seminar in Educational Research3

Graduate/Upper-Division Courses (18 units)

Courses in Family and Consumer Sciences from the options below or courses selected upon approval of graduate major advisor. Students may use 9 units of upper-division undergraduate courses towards the MA.

FCS 728Children and Families with Violence, Abuse, and Neglect3
FCS 743Sustainability in the Textile, Housing, and Food Industries3
FCS 761Advanced Apparel Design3
FCS 769Visual Merchandising and Promotion3
FCS 881Internship3-6
FCS 891Directed Readings in Family Interiors Nutrition & Apparel3
FCS 899Independent Study2-4

Culminating Experience (3 units)

Select One:

FCS 895Field Study3
FCS 898Master's Thesis3