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Human & Family Services Administration, MS

Parents and two children playing together

Combine family theory with administration skills to further your career.

Enhance your knowledge to design, administer and manage programs for maximum community impact.

Program Description

The Master of Science Degree in Child, Youth and Family Studies with a specialization in Human and Family Services Administration is designed to provide you with the comprehensive understanding and broad-based skills necessary for the development, administration and management of human service organizations.

The online Human and Family Services Administration program combines expertise in family studies with the business skills required for administrative positions.

This program integrates the following four content areas:

  • Family Functioning — principles of family theory, contemporary research, and working with diverse populations
  • Program Design and Evaluation — fundraising, grant writing, data collection, measuring outcomes and cost effectiveness of interventions, and program design and development 
  • Professional Issues — ethical and legal issues
  • Administration and Management Skills and Knowledge — human resources, program management and public policy

As a graduate of this program, you will be prepared, through practical knowledge and skill building, to design, administer, and manage programs, agencies and organizations that shape community impact.

Is this Program Right for You?

This unique program is appropriate for anyone interested in advancing their career within the human services industry, such as:

  • Full-time professionals who want to advance their careers by moving from positions such as direct care staff, case workers, program managers and care providers to program directors, agency directors, executive directors, etc.
  • Field professionals seeking increased understanding of the most effective methods of agency administration
  • Individuals who are interested in blending family related expertise with the administrative expertise needed to manage human service organizations
  • Individuals who hold Bachelor's Degrees in family sciences, business, psychology, sociology or related fields
  • Professionals who have new ideas but need the skills necessary to manage agencies such as nonprofit organizations, foster care agencies, early childhood intervention agencies, after school programs, and adolescent intervention programs
  • Military personnel who are seeking a post-military career in Human and Family Services Administration

Delivery Format

Home Campus: University of Nebraska - Lincoln

Method of Delivery: 100% Online - what's this?Program can be completed fully at a distance. Courses are asynchronous, meaning students and instructor may access content at any time and do not have to be connected to the Internet at the same time. If your program includes an internship or practicum, experiences may be completed in the student's local area.

All online courses are accessed via the Internet and use a learning management system. Technology requirements may vary by program and course, but all campuses have basic recommended requirements. High-speed Internet is required.

Interaction with professors and other students may include:

  • E-mail
  • Online discussion boards
  • Phone or video conferencing
  • Other forms of electronic and print communication

Supplemental materials for some courses may include:

  • Printed material and scanned documents
  • Digital resources accessed through university libraries
  • Videos accessed via the Internet, CDs or DVDs
  • Other media

To be successful, students taking online classes should be reasonably comfortable using a computer and the Internet. Learn more about online student tips for success.

Partnering for Your Advantage

This fully online degree program combines the excellence of two NU campuses: The Child, Youth and Family Studies (CYAF) Department at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln and the School of Public Administration (PA) at the University of Nebraska at Omaha. UNL is the "home" campus and as such, students will apply and be admitted to UNL.


All University of Nebraska campuses are accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.


Academic Year 2015 - 2016

Tuition rates are effective for the academic year listed. Tuition is subject to change.

Because this is a joint program of the University of Nebraska–Lincoln and the University of Nebraska at Omaha, tuition is based on which campus teaches the course(s) you take in any given semester. The costs outlined below are for the CYAF distance courses taught by UNL. Rates shown are for students taking only UNL online/distance courses. Students enrolled in a combination of UNL In Person/On Campus Courses and Online/Distance Education Courses should visit Student Accounts for complete tuition and fee information.

For costs associated with the PA courses taught by UNO, please visit the UNO website for more information.

Nebraska Resident:

 TuitionDistance Ed. FeeTechnology FeeLibrary FeeTotal
Per credit hour$325.50$25.00$11.00$4.00$365.50
3 credit hour$976.50$75.00$33.00$12.00$1,096.50


 TuitionDistance Ed. FeeTechnology FeeLibrary FeeTotal
Per credit hour$609.00$25.00$11.00$4.00$649.00
3 credit hour$1,827.00$75.00$33.00$12.00$1,947.00

Note: In addition to the costs outlined above, students will be assessed a $20.00 registration fee each semester they enroll in courses.

Courses indicated with a prefix of CYAF are taught by the University of Nebraska–Lincoln. Courses indicated with a prefix of PA are taught by the University of Nebraska at Omaha.

Course Requirements  

 Content Area Course Number and Title  Credit Hours 
Family Content

CYAF 972:    Theories of Human Development and Family
CYAF 893:    Special Topics in Contemporary Family Issues
CYAF 895:    Special Topics in Family/Cultural Diversity

9 total credit hours

Program Design, Evaluation and Research CYAF 873:    Program Design, Evaluation and Implementation
CYAF 866:    Family Professionals as Consumers of Research
PA 8106:       Fundraising in Public and Non-Profit Organizations
9 total credit hours
Administration and Management
  • PA 8050:       Public Administration and Democracy (prerequisite for all PA courses)
  • PA 8400:       Public Budgeting OR
    PA 8480:       Public Finance Administration
  • PA 8550:       Introduction to the Nonprofit Sector
  • PA 8580:       Management & Administration of Nonprofit Organizations OR
    PA 8410:       Public Human Resource Management OR
    PA 8090:       Organizational Theory

12 total credit hours

Professional Issues (optional internship) CYAF 897:    Community Internship OR
PA 8470:       Administrative Ethics and Leadership
3 total credit hours
Capstone PA 8990:       Capstone Project in Public Administration (PA-focused students) OR
CYAF 996:    Scholarly Practice and Discovery (CYAF-focused students) 
3 total credit hours
Minimum Credit Hours Required 36

For course descriptions, please click on the course titles below.

Course Name
Course #
Core Courses

Special Topics in Contemporary Family Issues

CYAF 893

Current issues such as debt management, gender and family, low-income families, retirement planning, work and family, mothering, fathering, housing. Topics vary.

Special Topics in Family/Cultural Diversity

CYAF 895
Current topics related to diverse populations, e.g., religion, sexual orientation, ethnicity. Topics vary.

Family Professionals as Consumers of Research

CYAF 866

Elements of conducting and reporting research and various research designs. Quantitative and qualitative methodologies. Skills required to effectively evaluate the quality of research reports and how to apply findings to practices in education, counseling, and family policy.

Program Design, Evaluation, & Implementation

CYAF 873

Overview of program development process and outcome evaluation of community children and family programs. Theoretical, methodological and programmatic issues in conducting programs and scholarship. Distance education course delivered by the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

Community Internships in Child, Youth and Family...


Community Internships in Child, Youth and Family Studies

Prereq: 12 hrs CYAF and/or related social sciences Fieldwork in agencies serving children, youth and families.

Theories of Human Development & Family

CYAF 972
Theoretical basis of child study and family analysis. Critical evaluation of methods and theories in child development, family relations, and human development from an integrative and holistic perspective.

Scholarly Practice and Discovery

CYAF 996
1 - 6

Prereq: Permission Investigation related to family and consumer sciences.

Public Administration and Democracy

PA 8050

The purpose of this course is to introduce the student to the art and science of public administration and to enable the student to develop the knowledge, skills and abilities requisite to the pursuit of graduate education in public administration. Prereq: N/A Not open to nondegree students.

Marketing for Aviation, Public and Nonprofit...

PA 8106

Marketing for Aviation, Public and Nonprofit Organizations

This course will focus on developing a working knowledge of marketing and its component parts as they may be applied to nonprofit organizations. Emphasis will be placed on understanding the marketing process and applying marketing principles to real organizational settings. Prereq: For graduate level: Graduate and permission of instructor, and PA 8010, 8090; or permission of department. (Cross-listed with PA-4100.)

Seminar in Organization Theory & Behavior

PA 8090
Study of the various approaches to understanding public organizations and people in them with special emphasis on the design, functioning and management of public agencies. Not open to non-degree students.

Public Budgeting

PA 8400

The purpose of the course is to familiarize public administration students with the basic characteristics and features of public budgets and enable them to deal competently with them. Prereq: PA 8010, PA 8050, or permission of school. Not open to nondegree students.

Public Human Resource Management

PA 8410

A study of the personnel process in American governmental administration. The processes and problems of recruiting, structuring and operating public bureaucracies are examined as well as problems in personnel leadership, neutrality, accountability and performance. Prereq: PA 8050 or permission of school. Not open to nondegree students.

Seminar in Public Finance Administration

PA 8480

The study of public finance administration policy and techniques areas. Emphasis is placed on the technical aspects of public finance administration with particular emphasis on the purposes, processes and issues associated with particular techniques or technique areas. Prereq: PA 8010 and PA 8050; or permission of school. Not open to nondegree students. (Cross-listed with AVN-8480.)

Administrative Ethics and Leadership

PA 8470

Ethical action and effective leadership are especially important in public service and they are closely related. This course introduces students to concepts from public sector ethics and from leadership theory. Emphasis is placed on decision-making processes, relationships between public and nonprofit sector professionals and elected officials and citizens, and the role of the career public service professional in a democratic society. Prereq: PA 8050 or permission of school. Not open to nondegree students.

Issues in Public-Private Cooperation

PA 8500

This course introduces students to the organization and processes, as well as the tools and techniques, of public-private sector cooperation. The objective of such a course is to familiarize students with the concepts and skills needed to develop and administer joint activities between the public and private sectors. Such cooperative activies have become an important aspect of public administration in recent years. Prereq: PA 8010, PA 8050, & PA 8090 or permission of school. Not open to nondegree students.

Management and Administration of Nonprofit...

PA 8580

Management and Administration of Nonprofit Organizations

General content course focusing on management and administrative issues relating to nonprofit organizations. Administrative structure and other subjects related to the difference between nonprofit and for-profit organizations will be addressed. Subjects will include constituencies, boards, strategic planning, marketing, financial management, human resources, volunteer management, and resource development. Prereq: Graduate standing and permission of adviser; PA 8050; or permission of school. Not open to nondegree students.

Fund Raising in Public and Non Profit...

PA 8106

Fund Raising in Public and Non Profit Organizations

The purpose of this course is to introduce students to a variety of fund raising methods, provide the context in which these methods might be used, and provide an understanding of how fund raising operates within public and not-for-profit organizations. Prereq: Graduate standing and permission of instructor, PA 8010, and PA 8090; or permission of school. Not open to nondegree students.

Capstone Project

PA 8990

This course is designed as a doctoral seminar that surveys the development of public administration from its earliest antecedents to the present day, taking both a historical and topical approach. Prereq: Admission into the doctoral program or permission. Not open to nondegree students

As a student in the Human and Family Services Administration program, you will benefit from the expertise of Family Science faculty from the University of Nebraska–Lincoln and Public Administration faculty from the University of Nebraska at Omaha.  This unique combination of perspectives will provide you with an experience unlike any other in a program of this kind.

John Bartle, M.P.A., Ph.D., Professor and Dean

Rochelle L. Dalla, Ph.D., Associate Professor University of Nebraska - Lincoln

Angela Eikenberry, M.P.A., Ph.D., Associate Professor

Cody Hollist, Ph.D., Assistant Professor University of Nebraska - Lincoln

Soo-Young Hong, Ph.D., Assistant Professor

Christine Reed, Ph.D., Professor

Arwiphawee Srithongrung, M.P.A., D.P.A., Assistant Professor

Ethel Williams, M.P.A., Ph.D., School Director

Yan R. Xia, Ph.D., Associate Professor & Faculty Coordinator University of Nebraska - Lincoln

Guidelines for Admittance

To participate in this program the student must have:

  • Bachelor's degree from an accredited institution


Application Checklist

Admission to a University of Nebraska–Lincoln graduate program is a two step process. 

1.  Apply to UNL's Office of Graduate Studies.

2.  Apply to the Department of Child, Youth & Family Studies.

Application Deadlines

Although applications will be considered on a continuing basis, preferred deadlines for consideration by the Child, Youth and Family Studies Graduate Committee are:

Spring Semester admittance - October 15
Summer Semester admittance - January 15
Fall Semester admittance - April 15

Applicants will not be considered unless their files are totally complete. In order to ensure that materials will reach the CYAF Department prior to the above deadlines, it is suggested that materials be submitted to the Office of Graduate Studies by:

Spring Semester admittance - September 1
Summer Semester admittance - December 15
Fall Semester admittance - March 1


Online Worldwide Educational Representative

Program Contact
Phone: 402.472.2875

Program Contact
Name: Diane Carson
Phone: 402.472.8209

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