Frequently Asked Questions
1. When can I enter the program and when is the application deadline?
We prefer students to enter the program in the fall semester in order to benefit from moving through the program with a cohort of students. Students may, on occasion, be admitted in the spring semester. For full consideration, you are strongly urged to complete your entire application by the priority deadline of April 15 but we will continue to accept applications until slots are filled.
2. What application materials should I submit?
All application materials are submitted online to the Graduate School, http://www.usm.edu/graduate-school/apply-graduate-school. Prospective students must complete the application form on the website, pay the application fee, and then submit the following materials:
- Graduate Record Examination (GRE) test scores
- Information on test sites and dates can be found on http://www.ets.org/
- Official transcripts from any post-secondary schools attended
- Three letters of recommendation.
- Preference is given to letters written by faculty members who are familiar with the applicant’s academic abilities and are qualified to assess readiness for graduate study. We also accept letters from supervisors or employers. Recommendation letters need to be professionals who can comment on the applicant’s verbal and written abilities, motivation, self-reliance, maturity, and ability to work with others.
- A statement of purpose
3. What should I write about in my “statement of purpose”?
Introduce yourself and discuss why you are interested in the program. Share with us your experiences in this field as well as your personal and professional goals. Be specific about the populations you wish to work with or the specific problem areas that interest you.
4. What factors does the Admissions Committee evaluate to decide if I am accepted to the program?
Regular admission to the Graduate School for study in the master of science degree programs in the Department of Child and Family Studies requires acceptable scores on the Graduate Record Examination; a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution with an overall grade point average (GPA) of at least 3.00 (on a 4.0 scale) and a 3.25 on the last 64 hours of coursework; strong letters of recommendation by professionals qualified to evaluate your potential for success in the graduate program; and a strong statement of purpose.
All application materials are considered collectively to determine an applicant’s strengths and potential areas of concern. Our goal is to have a cohort of students who are strong academically but will also provide diverse perspectives to the program.
5. Does your program accept students on a conditional basis?
An student who does not qualify for regular admission may be admitted on a conditional basis; provided, however, such a student possesses a grade point average of at least 2.50 (calculated on a 4.0 scale) on the last 60 hours of coursework. Conditional admission can be given only upon the recommendation of the department chair, the college dean, and the dean of the Graduate School.
A student admitted conditionally in the CFS MS Online program must maintain a grade point average of at least 3.0 on the first six (6) hours of coursework at or above the 600 level.
6. Can I take courses as a non-degree student?
Yes, this is a great option for students who have not yet taken the GRE or need to improve their grade point average (GPA) before applying to the program. Students may take up to 7 hours of program coursework with the department chair’s approval. In addition to the application form, there are two forms specific to non-degree courses. Those forms must be filled out and sent to the Program Director, Dr. Pat Sims for review. The Chair of the Department must sign them and the Dean of the Graduate School must approve the request. If you are admitted to the program, the coursework will be applied toward program requirements.
7. How many courses will I take every semester and how long will it take me to finish?
The program is structured for students who work and want to go to school part-time. The first semester students take seven (7) hours and then six (6) hour every semester after that. If you follow this format, you will finish in two calendar years.
8. Do I need anything special for the program?
Students will need a computer, broadband access to the internet, and a web camera and microphone. Southern Miss online programs are administered through Southern Miss through EagleLearningOnline (ELO) http://www.usm.edu/elo/ and are offered through Blackboard.
9. How much is the tuition?
Tuition costs vary year to year but you can find the current tuition in the graduate bulletin: http://www.usm.edu/graduate-school/tuition-fees. Because this is a fully online program, students only pay in-state tuition and are exempt from out-of-state-fees!!
10. Where can I find out about financial assistance?
Financial aid information can be found at the following link: http://www.usm.edu/financial-aid
11. If admitted to the program, will I ever need to come to campus?
We would love to have you visit our campus and our department but it is not a requirement. The program is fully online, start to finish!
12. What types of careers to graduates of this program obtain?
Graduates of this program have access to a wide range of professional opportunities including, but not limited to, the following:
• Certified Family Life Educator
• Early Childhood Educator
• Preschool Teacher/Director
• Intervention Specialist
• Therapeutic Childcare Specialist
• Substance Abuse Specialist
• Sexual Health Educator
• Foster Care Coordinator
• Elementary, Middle and High School Educator
• Nonprofit Program Manager
• Family Program Administrator
• Child Life Specialist
• College Instructor
• Resource Specialist
• Developmental Play Specialist
For more information, please contact the Program Director, Dr. Pat Sims at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 601.266.4679.