Those interested in pursuing a family and consumer science degree know that the field has changed significantly since the days of home economics. Programs in this area of study include contemporary topics such as nutrition, family economics, human development, and interior design. Although it’s wise to look for an affordable consumer science degree, there are many other factors to consider to ensure the degree has value for one’s future career. To help students choose the ideal family and consumer science degree program, we’ve compiled the following list of great value colleges.
Rating and Ranking Methodology
Graduate Degree Opportunities in Family and Consumer Sciences
• Presence of Master’s Degree Program – 1 point
• Presence of Doctoral Degree Program – 1 point
• National Level – 2 points
• Regional Level – 1 point
20-Year Net ROI
• Above 600,000 – 5 points
• Above 500,000 – 4 points
• Above 400,000 – 3 points
• Above 300,000 –2 points
• Above 200,000 – 1 point
Family and Consumer Sciences Research Opportunities – 1 point
Innovative Programs and/or Teaching Methods in Family and Consumer Sciences – 1 point
Study Abroad Opportunities in Family and Consumer Sciences – 1 point
Family and Consumer Sciences Internship Opportunities – 1 point
Family and Consumer Sciences Scholarship Opportunities – 1 point
Affiliated Centers and Institutes on Campus – 1 point
Related Student Organizations and Societies – 1 point
Wow Factor: awarded for each unique feature or program that “wowed” us – 1 point
Great Value Colleges for Family and Consumer Sciences
To find the best value colleges for a family and consumer science degree, our editors used College Navigator to locate the nearly 400 colleges and universities in the U.S. with consumer science programs. The net cost is the median average net cost by income on College Navigator. We then cross-referenced this list with PayScale’s data regarding each school’s 20-year ROI. Finally, we visited the websites of the most attractive programs to finish applying the ranking methodology above to identify the most affordable and value-added family and consumer science schools. Please note that in cases of a tie, the school’s net price was considered, and the most economical offering was awarded the higher ranking.
#50 – The University of Alabama
Net Price: $23,284
The University of Alabama’s Department of Consumer Sciences offers a concentration in Consumer Affairs and a concentration in Family Financial Planning and Counseling. The Consumer Affairs concentration can be applied to a wide variety of settings such as government, community service, and business. The Family Financial Planning and Counseling concentration equips students with the knowledge and experience needed to become professionally certified as financial planners. Family and consumer science degree students who choose either concentration are thoroughly prepared for a career in consumer sciences or entrance into a graduate program.
#49 – Brigham Young University
Net Price: $12,466
Brigham Young University offers an interdisciplinary program in Family and Consumer Sciences Education. Topics include early childhood development, parenting education, nutrition and wellness, and human relationships. While BYU’s bachelor’s in family and consumer science program offers fewer options than many other universities’ programs, this is more than made up for in quality. Faculty include notable professors in the field and instructors with years of public education experience. There are also many opportunities for students to gain hands-on experience in both classroom and non-classroom settings.
#48 – Morgan State University
Net Price: $18,991
Morgan State University offers a bachelor’s in Family and Consumer Sciences. Students in this program choose between concentrations in Fashion Merchandising and General Family and Consumer Sciences. While this program does not offer many opportunities for specialization, it thoroughly prepares students to adapt to changes in the field and pursue a wide variety of jobs. Students may also join the Family and Consumer Sciences Club, which hosts events, provides networking opportunities, and participates in community service.
#47 – Stephen F. Austin State University
Net Price: $13,644
Stephen F. Austin State University’s Family and Consumer Sciences program includes two tracks. The Education with Teacher Certification track prepares students to teach at the high school level and leads to one of three possible teaching certifications. The broader Family and Consumer Science track is paired with a related minor to prepare students for a career in the field. This option is fairly flexible, but some minors are more highly recommended than others. Regardless of which track they choose, all students pursuing a bachelor’s in family and consumer science are required to complete an internship.
#46 – Northeastern State University
Net Price: $11,683
Northeastern State University offers a Human and Family Sciences degree with options in Early Care and General Human Family Sciences. The Early Care option can be taken traditionally or as an online class. Both options include internships and interdisciplinary courses for those pursuing a bachelor’s in family and consumer science. One of the most interesting aspects of Northeastern State is its Smart Choice program. This program allows students to transfer easily from a participating two-year college to obtain a four-year degree from Northeastern State.
#45 – Baylor University
Net Price: $31,343
The Family and Consumer Science degree program at Baylor University approaches family and community issues from a Christian perspective. This may be appealing to students interested in working in a religious organization. Community service is a priority at Baylor, so students are given ample opportunity to gain valuable hands-on experience through service learning. The university’s commitment to service is also displayed through facilities such as the Piper Child Development Center, which facilitates community service, research, and education through its work with those outside of the university.
#44 – Point Loma Nazarene University
San Diego, California
Net Price: $28,716
The Department of Family and Consumer Sciences at Point Loma Nazarene University prepares students for work in diverse environments by emphasizing the importance of a multicultural perspective. This department encourages students seeking a bachelor’s in family and consumer science to choose an area of specialization in the field, such as Dietetics or Child and Adolescent Development. Several events are held throughout the year by both the department and the Phi Upsilon Omicron honor society. These events include department dinners, service projects, and opportunities for networking. Internships are also available to students looking for practical experience and networking opportunities.
#43 – University of Arkansas
Net Price: $16,336
The University of Arkansas offers a BSE in Career and Technical Education with a concentration in Family and Consumer Sciences. The program’s curriculum is diverse, addressing several aspects of the field. Topics studied include housing and design, nutrition and foods, and family studies. Students are encouraged to use these courses not only to improve themselves as professionals and teachers, but also to develop personal skills. Most students who complete the family and consumer science degree program go on to teach in high schools, but there are also opportunities to work in human service agencies or product marketing.
#42 – Central Washington University
Net Price: $15,744
Central Washington University offers several Family Consumer Sciences degree programs, some of which offer multiple specializations. A few of these programs, such as Global Wine Studies, are unique and difficult to find at other universities. Many of these programs have on-campus labs with specialized equipment and offer opportunities to gain hands-on experience. The department also hosts several events throughout the year, including fashion shows, competitions, and poverty simulations. Students who complete these programs are well-prepared for both graduate study and employment in the field.
#41 – Youngstown State University
Net Price: $13,786
Youngstown State University offers a bachelor’s in family and consumer science as well as a master’s degree in family and consumer sciences education. Students in this program prepare to teach at the adult and high school level through internships. This major requires students to complete at least three semesters of internship or student teaching. Students who complete this program meet the course requirements for Ohio’s Family and Consumer Sciences Teaching License and will receive their teaching license after passing the Praxis II exam.
#40 – Texas Woman’s University
Net Price: $9,629
The Family and Consumer Sciences Program at Texas Woman’s University is broad and available in both online and traditional formats. Students can choose from three BS in Family and Consumer Science degree programs and an MA in Teaching with a Family and Consumer Sciences focus. Both the bachelor’s degree and the master’s degree satisfy the Texas course requirements for a Provisional Teacher Certificate in Family and Consumer Sciences. Students who complete the Human Development and Family Studies emphasis are also able to pursue designation as a Professional Certified Family Life Educator.
#39 – Bradley University
Net Price: $22,865
Family and Consumer Science students at Bradley University enjoy small classes, high job placement rates, and many opportunities to gain real-world experience. Not only do most courses include some hands-on elements, but students also are able to conduct research alongside faculty. It’s common for students to publish their research in undergraduate research journals or present it at an event such as the university’s research expo. Students who complete the bachelor’s in family and consumer science are equipped with the knowledge, skills, and experience needed to be competitive in the job market.
#38 – Washington State University
Net Price: $15,548
Washington State University offers an impressive family and consumer science degree program. This program gives its students the broad understanding of the field needed to teach in junior and senior high schools. It also allows them to become state certified family and consumer sciences teachers. Students in this program are able to apply concepts learned in the classroom and gain hands-on experience by student teaching in a high school or middle school setting for a semester.
#37 – Illinois State University
Net Price: $19,080
Family and Consumer Science degree students at Illinois State University enjoy the atmosphere, attention, and class size of a small college without having to sacrifice the resources of a larger university. The university offers five undergraduate degree programs and one master’s degree program in consumer science, all of which include observation or hands-on learning in specialized facilities. The university’s Department of Family and Consumer Sciences is also one of fewer than 50 programs in the country accredited by the American Association of Family and Consumer Sciences.
#36 – Colorado State University
Fort Collins, Colorado
Net Price: $15,927
Colorado State University is the only university in Colorado that offers a Family and Consumer Sciences degree program and licensure. Students in this program can choose between two concentrations: General Family and Consumer Sciences and Family and Consumer Science Education. This program is interdepartmental, so students receive an unusually broad education that can be applied to many different career paths. Internship opportunities are available, and students are highly encouraged to develop leadership skills and join student organizations.
#35 – Minnesota State University
Net Price: $14,451
Family and Consumer Science degree students at Minnesota State University can choose from four areas of emphasis, including Family Consumer Science Education, Foods and Nutrition, Child Development and Family Studies, and Dietetics. Most of the available options lead to certification or provide the training required for certification. All options include opportunities to gain practical, hands-on experience. The department is home to multiple student organizations, such as the Student Dietetic and Nutrition Organization, the Child Development and Family Studies Clubs, and the Phi Upsilon Omicron honor society. Students are also encouraged to attend professional meetings and workshops.
#34 – Sam Houston State University
Net Price: $14,832
Sam Houston State University’s Department of Family and Consumer Sciences meets the needs of a wide variety of students by offering several flexible degree programs, including Food Service Management and Interior Design. The department offers six undergraduate programs and two master’s programs. Internships are required in most of these programs, but they are also available in the programs that do not require them. Students working towards a bachelor’s in family and consumer science are also encouraged to participate in study abroad programs and student organizations.
#33 – California State University – Northridge
Net Price: $10,783
The Family and Consumer Sciences department at California State University – Northridge offers a master’s degree in addition to the bachelor’s in Family and Consumer Sciences. Both of these programs allow for specialization in areas such as Family Studies, Apparel Design and Merchandising, and Nutrition, Dietetics and Food Science. The department is also home to several clubs and societies. Many of these organizations are not just for general family and consumer sciences, but also concentrations within the field. This program is great for students who are already interested in a specific specialization.
#32 – Seattle Pacific University
Net Price: $24,790
The Family and Consumer Science degree program at Seattle Pacific University offers five different programs, including Apparel Design and Merchandising, Interior Design, and Family and Consumer Science Education. The university’s location in a leading urban center gives students several opportunities for experiential learning and networking. Chances to gain practical experience are also available on campus through labs and facilities such as the SPU Community Kitchen. Students interested in working in a religious setting may prefer this university with its Christian foundation.
#31 – Mississippi State University
Mississippi State, Mississippi
Net Price: $18,007
The Mississippi State University School of Human Sciences offers degrees in Human Development and Family Studies, as well as Fashion Design and Merchandising. Both programs include concentrations, allowing students to focus on subjects most relevant to their desired career path. These family and consumer science degree programs also offer scholarships and opportunities to gain valuable real-world experience. Students in the Fashion Design and Merchandising program have the additional opportunity to study abroad and participate in events hosted by the program.
#30 – Purdue University
West Lafayette, Indiana
Net Price: $9,654
Purdue University offers an undergraduate program in Family and Consumer Sciences Education. This program is interdisciplinary, drawing resources from both the College of Health and Human Sciences and the College of Education. Experiential learning is a priority, so students can participate in field experiences as early as their second semester. All students seeking a bachelor’s in family and consumer science complete a full semester of classroom teaching in two classroom settings, but students may also complete field experiences at community agencies. This program meets requirements for an Indiana teacher’s license, and prepares students for most related graduate programs.
#29 – Pittsburg State University
Net Price: $15,056
Pittsburg State University’s Family and Consumer Sciences programs train students to solve not only the current issues facing individuals and families, but also the issues they will face in the future. The department offers four undergraduate programs and one cooperative master’s program in Career and Technical Education with the Department of Technology Studies. All of these family and consumer science degree programs include exciting experiential learning opportunities, such as study tours, internships, and study abroad. Other opportunities, such as competitions, are also available depending on the program.
#28 – New Mexico State University
Las Cruces, New Mexico
Net Price: $8,013
The Department of Family and Consumer Sciences at New Mexico State University trains students to apply research and theory to issues in every aspect of the field. The department offers undergraduate and graduate programs, both of which allow students to choose an area of emphasis. There are several areas to choose from, including Family and Child Science, Food Science and Technology, and Family and Consumer Sciences Education. Some areas even have options for further specialization within the area of emphasis. Students pursuing a bachelor’s in family and computer science are also able to gain hands-on experience through community outreach or student-run companies.
#27 – California State University – Sacramento
Net Price: $11,413
California State University – Sacramento’s Department of Family and Consumer Sciences offers degree programs in Family Studies, Nutrition and Food/Dietetics, and Fashion Merchandising and Design. The Department also offers a Pre-Credential Single Subject Matter Program, which prepares students to teach Home Economics at the middle and high school levels. Most of these programs have related on-campus resources and centers, as well as student organizations. Students pursuing a bachelor’s in family and consumer science also have several opportunities to complete internships or other practical experiences in settings that help them connect with potential employers.
#26 – Queens College
Queens, New York
Net Price: $7,222
Queens College’s Department of Family, Nutrition, and Exercise Sciences houses both an undergraduate and a graduate degree program in Family and Consumer Sciences. The BA in family and consumer science includes multiple areas of specialization, whereas the master’s program is designed for those interested in education. Students who complete this rigorous program typically do well on their teacher certification tests. The production of well-rounded students is also a priority. Outside of the classroom, students are encouraged to join professional organizations, attend conferences, and participate in other extracurricular activities.
#25 – Lamar University
Net Price: $14,818
Lamar University’s Family and Consumer Sciences Department offers several degree programs, including Nutrition, Hospitality Administration, and Family Studies. While there are plenty of options for specialization, students may also choose the broader and more flexible General Family and Consumer Sciences program. Many of these programs include field experiences, and some also include travel and research opportunities. All of the department’s family and consumer science degree programs prepare students for further education or careers in the field, but a few programs also give students an advantage in the job market by leading to certification.
#24 – East Carolina University
Greenville, North Carolina
Net Price: $15,784
The Department of Human Development and Family Science at East Carolina University offers five undergraduate degree programs, four master’s programs, and one doctoral program. These family and consumer science degree programs are primarily designed to prepare students to work with children and families as educators or therapists. Students in these programs enjoy access to on-campus facilities, multiple related student organizations, and opportunities for hands-on experience. Many professional development and fieldwork opportunities are available through the department’s student organizations, which sponsor trips and events.
#23 – Ball State University
Net Price: $15,185
Ball State University’s Family and Consumer Science program emphasizes practical application of concepts learned in the classroom. Students are able to gain real-world experience from campus centers, labs, and even a student-run restaurant. Students may also choose from a wide variety of family and consumer science degree programs. The university offers 11 undergraduate degree programs and seven graduate degree programs, accommodating the wide variety of student interests. These diverse interests are also reflected in the several student organizations sponsored by the department.
#22 – University of Houston
Net Price: $12,505
The University of Houston’s Department of Human Development and Consumer Sciences boasts partnerships with local businesses, engaging courses, and excellent faculty. Students at the university can choose from several undergraduate and graduate degree programs, all of which include experiential learning opportunities. The university’s partnerships and location in a major city facilitate a wide variety of opportunities for family and consumer science degree students, such as internships and research. The department also uses these connections to serve the community. Faculty are experienced and work to update regularly their curricula to make it more future-oriented.
#21 – Texas State University
San Marcos, Texas
Net Price: $14,250
The School of Family and Consumer Science at Texas State University prides itself in its facilities and experiential learning opportunities. Students have access to computer labs and equipment, and some lab students also have access to the on-campus Child Development Center under faculty supervision. All students in this program must complete an internship, and research opportunities are available to both graduate and undergraduate students. Related student organizations also provide opportunities for family and consumer science degree students to participate in community service and professional development activities.
#20 – Eastern Kentucky University
Net Price: $14,004
Eastern Kentucky University’s Department of Family and Consumer Sciences is home to several accredited degree programs, engaging faculty, and on-campus centers. All programs include opportunities to gain practical experience through internships or research. Service learning opportunities are also available to Child and Family Studies students through the Burrier Child Development Center, and Dietetics students may gain hands-on experience by working at the student-run Café Burrier. Students pursuing a bachelor’s in family and consumer science are also encouraged to participate in related events not hosted by the university.
#19 – Southern University and A&M College
Baton Rouge, Louisiana
Net Price: $18,775
The College of Agricultural, Family, and Consumer Sciences at Southern University and A&M College is highly regarded for its grant funding to faculty, its student retention, and its exceptional graduates. It offers a BS in Family and Consumer Sciences with three concentrations. Practical experience is a priority. All concentrations include opportunities for students to enrich their education through participation in internships, service learning, study tours, or similar activities. Students are also encouraged to join professional and student organizations and regularly participate in events held by these organizations.
#18 – North Carolina A&T State University
Greensboro, North Carolina
Net Price: $13,038
North Carolina A&T State University’s Department of Family and Consumer Sciences offers one of only three programs in North Carolina accredited by the American Association of Family and Consumer Sciences. The department also houses several state-of-the-art facilities, including the Child Development Lab, a Computer Aided Design lab, and a recently renovated Apparel Design Studio. There is a specialized lab for every available program area, so students have ample opportunity to gain practical experience with professional-grade equipment. Students pursuing a bachelor’s in family and consumer science are also able to learn off-campus through study abroad and internships.
#17 – Western Michigan University
Net Price: $19,841
Western Michigan University’s Department of Family and Consumer Sciences offers several bachelor’s degree programs, three master’s degree programs, and a doctoral degree program. These programs include opportunities for internships and research, which students are highly encouraged to participate in. There are also four related student organizations that family and consumer science degree students can join. Both these organizations and the department host activities and events, such as contests and service opportunities. Students who complete any of these programs are well-prepared for employment or further education.
#16 – University of Kentucky
Net Price: $15,733
The University of Kentucky’s Department of Family Sciences prioritizes experiential learning. All students are required to apply their knowledge to real-world situations by completing an internship. There are more than 100 internship settings that students may choose from, including crisis centers, drug courts, churches, and child care centers. This variety ensures that students can work in a setting that is relevant to their career path. While this university does not offer many family and consumer science degree programs, the programs they do offer are high-quality and flexible enough to prepare students for a variety of jobs and further education.
#15 – Montana State University
Net Price: $19,616
Montana State University’s Family and Consumer Sciences degree program offers both teaching and non-teaching options. The non-teaching option is broad and prepares students for a wide variety of careers and graduate programs. It may also allow students to apply for provisional certification as a Certified Family Life Educator if students complete coursework in the 11 family life substance areas. The teaching option also prepares students for graduate education in a wide variety of areas, but is primarily designed to prepare its students for work in an education setting.
#14 – Texas A&M University – Kingsville
Net Price: $14,464
Texas A&M University – Kingsville’s Department of Human Sciences offers four BS degrees in family and consumer science as well as two MS degrees. Available degree programs include Human Nutrition, Family and Consumer Sciences Education, and Fashion Merchandising. This department focuses on classroom instruction, as well as the development of leadership, research, and problem solving. The department is also home to the Marc Cisneros Center for Young Children, which allows students to gain real-world experience by working with children and their parents. Other enrichment opportunities are available through related student and professional organizations.
#13 – University of Utah
Salt Lake City, Utah
Net Price: $14,501
The University of Utah’s Family and Consumer Sciences department is primarily focused on public policy and applied social science research. It offers graduate and undergraduate degree programs in areas such as financial planning, human development, and early childhood education. The department’s programs are also interdisciplinary and include courses taught by faculty with diverse disciplinary backgrounds. The department houses multiple facilities and resources, including preschool laboratories and research facilities. Students pursuing a bachelor’s in family and consumer science also have opportunities to learn and gain experience off-campus through internships.
#12 – San Francisco State University
San Francisco, California
Net Price: $16,661
San Francisco State University’s Department of Consumer and Family Studies/Dietetics offers several undergraduate degree programs and an MA degree program in Family and Consumer Sciences with options for specialization. Many of these programs and specializations have active related student groups. The department is also home to specialized labs for Apparel Design and Merchandising, Dietetics/Nutrition, and Interior Design. There are many off-campus opportunities that students pursuing a bachelor’s in family and consumer science can take advantage of as well, including study abroad, field experience, and study tours.
#11 – California State University – Long Beach
Long Beach, California
Net Price: $10,807
California State University – Long Beach has the largest Family and Consumer Sciences degree program on the west coast. The university offers nine bachelor’s degree programs and three master’s degree programs, all of which are taught by faculty who have extensive experience in their field. Students have several exciting opportunities for nontraditional learning, such as study abroad in one of many countries and study tours of U.S. cities such as New York. Students not interested in travel may choose to participate in a local internship or gain real-world experience at the department’s Child and Family Center.
#10 – California State University – Fresno
Net Price: $7,549
The Department of Child, Family, and Consumer Sciences at California State University – Fresno prioritizes rigorous coursework and experiential learning. Faculty work to challenge students both in and outside of a classroom setting. Hands-on learning opportunities include internships, service learning, and research. This research is primarily conducted at the on-campus Child and Family Sciences Laboratory and the Campus Children’s Center. Family and consumer science degree students may also participate in several fun events, such as the department’s annual Spring Fashion Show and the Central California Research Symposium.
#9 – University of Wisconsin – Madison
Net Price: $13,227
The Department of Consumer Science at the University of Wisconsin – Madison offers undergraduate degree programs in Retailing and Personal Finance, as well as graduate degrees in Consumer Behavior and Family Economics. All of these programs are interdisciplinary and taught by faculty with expertise in a wide variety of fields. All family and consumer science degree programs also have related student organizations and opportunities to gain practical experience through internships, on-campus centers, travel, or events. Students who graduate from the university go on to be successful graduate students or employees in their field.
#8 – Alabama A&M University
Net Price: $18, 405
The Department of Family and Consumer Sciences at Alabama A&M University prepares students to promote the well-being of communities, families, and individuals in a wide variety of settings. The department offers multiple family and consumer science degrees, each of which include various concentrations. Family and consumer science majors may also join one of the related student organizations and seek mentorship through the university’s partnership with the Southeastern Council on Family Relations. The many opportunities for specialization and the available extracurricular activities makes Alabama A&M a great option for students looking for a more customized education.
#7 – University of Georgia
Net Price: $14,748
Family and Consumer Sciences students at the University of Georgia can choose from over 10 majors, including Consumer Economics, Financial Planning, and Honors Interdisciplinary Studies. Several of these majors also include emphases, enabling further specialization. Regardless of their major, FACS students are able to participate in research, internships, study abroad, and other hands-on learning experiences. The College of Family and Consumer Sciences is also home to high-tech facilities, including five student computer labs. Students who complete the bachelor’s in family and consumer science are well-prepared for both further education and employment.
#6 – University of Missouri – Columbia
Net Price: $13,145
The University of Missouri – Columbia’s Department of Human Development and Family Science is highly-regarded for its exceptional training in teaching, service, and research. The department boasts many excellent undergraduate programs as well as a variety of graduate programs available both online and on-campus. Students pursuing a bachelor’s in family and consumer science enjoy a supportive environment, experiential learning opportunities, free access to data sets and other resources. The certification exam pass rate for students in these programs is 96 percent. Post-graduation placement rates are also high.
#5 – The University of Texas at Austin
Net Price: $15,757
The University of Texas at Austin is home to a dynamic Human Development and Family Sciences program that provides a wide variety of opportunities at both the graduate and undergraduate levels. The bachelor’s in family and consumer science program is flexible, offering students more than five degree options. Both graduate and undergraduate students have opportunities to study abroad and conduct research alongside faculty. Faculty research interests are broad, and funding consistently comes from several sources, giving students the chance to participate in a project they are more interested in. Internships are also available to students looking to gain hands-on experience.
#4 – University of Idaho
Net Price: $13,528
The Family and Consumer Sciences program at the University of Idaho offers both graduate and undergraduate programs that cover a wide variety of areas in the field, such as nutrition and child development. Each family and consumer science degree program includes at least two areas of emphasis for students to choose from. The university also has five specialized teaching labs. These labs include a foods laboratory, a child development laboratory, and a dietetics simulation laboratory. Several exciting opportunities for hands-on experience, such as research and study abroad, are available to both graduate and undergraduate students.
#3 – Virginia Tech
Net Price: $19,067
Family and Consumer Science students at Virginia Tech enjoy small upper-level classes, an exciting and diverse community, and opportunities to gain real-world experience. This multidisciplinary program is one of four family and consumer science majors available in the state of Virginia. The program is flexible, allowing students to specialize in one or more areas of the field. All students pursuing a bachelor’s in family and consumer science complete internships, and many students participate in research. Virginia Tech also offers students opportunities to study abroad for up to a year.
#2 – University of Maryland – College Park
College Park, Maryland
Net Price: $18,418
Located in a School of Public Health, the University of Maryland – College Park’s Department of Family Science approaches the field from a health and epidemiology perspective. The department offers family and consumer degree programs at the undergraduate, master’s, and doctoral levels. Students in any of these programs can take advantage of state-of-the-art facilities and opportunities to gain hands-on experience. The university’s location near Baltimore and Washington, D.C. gives students access to a wide variety of resources, potential employers, and enrichment opportunities. Students who graduate from these programs are well-prepared to either find employment or pursue further education.
#1 – Iowa State University
Net Price: $14,161
Family and Consumer Science students at Iowa State University can choose from 15 undergraduate majors and six graduate majors, most of which contain multiple degree programs and concentrations. Graduate programs are also available online. The university’s College of Human Sciences is home to several centers, including a lab school. These centers and other facilities allow students to work with specialized equipment and conduct research alongside faculty. Most graduates from the university’s family and consumer science degree programs find employment within six months of graduation.
This concludes our ranking of the 50 great value colleges for family and consumer sciences.
About the Field of Family and Consumer Sciences
When you think of the field of family and consumer sciences, your thoughts may wander back to your high school home economics or culinary arts class. There is so much more to this field than learning to cook or sew on a button, however. Family and consumer sciences is a vast field of study that addresses issues related to human development, nutrition, education, fashion, finances, and so much more. Thus, it should come as no surprise that academic training in family and consumer sciences can lead to numerous and diverse career opportunities for graduates.
About Bachelor’s Degree Programs in Family and Consumer Sciences
The most popular academic degree in the field of family and consumer sciences is the bachelor’s credential. According to the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), nearly 25,000 of these undergraduate degrees were conferred in 2018. A comprehensive plan of study, the bachelor of family and consumer sciences degree program typically consists of 120 credit hours of study and takes four years to complete. While most undergraduate programs in the field are offered on-campus, there are several fully online bachelor’s in family and consumer sciences degree programs available, including those from top-ranked online schools such as Utah State University and Western Kentucky University, for example.
Types of Family and Consumer Sciences Bachelor’s Degrees
There is more than one type of degree plan that falls under the large umbrella of family and consumer sciences. Below, we’ve listed some examples of the various types of credentials available in this broad field:
- Bachelor of Science (BS) in Family and Consumer Sciences
- Bachelor of Science (BS) in Family and Consumer Sciences Education
- Bachelor of Arts (BA) in Human Development and Family Studies
- Bachelor of Arts (BA) in Apparel Design
- Bachelor of Arts (BA) in Costume Design and Production
- Bachelor of Science (BS) in Fashion Merchandising and Management
- Bachelor of Science (BS) in Early Childhood Development & Education
- Bachelor’s in Family & Child Science
- Bachelor’s in Food Service Management
- Bachelor’s in Food Science and Technology
- Bachelor of Science (BS) in Food & Nutrition
- Bachelor of Interior Design
- Bachelor’s in Human Nutrition & Dietetic Science (HNDS)
Bachelor’s in Family and Consumer Sciences: Admissions
Gaining admission into a bachelor’s degree program in family and consumer sciences doesn’t have to be overly difficult, but you will need to meet certain minimum requirements. Typically, these standards will include a high school diploma, decent GPA, and SAT or ACT scores. Schools will also invariably require a completed application along with a nominal application fee. Additional application requirements will vary by school but could include personal statements, essays, letters of references, and even interviews.
Bachelor of Family and Consumer Sciences: Curriculum
Since the field of family and consumer sciences is so broad, the classes you take can vary widely depending on what school you attend, the exact degree program you choose, and any concentrations and/or specializations you elect. Still, you can expect that a family and consumer sciences degree plan at the undergraduate level will address some fundamental concepts in human development, family dynamics, nutrition, and finance, for example. You can also expect that a portion of your studies will be devoted to general education classes, as is the case for all baccalaureate programs.
General Education Courses
All bachelor’s degree programs require students to fulfill a general education requirement. These classes, colloquially referred to as “gen ed” courses, are not specifically related to the student’s major. Instead, they provide fundamental knowledge in a broad range of academic disciplines, including the humanities, mathematics, social sciences, and physical sciences, for example. Some sample general education classes are listed below. These examples are for illustration only and may or may not reflect the actual course titles required for your chosen plan of study.
- Human Communication
- Writing Across Disciplines
- College Algebra
- United States Government and Politics
- Integrated Life Science
- Fundamentals of Public Speaking
While general education classes will make up a significant portion of your undergraduate family and consumer sciences degree plan, most of your coursework will be comprised of classes in your major. These classes will vary by school, program, and concentration but could include course titles like the ones listed below:
- Introduction to Family Studies
- Individual & Family Development Across the Lifespan
- Family Resource Management
- Parenting and Child Guidance
- Essentials of Human Nutrition
- Foundations in Human Sciences
- Principles of Food Science
- Consumer Awareness
- Community Program Planning and Evaluation
About Master’s Degrees in Family and Consumer Sciences
After graduating from a bachelor’s degree program in family and consumer sciences, some students want to continue their studies in a master’s degree program. These graduate plans of study usually consist of 60 credit hours of coursework and require an additional two years of study beyond the bachelor’s degree. The major benefits of a master’s credential in family and consumer sciences include increased career opportunities, higher salaries, and more job satisfaction.
Types of Master’s in Family and Consumer Sciences
There are several different types of master’s-level credentials one can pursue in family and consumer sciences. Here are some examples:
- Master of Arts (MA) in Family and Consumer Sciences
- Master of Science (MS) in Family and Consumer Sciences
- Master of Science (MS) in Dietetics
- Master of Science (MS) in Couple and Family Therapy
Family and Consumer Sciences Master’s Degree Programs: Admissions
Getting into a master’s in family and consumer sciences degree program may be a bit more challenging than gaining admission to a bachelor’s degree program in the discipline. Still, this is a feat that’s certainly achievable so long as you have the necessary credentials. Admissions criteria will no doubt vary depending on the school you choose to attend, but typically, you’ll need a bachelor’s degree in family and consumer sciences or a related field as well as GRE scores. Other requirements may apply too, such as personal references and statements of purpose, for instance.
Master of Family and Consumer Sciences: Curriculum
The curriculum for a master’s degree in family and consumer sciences typically requires two years of study beyond the bachelor’s degree credential. Depending on the program, the student will be expected to complete anywhere between 30 and 40 credit hours of graduate coursework in the discipline. Unlike a bachelor’s degree in family and consumer sciences, these graduate programs in the field require no general education courses and instead focus only on the major area of study. If a specialization or concentration is elected, courses related to this focus area will also be required.
Core courses required for a master’s in family and consumer sciences credential will address advanced topics in child and human development, social and public policy, contemporary issues in the field, and more. Some sample titles taken from actual master’s degree offerings in family and consumer sciences are listed below for the sake of example. Your specific course titles may vary, though.
- Family Stress, Abuse, and Illness
- Cross-Cultural Perspectives About Families and Children
- Theories of Human Development
- Graduate Studies, Research & Ethics in Human Development and Family Sciences
- Current Issues in Family and Consumer Sciences
- Family and Consumer Public Policy
- Family Life Education
Master’s Level Specialization Courses
There are a variety of specializations available to family and consumer sciences master’s degree students. The specialization classes you are required to take will vary depending on the precise concentration you choose to pursue. Still, we’ve listed some sample master’s-level specialization course titles here to give you an indication of the breadth and scope of these classes:
- Attachment Theory and Practice
- Nutrition for Health Promotion
- Coping with Grief and Loss
- Maternal, Infant, and Child Nutrition
- Estate Planning for Families
- Families, Employment Benefits, and Retirement Planning
- Youth in Cultural Contexts
- Youth Professionals as Consumers of Research
Family and Consumer Sciences Master’s Thesis or Culminating Project
A distinguishing feature of master’s in family and consumer sciences programs is the thesis or culminating project. For thesis programs, students are required to write a lengthy scholarly research paper and present this paper to a panel of faculty members in a process commonly referred to as thesis defense. While some master of family and consumer sciences programs will require a thesis, others will give students the option to complete some other type of culminating project. Options will vary depending on specific program requirements but could include a research project, comprehensive exam, or internship experience.
About Doctoral Programs in Family and Consumer Sciences
Doctoral programs in family and consumer sciences aren’t as plentiful as other types of postsecondary degrees in the discipline, but they do exist. These advanced academic offerings represent the highest level of study one can achieve in the field and prepare graduates for top positions in education, research, and advocacy.
Types of Doctorates in Family and Consumer Sciences
There are various types of family and consumer sciences doctorates available. Below are some of the most popular options:
- Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Human Development and Social Policy
- Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Human Development and Family Sciences
- Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Family Science
- Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Maternal and Child Health
- Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Education and Human Development
Family and Consumer Sciences PhD Programs: Admissions
Each college or university will set its own individual admissions requirements for doctoral programs in family and consumer sciences. Even so, applicants can expect eligibility criteria to include a master’s degree in a related field as well as current GRE scores. Other requirements may include personal essays and statements, references, and writing samples, for instance.
Curriculum for Doctorates in Family and Consumer Sciences
Curricula for family and consumer sciences PhD programs tend to be heavily research-based. Students will learn the principles of scientific and scholarly research so that they can conduct their own studies and publish the results. Many programs of study at the doctoral level often allow a great deal of flexibility in terms of content as well as opportunities for independent study.
Popular Concentrations in Family and Consumer Sciences
Below, you will find a discussion of some of the most popular specializations for degrees in the broad field of family and consumer sciences:
Fashion Merchandising- Family and consumer sciences students who wish to work in the fashion industry should consider a concentration in fashion merchandising. This track will educate students on the marketing and retail side of the industry and include course titles like Introduction to the Fashion Business, Clothing and Human Behavior, and Fashion Promotion, for example.
Child Life Specialist- The child life specialist concentration within a family and consumer sciences degree program prepares graduates to work with sick or disabled children and their families. Courses required for this specialization may include Theory and Guidance of Play, Child Development, and Medical Terminology, for instance.
Financial Planning- A financial planning concentration prepares family and consumer science degree students to follow a specific career path towards becoming a certified financial planner. Coursework required for the concentration includes classes like Introduction to Personal Finance, Consumer Investments, and Ethics in Financial Planning, for example.
Consumer Affairs—Students enrolled in a family and consumer sciences degree program with a concentration in consumer affairs will explore how individuals and families interact within marketplaces. This specialization may prepare graduates to work in public affairs, marketing, or financial planning. The curriculum for such a concentration will include courses like Family and Individual Money Management, Principles of Microeconomics, and Consumer Behavior, for example.
Family and Consumer Sciences Education- A family and consumer sciences education specialization will prepare students to teach in the field. Many such programs include a licensing track, which certifies graduates to teach in public schools at the elementary and/or secondary school level. Concentration-specific courses may include Introduction to Philosophy of Education, Principles of Career and Technical Education, and Teaching Methods in Family and Consumer Sciences, for instance.
Frequently-Asked Questions About Family and Consumer Sciences Degrees and Programs
Q: How long does it take to earn a degree in family and consumer sciences?
A: Completion time for your degree will depend on a number of different factors, particularly the type of degree you choose to pursue. A bachelor’s degree in family and consumer sciences credential usually takes four years of full-time study to complete, for example, while a master’s program typically requires two additional years of study. Moreover, students who choose a part-time track will require more time to finish their degree requirements.
Q: Can I complete my family and consumer sciences degree online?
A: Yes. According to Niche, there are currently over 20 different schools in the United States offering postsecondary degrees in family and consumer sciences fully online.
Q: How much does a family/consumer sciences degree program cost?
A: Tuition expenses for a degree in family and consumer sciences can vary widely depending on the school you attend. According to Niche, it’s possible to find programs with net prices under $5,000, but these are limited. On the other end of the spectrum, there are those programs associated with expenses over $30,000.
Q: How do I choose the best degree program in family and consumer sciences?
A: There is no single best choice for a degree in family and consumer sciences. However, by considering certain programmatic features, it is possible to discover the ideal degree plan for you. Some things to consider include tuition, curriculum, accreditation, and format.
Career Questions for Degrees in Family and Consumer Sciences
Q: What can I do with a degree in family and consumer sciences?
A: Your job opportunities with a family/consumer sciences degree will depend on the exact type of credential you earn as well as any concentrations or specializations you elect. Some of these opportunities may include positions as teachers, financial planners, child life specialists, apparel designers, and nutritional consultants, for example.
Q: How much will I earn with a family and consumer sciences degree?
A: Your exact salary will depend on a number of different factors, including your degree level and terms of employment. PayScale reports that bachelor’s degree holders in the field of family and consumer sciences make nearly $60,000 a year on average.
Q: Should I join a professional organization in family and consumer sciences?
A: If you do choose to pursue a postsecondary degree in the field of family and consumer sciences, it may also be a good idea to join a professional organization in the industry. These organizations provide resources and advocacy for professionals working in the field.
Q: What professional organizations are there in family and consumer sciences?
A: There are numerous professional organizations and associations related to the field of family and consumer sciences. Some of these are listed below for your reference:
- American Association of Family and Consumer Sciences
- Family, Career, and Community Leaders of America
- National Extension Association of Family and Consumer Sciences
- International Federation of Home Economics
- National Council on Family Relations
- Council of Administrators of Family and Consumer Sciences
- Board on Human Sciences