grad-humanecology

Human ecology is the study of the complex relationships between human beings and their environments. The school offers the Human Ecology M.S. through four distinct options, two of which can be taken as terminal master's degrees and two of which are only earned on the way to the Ph.D.:

Admitting Human Ecology M.S. options:

Non-admitting Human Ecology M.S. options (earned on the way to the Ph.D.)

Master of Science in Human Ecology (No Named Option)

The Master of Science in Human Ecology offers multi-disciplinary course work that focuses on current theories and strategies for creating, managing and evaluating settings that promote human and community development. Students are exposed to current research and practice that integrates: (a) the promotion of human and family development with (b) perspectives on building effective organizations and sustainable communities. Students create their own “master's specialization” through elective courses and the completion of a real-world capstone project. Specializations are designed so that students can name their expertise to prospective employees.

This program is intended as a terminal, applied degree. Students interested in a PhD, MFA or other graduate degrees in the School of Human Ecology may apply separately to these programs.

The master's program is geared toward students who are both new to the field and those who have had some direct practice, applied research, educational or advocacy experience. This 33-credit M.S. degree can be completed in three semesters of full-time study or four or more semesters if students are part-time. The program prepares students for careers working in a wide range of settings including:

  • Community-based organizations (family support, youth work, community organizing, social justice, intervention and prevention programs, consumer and financial coaching)
  • Intermediary and “backbone” organizations (technical assistance providers, philanthropic foundations, applied research and evaluation organizations, capacity building providers, community-based economic development)
  • Government agencies (child and family services, public health, legislative support)
  • University outreach (Cooperative Extension, community partnerships and coalitions, public service, multicultural offices, academic support and education)

School of Human Ecology

The School of Human Ecology has a strong tradition of outreach and counts several faculty members with budgeted extension appointments among its ranks. But all faculty members devote time and resources to ensuring their work benefits others beyond the campus. These efforts reflect the Wisconsin Idea, the notion that the university’s boundaries are those of the state, nation, and beyond. Graduate education at SoHE encompasses this mission by stressing the integration of research with program design and implementation, administration, policy development, and evaluation.

Applicants must apply online and pay the required application fee to the Graduate School. Applicants must meet all Graduate School requirements including a bachelor's degree from an accredited institution and an undergraduate GPA of 3.0 or higher (on a 4.0 scale). Each of the program areas listed below may set additional or alternative minimum requirements and/or require additional application materials. Applications are accepted once per year for Fall admission and are due by December 1st of the preceding year.

Students may apply directly to the M.S. in Human Ecology (no named option) or the M.S. in Human Ecology with a named option in Design Studies. They may not apply directly to the named options in Consumer Behavior and Family Economics or Human Development and Family Studies; these master's degrees may be earned along the way to a Ph.D. in a named option of the same name.

Please see each program option below for additional admission requirements.

Consumer behavior and Family economics (CBFE)

Beginning fall 2017, the Consumer Behavior and Family Economics M.S. option is no longer offered as a terminal degree option to which students can apply. This degree is earned along the way to the Consumer Behavior and Family Economics Ph.D. option in Human Ecology. Students interested in pursuing a terminal master of science degree specializing in Consumer Behavior and Family Economics should apply directly to the Master of Science in Human Ecology (no named option).

Additional information is available here.

Design studies (DS)

To be considered for admission to the Design Studies (DS) M.S. option in Human Ecology, the department requires the following materials:

  • Online application indicating “Human Ecology M.S.–Design Studies” as your program selection
  • $75 application fee
  • CV/Resume
  • Unofficial transcripts or academic records from each institution attended (official transcripts will be required for students who receive an admission offer)
  • Official TOEFL or Melab score (International students only)
  • Three letters of recommendation (submitted electronically through your Graduate School application)
  • Uploaded Statement of Purpose/Reasons for Graduate Study
  • Upload a writing sample
    • Examples of writing samples include prior scholarly work such as term papers, theses, or published articles. All writing samples must be written in English and uploaded to the online application system as a PDF.

Additional information is available here.

human development and family studies (HDFS)

Beginning Fall 2017, the Human Development and Family Studies M.S. option is no longer offered as a terminal degree option to which students can apply. This degree is earned along the way to the Human Development and Family Studies Ph.D. option in Human Ecology. Students interested in pursuing a terminal master of science degree specializing in Human Development and Family Studies should apply directly to the Master of Science in Human Ecology (no named option).

Additional information is available here.

master of science in human ecology (no named option)

To be considered for admission to the Master of Science in Human Ecology (with no named option), the department requires the following materials:

  • Online application indicating “Human Ecology MS” as your program selection
  • $75 application fee
  • CV/Resume
  • Unofficial transcripts or academic records from each institution attended (official transcripts will be required for students who receive an admission offer)
  • Official TOEFL or Melab scores (International students only)
  • Three letters of recommendation (Submitted electronically through your Graduate School application)
  • Upload your Reasons for Graduate Study/Statement of Purpose. In your statement, please address:
    • Your reasons for studying or seeking a Master of Science in Human Ecology degree
    • Your relevant current or past work and volunteer experience
    • Your professional goals and plans after completing this program

Optional: Upload any other supporting documents that you believe enhance your application (e.g., honors, awards, GRE scores, writing sample, etc.)

Additional information is available here.

Graduate School:

Graduate School Admissions

Graduate admissions is a two-step process between academic degree programs and the Graduate School. Applicants must meet requirements of both the program(s) and the Graduate School. Once you have researched the graduate program(s) you are interested in, apply online.  

Graduate School Resources

Resources to help you afford graduate study might include assistantships, fellowships, traineeships, and financial aid. Further funding information is available from the Graduate School. Be sure to check with your program for individual policies and processes related to funding.

Program Resources

Funding opportunities for Human Ecology graduate students are available and made possible, in large part, by generous donations to SoHE. Every year, these funds are used to fund teaching or project assistantships, award academic excellence scholarships, and provide students doing their masters or doctoral research or final MFA project with conference travel scholarships and graduate research scholarships. See the School of Human Ecology Enrollment Policy on Funding Eligibility and view current funding opportunities on our program website for more information.

Minimum Graduate School Requirements

Review the Graduate School minimum academic progress and degree requirements, in addition to the program requirements listed below.

Major Requirements

MODE OF INSTRUCTION

Face to Face Evening/Weekend Online Hybrid Accelerated
Yes No No No No

Mode of Instruction Definitions

CURRICULAR REQUIREMENTS

Minimum Credit Requirement 30 credits
Minimum Residence Credit Requirement 16 credits
Minimum Graduate Coursework Requirement Half of degree coursework (15 credits out of 30 total credits) must be completed graduate-level coursework; courses with the Graduate Level Coursework attribute are identified and searchable in the university's Course Guide (https://registrar.wisc.edu/course-guide/).
Overall Graduate GPA Requirement 3.00 GPA required.
Other Grade Requirements The Graduate School requires an average grade of B or better in all coursework (300 or above, not including research credits) taken as a graduate student unless conditions for probationary status require higher grades. Grades of Incomplete are considered to be unsatisfactory if they are not removed during the next enrolled semester.
Assessments and Examinations Contact the program for information on required assessments and examinations.
Language Requirements Contact the program for information on any language requirements.

Required COURSES 

Understanding and Translating Research3
Content and Theory9
Area of Specialiation9
Professional Skills9
Capstone Project3
Total Credits33

Contact the program for information on any additional required courses. 

Named Options (Sub-Majors)

A named option is a formally documented sub-major within an academic major program. Named options appear on the transcript with degree conferral. 

Graduate School Policies

The Graduate School’s Academic Policies and Procedures provide essential information regarding general university policies. Program authority to set degree policies beyond the minimum required by the Graduate School lies with the degree program faculty. Policies set by the academic degree program can be found below.

Major-Specific Policies

Graduate Program Handbook

A Graduate Program Handbook containing all of the program's policies and requirements is forthcoming from the program.

Prior Coursework

Graduate Work from Other Institutions

With program approval, students are allowed to count up to 9 credits of graduate coursework taken at other institutions or taken as a UW–Madison Special student. Prior coursework taken at other institutions may not be used to satisfy the minimum graduate residence credit requirement. Credits earned five or more years prior to admission to a master’s degree are not allowed to satisfy requirements.

UW–Madison Undergraduate

With program approval, up to 7 credits numbered 300 or above from a UW–Madison undergraduate degree are allowed to count toward degree credit; undergraduate courses must be numbered 700 or above to count toward the minimum graduate coursework requirement. No undergraduate coursework may count toward the graduate residence requirement.

UW–Madison University Special

With program approval, students are allowed to count up to 9 credits of graduate coursework taken at other institutions or taken as a UW–Madison Special student. coursework must be numbered 300 or above for residence and degree credit requirement and 700 or above for minimum graduate coursework (50%) requirement. Credits earned five or more years prior to admission to a master’s degree are not allowed to satisfy requirements. Use of Special student credit may require payment of tuition difference.

Probation

The Graduate School regularly reviews the record of any student who earned grades of BC, C, D, F, or Incomplete in a graduate course (300 or above), or grade of U in research credits. This review could result in academic probation with a hold on future enrollment or in being suspended from the Graduate School

ADVISOR / COMMITTEE

Every graduate student is required to have an advisor. To ensure that students are making satisfactory progress toward a degree, the Graduate School expects them to meet with their advisor on a regular basis.

An advisor generally serves as the thesis advisor. In many cases, an advisor is assigned to incoming students. Students can be suspended from the Graduate School if they do not have an advisor. An advisor is a faculty member, or sometimes a committee, from the major department responsible for providing advice regarding graduate studies.

A committee often accomplishes advising for the students in the early stages of their studies.

CREDITS PER TERM ALLOWED

12 credits

Time Constraints

Master’s degree students who have been absent for five or more consecutive years lose all credits that they have earned before their absence. Individual programs may count the coursework students completed prior to their absence for meeting program requirements; that coursework may not count toward Graduate School credit requirements.

Other

Additional school-wide policies are available here.

Graduate School Resources

Take advantage of the Graduate School's professional development resources to build skills, thrive academically, and launch your career. 

Program Resources

The School of Human Ecology Graduate Program values the professional development of graduate students and provides financial awards to those who are invited to present at professional conferences/exhibits. The purpose of the support is to encourage participation in professional development, scholarly research, and/or creative endeavor and to help cover expenses not covered by other sources. Students may receive a maximum award of $650 for travel ($750 for international travel) to support conference participation in a single academic year. 

In addition, each academic department within the School of Human Ecology may offer additional professional development grant opportunities. See the program Events Calendar for the most up-to-date information on professional development opportunities. 

1. Articulate, critique, or elaborate the theories, research methods, and approaches to inquiry or schools of practice in one's area of study.

2. Identify sources and assemble evidence pertaining to questions or challenges in the area of study.

3. Understand the social, political, ethical, and economic contexts of research and creative scholarship.

4. Compare and contrast multiple paradigms for describing reality (e.g., personal history, world view, philosophic tradition, discipline).

5. Understand the Human Ecology perspective by examining and explaining the relations among humans and their natural, social, and build environments using an interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary lens.

6. Select and/or utilize the most appropriate methodologies and practices.

7. Recognize the nature and significance of diversity as related to one's area of study.

8. Communicate clearly in ways appropriate to a variety of audiences.

9. Recognize and apply principles of ethical conduct.

Faculty:

Civil Society and Community Studies 

Professors: Cynthia Jasper (chair), Constance Flanagan

Associate Professors: Lori Bakken, Brian Christens

Assistant Professors: Kendra Alexander, Jennifer Gaddis, Leah Horowitz, Carolina Sarmiento, Shannon Sparks

Consumer science (consumer behavior & family economics)

Professors: Nancy Wong (chair), Judith Bartfeld

Associate Professors: J. Michael Collins, Clifford Robb

Assistant Professors:  Feneba Addo, Lydia Ashton, Dee Warmath

Design Studies

Professors: Roberto Rengel (chair), Jennifer Angus, Wei Dong, Majid Sarmadi, Mark Nelson

Associate Professors: Mary Hark, Carolyn Kallenborn, Jung-hye Shin

Assistant Professors:  Marianne Fairbanks, Marina Moskowitz, Kevin Ponto, Kristin Thorleifsdottir

Human Development and Family Studies

Professors: Janean Dilworth-Bart (chair), Charles Raison, Julie Poehlmann-Tynan, Linda Roberts, Stephen Small

Associate Professors: Larissa Duncan, Sarah Halpern-Meekin, Sigan Hartley, Heather Kirkorian, Robert Nix, Lauren Papp

Assistant Professors: Kristin Litzelman, Margaret Kerr