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Degree Overview: Master of Science (M.S.) Degree in Human Ecology

Majors Overview April 26, 2015

Get information about Master of Science (M.S.) degree programs in Human Ecology and their educational requirements, coursework, career choices, job and wage outlook, and continuing education choices.

Master of Science (M.S.) Degree Programs in Human Ecology

A master’s program in human ecology is aimed at teaching students to help families and individuals improve in their lives when faced with changing physical, social, biological, economic, and technological conditions.

The tools of research, creative innovation, education, and outreach are used by students in exploring ways to resolve various problems faced by families, schools, and communities. Students enrolled in human ecology graduate programs focus on individual areas of interest, including family studies, consumer science, nutrition, and textiles and apparel design.

Students explore the operation, the definition, and the concept of family. They also study topic areas related to good household management as principles of smart consumerism, relationship studies, and financial issues. They study research methodology and data gathered and analyzed for original research. Students may be expected to complete a thesis. It takes one to two years to complete most programs.

Those who graduate from the program may pursue continuing education at the doctoral level or seek teaching jobs at the preschool or kindergarten level. They may also choose from potential career areas such as health science, marketing, and sales.

Educational Requirements

Admission criteria typically require incoming students to hold a bachelor’s degree in any discipline provided they complete courses in microeconomics, statistics, and calculus. They must also submit scores on the Graduate Record Examination, a resume with details of any applicable professional experience, transcripts of previously completed coursework, and letters of recommendation.


Study focused solely in human ecology is possible in a master’s degree program. Students are taught advanced and introductory concepts through a combination of topical lectures, coursework, and independent research. Core coursework may include topic areas such as the following:

•Parent–child relationships
•Advanced concepts of nutrition
•Research methods
•Household economics
•Fabrics and textiles
•Early childhood education concepts

Career Choices

With a master’s degree in human ecology, graduates may seek careers in the fields of dietetics, hospitality management, education, business, and human services, among other fields. They may opt for career options such as:

•Research assistant
•Marketing associate
•Fabric and textile salesperson
•Nutrition expert
•Kindergarten teacher
•Retail manager

Job and Wage Outlook

Over the 2012 – 2022 decade, job growth rate of twenty-one percent have been predicted for dietitians and nutritionists (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics). In May 2012, these professionals brought in an average annual wage of $55,240 (BLS).

Wholesale and manufacturing sales representatives in general are expected to see an average job growth of ten percent over the 2012 – 2022 decade. In May 2012, retail salespersons brought home an average annual wage of $21,410.

Sales managers are expected to witness job growth of eight percent between 2010 to 2020. In May 2012, the average annual wage of $36,820 was earned by first-line supervisors of retail workers.

Market research analysts are expected to enjoy a much-faster-than-average job growth of thirty-two percent from 2012 to 2022. In May 2012, marketing specialists and market research analysts as a group banked an average annual wage of $60,300.

Over the 2012 – 2022 decade, job growth rate of twelve percent have been predicted for kindergarten teachers, who earned an average annual wage of $53,090 as of May 2012.

Continuing Education Choices

Few schools, if any, offer a doctoral degree specifically in human ecology. Given the diverse range of subjects in the coursework of a master’s degree program, students who complete it may seek a doctoral degree in an array of areas, including health science, business, education, and psychology.

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