Family and Community Health

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Why Study Family and Community Health at MSU?

The Family and Community Health program offers a skills-based graduate degree that integrates theory and critical thinking to assess and act on the needs of individuals, families, and communities. Students learn to plan, implement, and evaluate programming designed to promote health, human development, and well-being with families and communities.

As a student, you will:

  • Design a course of study with your faculty mentor that is aligned with your interests and goals. Students often combine required coursework with courses from other areas of campus including the College of Nursing, Department of Education, Department of Native American Studies, Department of Psychology, and Department of Political Science.
  • Gain hands-on research experience working directly with faculty in projects that utilize innovative approaches such as community-based participatory research and emerging qualitative and quantitative methods.
  • Work closely and receive directed mentoring with recognized faculty in family and community health. We purposively keep our program small so that each student develops a close professional relationship with his or her faculty mentor.
  • Develop skills and techniques necessary for conducting health research with individuals, families, and communities as well as learning program planning and evaluation, grant writing, and policy analysis.
  • Expand your skills in working in partnership with rural or Native American communities developing, implementing, and evaluating targeted and appropriate health interventions for unique health challenges.
  • Prepare for the future pursuit of a doctoral degree in a family and community health-related field.

All in a beautiful environment.

The program provides students with the skills and training necessary to assume leadership positions in the following settings:

  • Nonprofit organizations
  • Education
  • Federal, state, and local government
  • Health insurance agencies
  • Cooperative Extension
  • Governmental public health agencies at the local, state, and national levels
  • Nonprofit organizations
  • Domestic and international voluntary organizations
  • Health maintenance organizations
  • Corporate wellness programs
  • Foundations
  • Schools
  • Other health and human services organizations
  • Academia

There is no better place to study health than in Bozeman -- a thriving mountain town, with limitless opportunity for outdoor activities, cultural activities, and a work hard-play hard mindset. In addition to providing access to an extraordinary ecosystem for teaching and research programs, Bozeman is renowned for year-round recreational and cultural opportunities including access to world-class ski areas, multiple blue ribbon trout streams and the Gallatin National Forest. The Bozeman-Yellowstone International Airport is served by several major airlines and is the busiest airport in the state.

MSU is located in Bozeman, Montana, an extended community of about 70,000 nestled in the Rocky Mountains in Southwest Montana. Named an All-American City, Bozeman boasts high-quality medical facilities, a very low crime rate, many fine restaurants, acclaimed public and private schools, a symphony orchestra and choir, an annual opera, and nationally known events such as the Sweet Pea Festival of the Arts held in early August of each year. Bozeman is listed as one of National Geographic’s “World’s 25 Best Ski Towns.” ranked Bozeman #2 on the list of American Dreamtowns – small towns that offer the best quality of life without metropolitan hassles. The K-12 educational system,  reputation of Montana State University, and pristine natural environment of the area combine to make Bozeman one of America’s most desirable university towns. Bozeman is located in the beautiful Gallatin Valley, 90 miles north of Yellowstone National Park.

The Department of Health and Human Development has 25-30 tenure-track faculty members and 50 incoming graduate students per year. Thus, MSU is the perfect place for students who prefer a more intimate learning environment with frequent interaction between the students and the faculty.


Admissions decisions are based on:

  1. Undergraduate preparation (GPA and strength of prerequisite course work)
  2. GRE equal to or greater than 300 for both verbal and quantitative preferred
  3. Goodness of fit and how consistent interests and goals of student align with research and outreach goals of faculty (to be addressed in personal essay)
  4. Relevant professional experience
  5. Strength of letters of recommendation


Prerequisites include an undergraduate degree in family science, community health, health promotion, or related social science degree and/or course work that typically includes introductory psychology and sociology, anatomy and physiology, statistics, and lifespan human development.