YFCS Online Master’s Degree Program FAQs

What kinds of coach training programs are available?

NC State’s Department of Youth, Family, and Community Sciences offers 4 coach training options:

  • Master’s Degree:
    • Master’s of Science in Family Life and Youth Development (M.S.)
    • Master’s of Family Life and Youth Development (M.R.)
  • Graduate Certificate:
    • Certificate in Family Life Education and Coaching
  • Graduate courses taken as a Non-Degree Student
  • Professional Development Course

What is a family coach?

A family coach is a professional that has training in coaching and family science that helps families make positive changes and achieve familial goals. A coach is not an educator or a therapist or counselor, although many family coaches have training in these areas. Family Coaches work with families to help them reach future goals through a variety of coaching skills. Coaches typically do not spend much time on past experiences or mental issues.

What does a familly coach do?

A family coach will support families by helping them identify goals and then work with families to design a plan to reach those goals. A family coach will help parents and families better understand how thoughts and behaviors impact actions.

What are Graduate Certificate Programs?

A Graduate Certificate Program (GCP) is a prescribed set of graduate-level academic courses, designed by an academic department or program, and taken for credit by current or future professionals of a given field. Graduate Certificates offered by the Department of Youth, Family, and Community Sciences are designed to prepare and strengthen students in the areas of family life education, family life coaching, leadership and administration, volunteer management, and youth development.

How does family coaching work?

A family coach will begin by helping a client identify goals and strengths. Then she will talk with clients on a regular basis to help them make needed changes. Coaches are facilitators; they help facilitate changes identified by the client. Family coaches will likely ask lots of questions, and the client directs the process as they are the experts in their lives.

What kind of issues do family coaches address?

Family Coaches have specialized training in family sciences, so they best understand how to help families. Many family coaches specialize in one or more areas of family life. For example, some people see a family coach that specializes in ADHD issues, parenting, or relationships. However, most family coaches can help with a range of family issues including:

  • Parenting
  • Special Needs
  • Relationship
  • LGBT Family Issues

What’s the difference between NC State’s Youth, Family, and Community Sciences (YFCS) graduate certificates and the NC State’s Youth, Family, and Community Sciences (YFCS) master’s degree?

The master’s degree (either non-thesis or thesis option) requires 30 or 36 credit hours of coursework, whereas our graduate certificates only require 12 credit hours of coursework. Courses required for the certificates can be applied to our master’s degree program.

How much does it cost to apply to a YFCS graduate certificate program?

There is a $25 application fee to apply to the graduate certificate programs. More information about the application process for a graduate certificate program, see the Apply tab on this site.

How much is tuition? Can I get a refund if I decide to stop?

Here is a link to our tuition rates and refund policies.

How much of the coursework is offered by distance education?

Fully 100% of the coursework required for YFCS graduate certificate programs uses a distance education format. Some courses require students to attend synchronous online meetings (4-5 per semester). Expectations for synchronous class participation requirements are included in course syllabi.

I already have a master’s degree. Is a graduate certificate program for me?

Absolutely! If you already have a master’s degree, then you are eligible for admission. Many professionals earn graduate certificates as a way to enhance their professional skill sets, fulfill continuing education requirements, to stay current in their field, or to gain exposure in a new area.

I am really worried about taking the GRE! Any help?

Please don’t let the GRE test intimate you. We use a portfolio application, which means we look at all four aspects of your application to find evidence that you can be successful. If you can convince us that our program is right for you and that you can be successful, your chances of being accepted are much improved.

What are your minimum scores for admission?

We do not have a minimum GRE score. Our minimum required GPA is 3.0.

Is there any way around the minimum scores?

With a strong application, we theoretically could accept a student with a GPA lower than 3.0, but we’d need additional documentation that shows how the student can be successful. If there is something of concern on your application, such as a low GPA or GRE score, you can explain that in your personal statement.

What is the academic program like?

Our program is online, and most classes have both synchronous and asynchronous meetings. All of our classes have an online course room where you turn in assignments, find readings, watch videos, etc. all asynchronously. We also have a web conferencing technology called Blackboard Collaborate that allows students to long on in real time to have discussions and attend course lectures with the instructors.

How much of the coursework is offered by distance education?

All of the coursework required for YFCS graduate certificate programs uses a distance education format. Some courses require students to attend synchronous meetings (about 5 per semester). Synchronous class participation requirements are included in course syllabi.

Can I live anywhere and be a student at NC State?

Yes. Because we are fully online, we’ve had students from all over the world!

I work full time. Will this program work for me?

Our program is designed for working professionals, so all synchronous courses are offered in the evening and most are a blend of synchronous and asynchronous learning, which allows for a great deal of flexibility.

Is there a chance to be on campus?

Yes! Students are welcome to present their thesis and capstone experiences, and we also have departmental get-togethers and open houses on occasion. Finally, we have a beautiful graduation ceremony at the Hunt Library each spring and fall, with great speakers, amazing students, and ice cream for the whole family. It is truly an amazing day to celebrate with professors and classmates.

Can I take a course to try out the program before I apply?

Yes. You can take up to 4 courses, or 12 credit hours, as a non-degree student (NDS). Some students have taken a course as an NDS to provide evidence that they can be successful, which helps their chances of being accepted if they have low test or GPA scores.

What kind of jobs do graduates have?

They are leaders of youth, family, and community programs! Most graduates work for non-profit organizations. Many serve as family life coaches or educators, extension agents, or research assistants. To learn more about the careers that our programs will help prepare you for, visit our Careers page.

How much does it cost to apply to a YFCS graduate certificate program?

There is a $25 application fee to apply to the graduate certificate programs.

How much does it cost to take classes?

Costs will vary depending on the number of hours you take. For the most up-to-date Distance Education tuition rates, please visit the Cashier’s Office website.

How do I pay for graduate school?

Many students have questions about finances. We do not have outside funding or assistantships for students at this time, but full-time students are eligible for financial aid. Please check with the NC State financial aid office for more information.

Is financial aid available for certificate programs?

Because certificate programs are not degree programs, certificate students are not eligible for financial assistance or financial aid. If you need financial assistance, contact NC State’s Financial Aid Department. Staff can inform you of your options and provide names of reputable educational loan programs. They are also available to help students decipher the terms of loans.

How do I apply to the YFCS graduate certificate programs?

Visit the NC State Distance Education website for an overview of how to apply and enroll in a distance program, or apply now using the NC State Graduate Degrees and Certificate Online Application.

Do you offer a payment plan for tuition?

A monthly payment plan is offered and can be spread across Fall or Spring semester only. Visit the Cashier’s Office & Student Accounts website to review payment plan FAQs.

Can I work for a professor?

Some professors do have grants to hire students. If you are looking for part-time work, it is worth checking in with YFCS professors to see if they have grant-funded student positions available.

What is the difference between a Master’s of Science (MS) and a Master’s degree (non-thesis)?

The Master’s of Science in Family Life and Youth Development (MS) degree requires a student to conduct a research project and write a thesis, whereas the Master’s in Family Life and Youth Development (MR) requires an internship as the capstone experience. The thesis option includes an extra research course while our Master’s Degree requires an internship where students work in their communities to help meet a community need.

Learn more about our online Master’s Degree Programs.

How long does it take to complete the Master’s Degree?

While we’ve had students complete the program in as little as one year, most full-time students complete the program in 1.5 years and most part-time students complete it in 3 years.

Can I apply courses from the graduate certificate program to the online Masters?

Contact us to find out more about transferring between our online programs.

How do I apply to an online Master’s degree program?

You can apply at any time. To apply, you need to submit:

  1. Formal transcripts
  2. Three reference letters, with as many as possible coming from academic sources
  3. GRE scores
  4. A personal statement that speaks to your interest in the academic program, explaining how this academic program can help you meet your personal goals, or why you want to work with certain professors, or something along those lines

Visit our Apply page for specific details on how to get started.

Can I still apply even if my undergraduate degree is in an unrelated field?

Yes, you can apply to a YFCS graduate certificate program even if your undergraduate degree is in another field. The only requirements concerning previous degrees are the following:

  1. You must be a graduate of an accredited four-year college or university.
  2. Your cumulative undergraduate GPA was at least 3.0.

What is required in my Personal Statement?

Before you submit your application, please prepare a 1-page (minimum) personal statement in which you address your reasons for pursuing your chosen graduate certificate. Also include related qualifications, work or personal experiences, academic credentials, etc.

What is the deadline for submitting applications?

There are no deadlines for submitting applications for admittance to YFCS graduate certificate programs. You can submit your application at anytime. Applications received after the beginning of a semester will be eligible for enrollment the following semester.

Do I have to be accepted before I can start taking classes?

NC State allows students to take up to 9 credit hours of coursework without being accepted to a program (degree or non-degree). Non-Degree Studies (NDS) / Post-Baccalaureate Studies (PBS) students must complete an online application before becoming eligible to register for courses by following the steps outlined here.

How long before I hear whether or not I’m accepted?

Applications are typically reviewed on a monthly basis. Please allow 3-4 weeks to receive notification of an admission decision via email. Applications are processed faster when application fees are paid online using a credit card. Payments made by check can take 1-3 months for processing.

I am a current NC State graduate student in another department. Can I earn a certificate in your program?

Yes! We have NC State graduate students in various departments across campus earn a graduate certificate in Youth, Family, and Community Sciences as part of their program of study. If you are a student in good standing in an NC State graduate program, you are eligible to apply. Current NC State graduate students should contact Dr. Huff directly if interested in applying.

Can I apply to a YFCS graduate certificate program after I’ve taken a course or several courses?

Yes, you can apply to any YFCS graduate certificate program after taking a course or several courses. We encourage students to do so.

Can taking classes in a YFCS graduate certificate program help me get accepted in to the YFCS master’s degree program?

While successful graduate certificate coursework will not guarantee acceptance to the YFCS Master’s Degree program, it will be considered as part of your total application package.

What if I change my mind and decide I want to get a master’s degree?

You can apply to the YFCS master’s degree program at anytime. Applications are reviewed each fall (October 1st) and spring (March 1st). YFCS certificate courses will transfer into our master’s programs. Visit our department website for more information about admission and application requirements.

What graduate certificate options are available in Family Life and Youth Development (YFCS)?

Currently there are three YFCS graduate certificates:

  • Family Life Education and Coaching
  • Leadership and Volunteer Management
  • Youth Development and Leadership

What is the difference between the Family Life & Youth Development (YFCS) graduate certificates and the Family Life & Youth Development (YFCS) master’s degree?

The master’s degree (non-thesis and thesis options) requires approximately 30 or 36 credit hours of coursework and may include a thesis, whereas our graduate certificates only require 12 credit hours of coursework. Courses required for graduate certificates can be applied to our master’s degree program.

Can I start courses any time?

Our online courses follow the University’s academic calendar.

Do I need to be online at a specific time?

Most of our courses do have class meetings scheduled at a specific time. Some courses may have weekly meetings and some may meet synchronously only several times per semester. Your professor will provide the scheduled meeting dates and times prior to your enrollment and will indicate whether attending the live sessions is a required component of that course. Live sessions are always recorded and in some cases, you have the option to review recordings or attend the live session. If you have concerns about being able to attend scheduled class meetings, you must contact the professor in advance to make alternate arrangements.

You can access NC State’s Moodle course sites whenever it is convenient and from any place with Internet access. Many of our students work full time, travel, or have family obligations, and find that distance learning offers the flexibility they need. Students find that they do need to manage their time effectively in order to meet the course requirements specified in the course syllabus.

How do I register for classes?

You will need to log into MyPack Portal to access Enrollment. You can add a class by going to Navigation: Student Self Service > Enrollment > Enrollment Dates. The Enrollment Date is the day you can begin registration.  Non-Degree Studies students are not required to meet with an advisor.  It is recommended that you speak with the department for the course you are seeking to enroll for information. NDS students will start enrollment during NDS Open Enrollment.

Enrollment Dates are assigned shortly before the Registration period begins. Visit NC State University’s Registration and Records website for additional information regarding enrollment period.

How do I find out about important dates like when to register and when classes begin and end?

The Registration and Records office maintains the official calendars for NC State University; visit their website for more information.

How do I find additional important dates in the academic calendar?

The office of Registration and Records maintains the official NC State Academic Calendar, which can be viewed online.

How do I know when a specific course will be offered again?

Visit the Online Courses tab of the YFCS website for prospective students.

How do I know what classes are offered for next semester?

How do I access the classroom?

Our online courses use NC State’s Moodle learning management system, the application that enables you to communicate with the class, access course content, collaborate with other students, submit assignments, and review grading feedback.  You may access your classroom and Moodle by logging into WolfWare using your NCSU ID and password.  WolfWare allows you to view all courses for which you are enrolled.  Go to WolfWare Info to learn about using Wolfware.

What is Moodle?

Moodle is a learning management system platform used by NC State to host distance education courses, to store course material and to communicate with instructors, teaching assistants, and colleagues.

What is MyPack Portal?

MyPackPortal is an online student self-service application.  Students may update their personal or academic information through this system, which includes updating contact information and registering for classes.

How is BlackBoard Collaborate used in the classroom?

BlackBoard Collaborate is a web conferencing application that is available at no charge to all students. Collaborate sessions provide the ability for students to effectively communicate in real time for instructor-led class meetings, and can also be scheduled by students as a meeting space to collaborate on team projects.

What if I can’t attend a synchronous meeting?

Students who are not able to attend required synchronous meetings should discuss their situation with the instructor(s) and make arrangements to complete all required coursework.

How can I get help if I am having trouble in a course?

Each faculty member in charge of a course will provide specifics about online office hours or other ways for you to get help. It is also possible to schedule one-on-one telephone calls with faculty to address your needs.

If I have specific questions not answered in this FAQ or anywhere on the YFCS website for prospective students, who may I contact for additional information?

Please contact Dr. Nicole Huff:

Dr. Nichole Huff, Ph.D., CFLE
Director of YFCS Graduate Certificate Programs
Assistant Professor and Extension Specialist
Department of Youth, Family, and Community Sciences