Graduate Areas of Study

Why Should I Study Human Environmental Studies at Southeast?

The Master of Arts in Human Environmental Studies offers students a solid foundation in research methods, philosophy and theory of the field, plus the flexibility to select elective courses that meet the student's academic interests. This degree is designed for returning secondary education teachers who wish to improve their skills in teaching and curriculum development, as well as for returning professionals in child care, dietetics, family studies, fashion merchandising, and interior design. The program also prepares professionals for research and advanced study in Human Environmental Studies subject matter areas.

Admissions Policies/Requirements

Individuals admitted to the Master of Arts program must have at least 18 hours of courses in Human Environmental Studies or closely related disciplines. For more information, please consult the Graduate Bulletin.

Advising Procedures/Iinformation

All admitted students are assigned to a graduate advisor in their subject area of interest. Contact the Department of Human Environmental Studies office for information about your advisor.

Career Opportunities

Human Environmental Studies professionals in education, human service agencies, and businesses are frequently given the opportunity to advance to supervisory positions within the organization. The Master of Arts program provides the opportunity for them to study current issues in the field and to prepare for management assignments.

Graduate Assistantship Opportunities

Teaching assistantships are available in Interior Design, Dietetics, and Family Studies, as well as in the Center for Child Studies and University Child Enrichment Center. Application forms are available from the Department of Human Environmental Studies office (Scully 114). Contact the Human Environmental Studies Department office for information about GA positions.

Capstone Requirements

Thesis (both quantitative and qualitative formats) and non-thesis paper options are available. The creative thesis option is available for interior design students only.


The Department of Human Environmental Studies office, the Center for Child Studies, and department classrooms are located on the first floor of Scully Hall. The University Child Enrichment Center is located at 1912 Broadway in Cape Girardeau.

Research Opportunities

There are multiple opportunities for students to complete research with department faculty.

Graduate Programs

The Department of Human Environmental Studies offers three different graduate programs:

  • Master of Arts Degree (MA) in Human Environmental Studies with a specialization in one of the following:

Child Development
Family and Consumer Sciences Education
Family Studies
Fashion and Consumer Studies
Interior Design

Graduate Assistantships

The Department generally supports 7 to 9 assistantships. Applications for assistantships can be located in the main office at 114 Scully. Generally applications are received and reviewed from March through May. The appointments are for two years and pay a small stipend plus all tuition costs. The assistantships are for the fall and spring semesters only and do not include holidays or university breaks. Tuition costs cover 6 to 9 hours for fall and spring semesters and up to 6 hours for summer sessions. Questions regarding assistantships should be directed to the Department Chair. Assistantships are in the form of teaching assistantships and non teaching assistantships.

Criteria for graduate assistantships are as follows:

  • Accepted into Graduate School and into the HES Department Graduate Program.
  • Submit a Graduate Assistantship Application.
  • Cumulative undergraduate GPA of 3.30 (minimum), or previous master's degree or completion of 9 hours graduate coursework with 3.5 minimum.
  • BS Degree in one of the academic options in HES; or a very closely related. field; or extensive experience as a professional in a closely related field.
  • Excellent communication skills.
  • Must teach two courses each semester or provide twenty hours of professional service or some combination of the two.
  • In order to retain the assistantship, positive student evaluations and/or supervisor evaluations must be documented along with the minimum grade point average (see Graduate Bulletin).


  • Graduate School Criteria
    • Must hold a baccalaureate degree from a regionally accredited college or university.
    • Undergraduate grade point average minimum of 2.5.
    • Must meet departmental admissions criteria (see below).
  • HES Department Criteria for MA in Human Environmental Studies
    • A letter of application addressed to HES Graduate Committee and includes the following (two-page maximum):
      • Applicant's personal/career objectives.
      • Area you wish to specialize in at the master's level and why.
      • Summary of past employment, volunteer experience, or life experiences that would enhance your knowledge and understanding in the professional field.
      • Summary of undergraduate courses, practicums, independent studies or internships that are related to Human Environmental Studies.
      • Challenges you may face as you pursue graduate studies.
    • A minimum of 2.75 grade point average (GPA) for undergraduate course work. (Exceptions to the 2.75 GPA may be considered under special or extenuating circumstances. The Departmental Graduate Committee and the Department Chair will make the determination.)
    • This exam will be used to determine the potential of the student for graduate studies. The exam is administered by Testing Services and has a required fee. Under special or extenuating circumstances this requirement may be waived.
    • Provide sufficient evidence of acceptable writing skills. The Departmental application format will give the applicant an opportunity to display writing skills.

Related Links

Online Application
Graduate Bulletin
School of Graduate Studies
International Students

Contact Us

Dr. Shelba Branscum

Department of Human Environmental Studies
Southeast Missouri State University
One University Plaza, MS 5750
Cape Girardeau, MO 63701

Phone: (573) 651-2729
Fax: (573) 651-2949


Scully Building 114
Human Environmental Studies
One University Plaza, MS 5750
Cape Girardeau, Missouri 63701