About Our Master of Science Degree in Child & Adolescent Behavioral Health

Please note that up to 12 credit hours can be taken prior to acceptance into the program. For information on taking classes as a non-degree seeking student, visit the USF website. Please contact the Program Director, Academic Services Administrator, or Concentration Director for more information on admissions and the application process.

2015 Courses

The Master of Science (MS) Degree in Child & Adolescent Behavioral Health (MSCABH) prepares professionals to serve in public and non-profit agencies and schools that work with diverse children and adolescents experiencing behavioral health challenges and their families. Surveys and interviews with potential employers have shown there is high demand for master’s degree level graduates to fill positions such as directors, supervisors, and case managers in mental health, substance abuse, juvenile justice, developmental disability, and child welfare agencies, as well as consultants in schools and early education and care programs. Educational opportunities include advancement to doctoral programs in public health and the behavioral and social sciences. Download general flyer.

The unique and distinctive curriculum of the MSCABH:


This interdisciplinary program includes core courses and electives addressing emerging national priorities, including:


Concentrations within the MSCABH are:

Thesis and Applied (Non-Thesis) Tracks

The MSCABH program offers both a thesis track and an applied (non-thesis) track that includes field experience and a project.

Thesis Track Requirements:
Students selecting the Thesis Track will complete 6 hours of thesis research. The thesis will consist of original research designed and conducted by the student under the supervision of a faculty advisor. The student will conduct the thesis research study once approved by the committee, then write the thesis document and defend the study before the committee.

Applied Track Requirements:
Students selecting the Applied Track will complete 6 credits of field placement and complete a related final paper. The student will assemble an Applied Track Committee that includes their faculty advisor and a second faculty member. This committee must approve the field placement site, the topic of study, and the final paper.

Related Programs in CFS

The MSCABH program is located within the Department of Child and Family Studies (CFS) in the College of Behavioral and Community Sciences (CBCS) at the University of South Florida (USF) Tampa campus.

Additional Information

Academic Services Administrator
Sandra Dwinell

Core MS Degree Competencies

Students will gain knowledge and practical experience in these areas:

Identify and understand research study design and treatment interventions for children and adolescents with behavioral health (CABH) problems.

Specify strategies for assessing the design and effectiveness in the evaluation of CABH programs.

Critically evaluate applied services research and specify a broad range of CABH literature to analyze CABH issues and problems.

Define the role of culture/language in CABH services delivery for diverse populations.

Describe the relationship between cultural competence and the reduction of racial/ethnic disparities.

Specify the social, political, cultural, economic, policy, and environmental contexts of CABH.

Identify and explain ethical and legal issues in the identification of CABH and the design and delivery of services for this population.

Describe the history, including legislative and judicial decisions, related to the CABH services delivery and policy.

Demonstrate an in-depth understanding of CABH advocacy including consumer and family participation in advocacy efforts.

Understand service system conditions and characteristics that impact the policy, planning, and delivery of CABH services.

Define the key elements and processes of CABH development and system change.

Demonstrate an understanding of the concepts of developmental assets, adaptive, coping and resilience, and their application in working with CABH and their families.

Recognize and describe the classifications of CABH problems.

Discriminate between evidence-based practices in CABH that fit specific organizational and community contexts and the role of community-defined evidence-based practices.

Apply principles and skills related to strengths-based and family-driven care in addressing CABH challenges.

Identify and understand the application of promotion, prevention, and intervention practices, and the associated policies.

Child & Family Studies