Family Science Major

Academic Advisor: Kendyl Oliver

The Department of Family Science promotes the physical, mental, and social well-being of all families in order to eliminate the burden of disease and health disparities, and to foster resilience and social justice.  As one of the only Family Science departments in a school of public health in the US, the undergraduate program is uniquely positioned to train students in the study of family health.  Faculty bring the synergies of multiple disciplines, including family science, couple and family therapy, human development, maternal and child health, psychology, epidemiology, and economics, to enhance family health and well-being.

The curriculum focuses on individual and family development over the life course, examining social, cultural, economic, and historical trends that affect family functioning, and their physical and mental health. Students learn to describe, explain, and improve the quality of family life through education, applied research, legal and policy analysis, and human services program management. The major offers excellent training in scientific methods, including data analyses, application, and communication. Required coursework examines challenges to family health, diverse families, mental health and trauma, global health, child/family development, maternal and child health, sexual and reproductive health, social inequality and health disparities, sexual and gender diversity, family law and economics, work and family issues, family crises, research methods, and the delivery of human services to families. As part of the required research course, all students design a study, collect data, prepare, and present an empirical research project prior to graduation.

Family Science graduates are the next generation of investigators, practitioners, and policy leaders who can tackle the complex health challenges facing families. The major prepares students for many career paths including family therapy, public health, family life education, social work, law, policy analysis, human services, nursing, and family mediation. A wide variety of employment opportunities exist for Family Science graduates in direct service and management positions in government, non-profit, and private agencies. The major also provides excellent preparation for graduate study in family science, public health, marriage and family therapy, social work, professional schools such as medicine, nursing, dentistry and law, psychology, human resource management, and other social science disciplines. 

Courses offered by this department are listed under the acronym FMSC. 

Admission to the Major

Upper-level students who wish to change or declare a major in Family Science can only do so through a Change of Major Workshop. To register for a workshop, visit the School of Public Health website. Students must register in advance in order to attend a Change of Major Workshop. Freshman or admitted high school seniors may declare the FMSC major at orientation.

Program Learning Outcomes

  1. Students evaluate policy and programmatic interventions to address social and behavioral factors that influence family well-being.
  2. Students demonstrate the principles of cultural competence that shape the experiences and disparities of vulnerable families and populations.
  3. Students create a hypothesis, conduct research, prepare data and present a research project that addresses a significant issue of family well-being.
  4. Students demonstrate basic knowledge of family theories and apply the knowledge to diverse contexts, including experientially in the required workshop.
  5. Students analyze and critique the range of social structures and systems including health, legal, and economic that affect family well-being.

All students must earn a grade of "C-" or better in all courses applied toward completion of the major.

Course Title Credits
Required Courses - Major Subject Area (45 Credits)
SPHL100Foundations of Public Health3
FMSC110Families and Global Health3
FMSC260Couples, Marriage, and Families: Intimate Relationship Across the Life Course3
FMSC302Research Methods in Family Science3
FMSC310Maternal, Child and Family Health3
FMSC330Family Health: Health Happens in Families3
FMSC332Children in Families3
FMSC340Mental Health and Healing in Families3
FMSC374Working with Diverse Families in Public Health Services3
FMSC381Family Inequality3
FMSC383Health and Human Services Delivery and Evaluation3
FMSC432Adult Development and Aging in Families3
FMSC477Internship and Analysis in Family Science3
FMSC487Family Law3
FMSC431Family Crises, Emergencies and Interventions3
or FMSC460 Violence in Families
Required Courses - Department Electives12
Two (2) 100-200 level FMSC courses (6 credits)
Two (2) 300-400 level FMSC courses (6 credits)
Additional Courses Required of All Majors
Select one of the following social sciences general courses:3
Introduction to Psychology
Introduction to Sociology
Introduction to Contemporary Social Problems
Select one of the following statistics general courses:3
Introduction to Educational Statistics
Elementary Statistics and Probability
Select one of the following communication general courses:3
Oral Communication: Principles and Practices
Critical Thinking and Speaking
Oral Communication
Select one of the following economics general courses:3
Family Economics
Principles of Microeconomics
Principles of Macroeconomics
Total Credits69

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