Family Studies Majors

Bachelor's degree programs in family studies and related areas are available both on campus and online, and this degree can lead to careers in areas such as family counseling, child services or youth corrections. Get detailed info on the coursework in these programs, discover what it's like to take family studies courses online and review career possibilities in the family studies field. Schools offering Child & Adolescent Development degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Kind of Degree Can I Earn As a Family Studies Major?

If you're interested in majoring in family studies, you have several undergraduate degree options offered through a number of accredited colleges and universities. You can enroll in a bachelor's degree program focused on family and consumer sciences, family studies and education or general family studies. Some general family studies programs allow you to customize your plan of study to your exact career goals by offering concentrations in relevant areas.

In many cases, family studies majors enrolled in education-oriented degree programs can pursue teaching certification as part of their curricula. However, this may require completion of additional credit hours beyond the ones you need to complete to earn your bachelor's degree.

Program Fields Family and consumer sciences, family studies and education, general family studies
Common Courses Human development, family economics, foundations of marriage, principles of gerontology, family life education
Learning Environment Traditional classroom and fully online degree options are available
Potential Careers Family counseling, corrections, community advocacy, early education, social work

What Will I Learn in a Bachelor's Degree Program?

Because family studies is such a multidisciplinary field, the exact courses you will take in a bachelor's degree program may vary depending on the exact subject matter in which the degree is being granted. However, most programs in family studies and education or family and consumer sciences will educate you in the basic tenets of family life. Topics commonly covered in courses required by both types of degree programs include gerontology, family law, child development and family communications.

The characteristic unique to consumer science-oriented family studies programs is that they focus more heavily than do education-oriented programs on the consumption needs of families. These needs include nutrition, education, retail consumption, human development and culture. The following topics are frequently covered in courses required for family and consumer sciences majors:

  • Financial and budget planning for families
  • Family economics
  • Family life education
  • Consumer education and resources
  • Human development

In contrast to family and consumer science programs described above, mandatory courses for family life and education majors concentrate more on the often-intangible social needs of a family. Majoring in family life or a related area will yield you an in-depth education in the physical and psychological development of children and the elderly. You'll also learn about various issues related to family culture and communication. Topics for courses commonly required in these programs may include:

  • Principles of gerontology and aging
  • Early childhood and adolescent development
  • Foundations of marriage
  • Family grief and crisis counseling
  • Community social service programs for families

If you're enrolled in a bachelor's degree program strictly in family studies, you'll likely be able to take courses in all of the areas discussed above. Social service and community advocacy programs for families, early childhood education, family and marriage counseling, sociology of families, human development and consumer science education are just a few of the areas your course curriculum may cover. Most general family studies bachelor's degree programs require all students to take a few core courses in the foundations of family life and then declare a mandatory minor or area of concentration. Examples of available minors include child advocacy, family development and early childhood education.

How Do Online Programs Work?

As an online student majoring in family studies or a related area, you'll receive the same education and degree as you would if you completed an on-campus program. Like their on-campus counterparts, some online programs offer bachelor's degrees strictly in family life studies or family and consumer sciences. Others, however, offer general family studies programs with the option to declare a concentration in either of the aforementioned areas.

Your required courses - and all of their accompanying materials, including lecture notes, readings, exams and assignments - are transmitted through online teaching and learning platforms. These interactive course delivery systems also allow you to communicate with teachers and fellow students via e-mail, message board or real-time chat. Therefore, you can complete all required coursework from beginning to end with nothing more than a computer, accompanying software and a reliable Internet connection at your disposal.

What Are My Career Options after Graduation?

Family studies bachelor's degree program curricula encompass numerous areas of the social and health sciences, so you will likely have many professional options upon graduating. Colorado State University's College of Applied Human Sciences cites the following professional areas as career options for graduates of family studies programs: community advocacy, social work, childcare or early education, corrections and family counseling (www.colostate.edu).

The U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reinforces this, stating that bachelor's degrees in areas related to social science are generally useful for human services or corrections professionals, and required for youth or family counselors and social workers (www.bls.gov). Additional education - as well as certification or licensure in some cases - is required for counselors and social workers. For example, master's degrees are generally required for individuals working in family counseling or education.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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