The Family Science degree program focuses on the study of families and the challenges they face in contemporary society. Students in the program engage in a curriculum dedicated to individual and family development over the lifespan, examining social, cultural, economic, health, and historical trends that affect family functioning. The program teaches students how to improve the quality of family life through education, applied research, policy analysis, and human services program management.  

The family science major prepares students for careers in a wide range of fields, including:

  • Human and health services
  • Work and family counseling
  • Family and/or public policy analysis
  • Family life and/or parenting education
  • Program management
  • Business and human resources

View our Family Science flyer.

Explore Program Details


In order to graduate with a Bachelor of Science degree in Family Science, a student must earn at least 120 credits comprised of major required courses, CORE or General Education requirements, and general electives. All students in the Family Science major must complete all major requirements and maintain a cumulative GPA of 2.0 to graduate with the degree. The Family Science major requires a minimum of three semesters of coursework from the time you enter the program; however, completion of the degree may require additional terms as course availability allows.


  • Evaluate policy and programmatic interventions to address social and behavioral factors that influence family well-being.
  • Explain the principles of cultural competence that shape the experiences and disparities of vulnerable families and populations.
  • Design, implement, and present a research project that addresses a significant issue of family well-being.
  • Demonstrate basic knowledge of family theories and apply the knowledge to diverse contexts.
  • Analyze and critique the range of social structures and systems such as health, legal, and economic that affect family well-being.


Major requirements are comprised of 15 courses, which enable the student to examine fundamental knowledge in Family Science. These courses provide the student with knowledge about family theory, research methods in family science, strengths and weaknesses in family functioning, child development and intergenerational family roles, family economics and family law, the needs of special populations, and the management and significance of human services and family policy. In addition to the student’s didactic learning, an experiential learning component is required for all majors – a 120-hour, semester-long internship.

Courses Credits
SPHL 100 Foundations of Public Health (Starting Fall 2018) 3
PSYC 100 Introduction to Psychology 3
SOCY 100 Intro. to Psychology OR
SOCY 105 Intro. to Contemporary Social Problems
STAT 100 Intro. to Statistics OR
EDMS 451 Intro. to Educational Statistics OR
PSYC 200 Statistical Methods in Psychology OR
SOCY 201 Statistical Methods for Sociology OR
CCJS 200 Stats. for Criminology & Criminal Justice OR
MATH 214 Elements of Probability and Statistics
COMM 100 Foundations of Oral Communication OR
COMM 107 Oral Communication: Principals and Practices OR
COMM 125 Intro. to Interpersonal Communication OR
ENES 143 Communication Essentials for Entrepreneurs OR
INAG 110 Oral Communications OR
JOUR 130 Self Preservation in the Age of YouTube
FMSC 302 Research Methods in Family Science 3
FMSC 310 Maternal, Child and Family Health (starting Fall 2017) 3
FMSC 330 Family Theories and Patterns 3
FMSC 332 Children in Families 3
FMSC 381 Poverty, Affluence, and Families 3
FMSC 383 Delivery of Human Services to Families 3
FMSC 432 Adult Development and Aging in Families 3
FMSC 477 Internship and Analysis in Family Science 3
FMSC 487 Legal Aspects of Family Problems 3
FMSC 290 Family Economics OR
ECON 200 Principles of Microeconomics OR
ECON 201 Principles of Macroeconomics
FMSC Elective (any) 3
FMSC Elective (any) 3


The Family Science internship is a practical experience designed to integrate department and other coursework with a real-time work experience. In addition to a field placement, students are required to attend a weekly capstone seminar. Students in the seminar integrate classroom theory with their field placement and share work-related activities, broadening their exposure to work in the discipline of Family Science and their knowledge of specific career opportunities for FMSC graduates. The internship course is open to all FMSC majors who have completed FMSC 330 and FMSC 383, plus a minimum of six additional credits of FMSC coursework. All Family Science majors are required to complete an internship experience during their senior year.

Interns must work a minimum of 120 hours in the field and attend all seminars. The first meeting of the internship seminar will be held the first week of the semester during the day and time listed in the Schedule of Classes. Only university-approved excuses will be accepted for seminar absences. Please refer to the Schedule of Classes for the class meeting day and time.

In past years, students have worked as interns at:

  • UMD 4H Youth Development Program
  • The Arc of Prince George’s County
  • Capitol Hill Pregnancy Center
  • Casa Chirilagua and Bridge – DC Summer Urban Program