Family Science offers a variety of career options. Using our tracks, students are prepared for specific career paths. Completion of a track, however is not required for graduation.

Family Health, Counseling and Therapy

Students in the Family Health, Counseling and Therapy track often prepare to serve as professionals or paraprofessionals in the fields of counseling and therapy. The family science major provides a foundation for a graduate degree in marriage and family therapy, social work or psychology. Building from their strong research-oriented knowledge of the family, students in the Introduction to Family Therapy class begin to learn the skills and techniques of family counseling. The track’s offerings vary from communication skills to the basics of family economics and are grounded in research. Experiential learning includes internships and the opportunity for faculty research with family therapists and psychologists.

Career Opportunities for the Family Health, Counseling and Therapy Track

  • Marriage & Family Therapy Graduate School
  • Mental Health Counseling Graduate School
  • Individual & Family Therapy Support Services
  • Military Family Support Services
  • Crisis & Hotline Services
  • Teen Pregnancy Prevention & Assistance
  • Abuse & Sexual Violence Prevention
  • Abuse Protection
  • Drug & Alcohol Prevention 
  • Behavior Therapy & Counseling
  • Residential Treatment Programs
  • Disability Services
  • Departments of Child & Family Services
  • Family Science Research
  • Couple & Family Enrichment Programs
  • Ministry Marriage & Relationship Programs
  • Ministry Youth Programs
  • Hospital-Based Family Support
  • Hospice Programs
  • School Counseling Graduate Programs

Required Departmental Co­­­urses

FMSC383 – Delivery of Human Services to Families

Processes of service delivery with special emphasis upon relationships among managers, service providers and clients. The impact of human service systems on families.

Optional Departmental Courses

FMSC260 – Couple Relationships

Couple relationships and their alternatives in contemporary dating, courtship and marriage.

FMSC485 – Introduction to Family Therapy

The fundamental theoretical concepts and clinical procedures of marital and family therapy including premarital and divorce therapy issues.

Other Courses on Campus

EDCP210 – Peer counseling Skills and Mental Health Advocacy

Introduction to core helping skills in peer counseling settings and three predominant theoretical approaches used in the counseling field (humanistic, psychodynamic, cognitive-behavioral). The course also explores mental health stigma and advocacy. Students will build an understanding of the practical application of underlying principles and theory in counseling and the helping professions, while exploring their own, and societal, biases, assumptions, and attitudes toward mental health.

EDHD230 – Human Development and Societal Institutions

Development of the individual in the context of relationships with the formal and informal institutions of society. An examination of various aspects of development from the broad perspective of the social sciences.

EDHD320 – Human Development Through the Life Span

Central concepts related to parameters of human development, individual and social, which arise throughout the life span. Continuity and change within the developing individual.

EDHD402 – Social Development

Social Development. Critical concepts and ideas of the study of child and adolescent social development. Focus on changes in interpersonal relationships, emotions, achievement-related behavior and competence, and functioning within the broader social context.

EDHD411 – Child Growth and Development

Theoretical approaches to and empirical studies of physical, psychological and social development from conception to puberty. Implications for home, school and community.

EDHD412 – Infant Development

Infant development across domains, including perceptual, motor, cognitive, language, social and emotional functioning from pre-natal through third year of life.

EDHD413 – Adolescent Development

Adolescent development, including special problems encountered in contemporary culture. Observational component and individual case study.

HLTH106 – Drug Use and Abuse

An interdisciplinary analysis of contemporary drug issues and problems. The course will examine physiological, psychological, social, philosophical, historical, legal and health aspects of drug use and abuse. Special attention will be focused on those general motivations for drug use that attend life on the college campus.

HLTH130 – Introduction to Public and Community Health

An introduction to the theory and practice of public and community health. The influence of public health professionals on the past, present, and future health status of society through the examination of critical health issues will be described. Programming models, theories and policy development are included.

PLCY388A - Special Topics in Public Policy; Child and Family Policy Impact

For poor and low-income families, federal programs such as Medicaid, Child care, SNAP and child nutrition programs are a lifeline every day. Some programs also have policies that consider more than income eligibility, such as the number of hours of work, disability, and immigration status. Budget choices have a significant impact on policy intentions. Students will learn about and analyze the major federal programs and federal budgets for these policy areas; understand from data the impact of such programs and policies; and be introduced to significant advocacy efforts and considerations that shaped these policy decisions.

PSYC100 – Introduction to Psychology

A basic introductory course intended to bring the student into contact with the major problems confronting psychology and the more important attempts at their solution.

PSYC301 – Biological Basis of Behavior

Recent advances in neuroscience are radically changing our understanding of how the brain works. The course first introduces the structure of the nervous system and the electrical and chemical signals at the core of brain function. Students then explore how the nervous system gathers and makes sense of information from the world around us. The last portion of the course focuses on plasticity, the concept that our brains are constantly changing, and its implications for nervous system development, memory, sexual behavior, sleep, and other complex behaviors.

PSYC334 – Psychology of Interpersonal Relationships

Research, theory and their practical applications pertaining to the development, maintenance and dissolution of human relationships. Processes critical to successful relating (e.g., communication, bargaining, conflict resolution), and issues associated with troubled dyadic relations with equal partners (e.g., jealousy, spouse abuse, divorce).

PSYC354 – Multicultural Psychology in the U.S.

What are the psychological implications of racism, sexism, homophobia and other structures of inequality in the United States? How do socio-cultural privilege and oppression influence individual and group thoughts, feelings, and behaviors? This course will take a current events focus to understanding multicultural and social justice issues in psychology with an emphasis on self-reflection, mental health, cross-cultural communication, and strategies for social change.

PSYC435 – Theories of Personality and Psychotherapy

Major theories of personality and research methods and findings relevant to those theories.

PSYC437 – The Assessment and Treatment of Addictive Behaviors

Explores the current research in the assessment and treatment of addictive behaviors. Topics may include addictions in the areas of alcohol, drugs, nicotine, gambling, and eating

Trauma, Crisis, and Family Health Management

From wildfires and hurricanes to substance abuse and divorce, families are harmed by external and internal traumatic events.  Family scientist help the public respond quickly to families in crisis.  Students in the Trauma, Crisis and the Family Health Management track prepare to serve as family health crisis managers. Building from their strong research-oriented knowledge of the family, students learn the skills and techniques needed to identify, assess, understand, and cope with crisis situations. Students learn to deal with threats before, during, and after they occur in order to obtain successful, healthy outcomes. They have crisis strategies in place to ensure a quick and appropriate response. They know how to maintain clear lines of reporting and communication. Our students can assess positive resolutions to promote family and public health.

Career Opportunities for the Family Health, Trauma and Crisis Management Track

  • FEMA
  • Adoption Agencies
  • Foster Care
  • Teen Pregnancy Prevention & Assistance
  • Abuse and Sexual Violence Prevention
  • Abuse Protection
  • Teen Pregnancy Prevention & Assistance
  • Drug & Alcohol Prevention
  • Welfare & Food Stamp Assistance
  • Public Health Programs & Services
  • Military Family Support Services
  • Residential Treatment Programs
  • Disability Services
  • Departments of Child and Families Services
  • Child Life
  • Family Science Research
  • Family Policy Analysts
  • Child & Family Services

Required Departmental Courses

FMSC431 – Family Crises and Intervention

Family crises such as divorce, disability, substance abuse, financial problems, intra-familial abuse, and death. Theories and techniques for intervention and enhancement of family coping strategies.

FMSC460 – Violence in Families

Theories of child, spouse, and elder abuse in the family setting. Emphasis on historical, psychological, sociological and legal trends relating to physical, emotional, and sexual abuse. Introduction to methods for prevention and remediation.

Optional Departmental Courses

FMSC190 – Man Up! Where are the Fathers?

An examination of changing fatherhood roles, health, and inequality in diverse families. Focus will be on masculinities and disparities among men by race and class; provider role expectations; and trauma and violence faced by men in contemporary society.

Other Courses on Campus

AASP187 – The New Jim Crow: African-Americans, Mass Incarceration and the Prison Industrial Complex

Students will examine the birth of the racial caste system following the abolition of slavery, the parallels between the racial hierarchy of the Jim Crow system and contemporary mass incarceration, and the rise of the prison industrial complex as a multi-billon business which thrives on the oppression of low-income populations and poor communities of color.

ANTH265 – Anthropology of Global Health

An overview of the growing field of global health including health care systems, medical practices, ideas about illness in cross-cultural contexts, issues of health development, global health inequity, and human rights issues. The course will focus on the history of global health, the critique of major international health agencies and their development paradigms, and the political economy of social inequalities and health.

ANTH266 – Changing Climate. Changing Cultures

Explore past, present, and future interactions between humans and climate. Discussions, methods-oriented activities, and case study analyses provide students a foundation for appreciating the role of anthropology in understanding, responding to, and preparing for climate change.

ANTH310 – Method & Theory in Medical Anthropology and Global Health

Provides a critical perspective to global health that encompasses key political, economic, and cultural factors associated with the nature and magnitude of global health issues such as HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria, paying particular attention to how poverty and inequalities within and between societies have accelerated current global health challenges. Introduces students to how medical anthropologists have contributed to the debates surrounding the globalization of health.

AOSC123 – Causes and Implications of Global Change

Responsible policy and decision making on issues related to the global environment requires an understanding of the basic scientific issues, relationships between the geophysical and biological sciences, the impacts on regional and global endeavors, and the political manner in which humans respond. This course embodies an integrated introduction to the broad scientific and social aspects of the global change problem.

AOSC200 – Weather and Climate

A broad survey of the state of knowledge and problems of atmospheric science. Origin and structure of the atmosphere, meteorological observations, weather maps, forecasting, satellites, energetics, wind, general circulation, storms, severe weather, climate change, air pollution.

AOSC401 – Climate Dynamics and Earth System Science

Introduction of the earth and global climate systems and their major components: atmosphere, land, ocean, biosphere and cryosphere. Key processes governing the function of the earth's climate: Global energy balance and the water cycle, climate dynamics (general circulation of the atmosphere and ocean) and climate physics (aerosol, cloud and rain), as well as climate variability and climate changes. Phenomena resulting from this coupled system including El Nino-Southern Oscillation, monsoons, and the hydrological cycle will be discussed, with a focus on how the Earth System responds to global warming.

AOSC434 – Air Pollution

Production, transformation, transport and removal of air pollutants. The problems of photochemical smog, the greenhouse effect, stratospheric ozone, acid rain and visibility. Analytical techniques for gases and particles.

AREC365 – World Hunger, Population and Food Supplies

An introduction to the problem of world hunger and possible solutions to it. World demand, supply, and distribution of food. Alternatives for leveling off world food demand, increasing the supply of food, and improving its distribution. Environmental limitations to increasing world food production.

AREC454 – The Economics of Climate Change

The role of economics in the formation of climate policy; basic concepts of environmental economics including efficiency, externalities, and policy instruments; economic models of intertemporal decisions and decision making in the face of uncertainty. Applied economic analysis of specific issues and current policy initiatives.

BSST327 – Introduction to Terrorism and the Terrorist Threat

This course focuses on bringing current events and policy issues related to terrorism and counterterrorism, as they are discussed in mass media, into the dialogue with academic theories and research. Through a discussion-based seminar, students will bring current, terrorism-related events to classroom discussion, where they will consider the media-framed current events in relation to academic research. Students will be continually challenged to draw connections between terrorism-related events in the news and relevant academic research.

BSST334 – States of Emergency

Students will explore the manner in which crises unfold from the perspective of a variety of emergency response disciplines, including: emergency management, law enforcement, intelligence analysis, cyber analysis, risk communication, health and human services, and emergency psychiatry/psychology. Students will participate in a semester-long simulation of an unfolding terrorist attack.

CCJS325 – Slavery in the Twenty-First Century: Combating Human Trafficking

The trafficking of human beings in its historical, legal, economic, political and social contexts. Scope of the global problem, different forms of human trafficking, and regional trends and practices. Roles of government, the international community and individual actors. Strategies to combat trafficking.

CCJS346 – Domestic Violence

A thorough and critical examination of family violence. Topics include the historical background to family violence, methods of studying this serious issue, elder abuse, child abuse, the cultural factors involved in intimate partner violence, violence in same-sex relationships, and the criminal justice response to family violence. Although the course focuses on the American family, illustrations from other cultures are provided.

COMM427 – Crisis Communication

Explores theories and research related to communication before, during, and after a crisis. Students examine the fundamentals of organizational communication, crisis management, and strategic and crisis communication planning before examining case studies of a number of real-life crises: organizational crises, natural disasters, accidents, terrorism incidents, health crises, and major crises of credibility.

HLTH285 – Controlling Stress and Tension

Health problems related to stress and tension. Analysis of causative psychosocial stressors and intervening physiological mechanisms. Emphasis on prevention and control of stress through techniques such as biofeedback, meditation and neuromuscular relaxation.

HLTH106 – Drug Use and Abuse

An interdisciplinary analysis of contemporary drug issues and problems. The course will examine physiological, psychological, social, philosophical, historical, legal and health aspects of drug use and abuse. Special attention will be focused on those general motivations for drug use that attend life on the college campus.

Family Health, Policy, and Law

From health care reform to the definition of marriage, family issues are front and center in public policy and the law. Family Science establishes a foundation to understand family systems and their needs. Through the Family Health, Policy and Law track, students will study the structure, goals, and application of policy to the family and the intersection with family law issues.  In the Legal Aspects of Family Problems class students learn the principles of the legal system such as issues of the family, marriage and divorce, parenting and children’s’ rights. Students will examine how the political process creates programs that work to change society and families and evaluate the existing family services and laws. The optional Family Mediation class teaches the practice and principles of joint problem-solving and negotiations skills in a family context. In the Family Health, Policy, and Law track students are encouraged to think creatively and originally as they tackle policy and legal issues on every aspect of family life.  Students will also develop skills in problem analysis, legal research, writing, and presentation that will help them succeed in this rapidly growing field of public policy.

Career Opportunities for the Family Health, Law and Mediation Track 

  • Law School
  • Paralegal
  • Juvenile Justice
  • Child Legal Advocates
  • Court Services
  • Victim/Witness Support
  • Lobbying
  • Disability Services
  • Divorce Mediation
  • Child Custody Mediation
  • Child Custody Evaluators
  • Adoption and Child welfare
  • Foster Care
  • Abuse and Sexual Violence Prevention
  • Abuse Protection
  • Teen Pregnancy Prevention & Assistance
  • Family Policy Analysis
  • Drug & Alcohol Prevention
  • Welfare & Food Stamp Assistance
  • Child & Family Services
  • Public Health Programs & Services
  • Military Family Support Services
  • Departments of Child and Families Services
  • Child Life
  • Court-Mandated Parent Education and Coordination
  • Family Science Research
  • Parenting Education
  • Family Policy Analysts

Courses with ** are strongly recommended for pre-law students

Required Departmental Courses

FMSC487 – Legal Aspects of Family Problems**

Laws and legal procedures, with emphasis on adoption, marriage, divorce, annulment, and property rights, and how they affect family life.

Optional Departmental Courses

FMSC 498M – Special Topics: Family Science; Theory and Techniques of Family Mediation**

Introduction to family mediation as an approach to helping families deal effectively with the issues associated with separation and divorce. Theory, practice, and techniques of negotiation, with an emphasis on custody, property division, and constructive restructuring of family relationships.

Other Courses on Campus

AASP101 – Public Policy and the Black Community

The impact of public policies on the black community and the role of the policy process in affecting the social, economic and political well-being of minorities. Particular attention given to the post-1960 to present era.

AASP443 – Blacks and the Law

The relationship between black Americans and the law, particularly criminal law, criminal institutions and the criminal justice system. Examines historical changes in the legal status of blacks and changes in the causes of racial disparities in criminal involvement and punishments.

CCJS230 – Criminal Law in Action**

Law as one of the methods of social control. Criminal law: its nature, sources and types; theories and historical developments. Behavioral and legal aspects of criminal acts. Classification and analysis of selected criminal offenses.

CCJS234 – Law of Criminal Investigation**

General principles and theories of criminal procedure. Due process. Arrest, search and seizure. Recent developments. Study and evaluation of evidence and proof.

CCJS346 – Domestic Violence

A thorough and critical examination of family violence. Topics include the historical background to family violence, methods of studying this serious issue, elder abuse, child abuse, the cultural factors involved in intimate partner violence, violence in same-sex relationships, and the criminal justice response to family violence. Although the course focuses on the American family, illustrations from other cultures are provided.

COMM107 – Oral Communication: Principles and Practices**

A study of and practice in oral communication, including principles of interviewing, group discussion, listening, informative briefings, and persuasive speeches.

COMM200 – Critical Thinking and Speaking

Theory and practice of persuasive discourse analysis and composition. Research techniques, logical and rhetorical conceptions of argument, and technical principles for persuading in public venues.

COMM230 – Argumentation and Debate**

A study of the fundamental principles of reasoning, analysis, and evidence preparation of debate briefs and presentation of standard academic debate.

COMM330 – Argumentation and Public Policy**

Contemporary theories of argumentation with special emphasis on methods of formulating and critiquing public policy argument.

COMM382 – Essentials of Intercultural Communication

Introduction of major theories and concepts of intercultural communication; examination of processes that make up cultural differences; and use of intercultural communication competence skills.

COMM385 – Influence

Explores contemporary theories of influence and their implications for communication practice. Topics include power and influence, logical theory, rhetorical theory, persuasion theory, framing theory, social influence theory, and propagation of influence in mediated social networks.

COMM461 - Voices of Public Leadership in the Twentieth Century

Study of the use of speaking in the power struggles of the twentieth century. Focus is on important speakers of the century, their social and policy influence, and the struggle to expand the diversity of voices with power in the public sphere.

COMM469 – The Discourse of Social Movements

Study of key social movements that have influenced American social and political life. In alternate years the Civil Rights Movement and the Rhetoric of Women's Suffrage and Abolitionism. Consideration of how groups excluded from or marginalized in American political life affect social change.

ECON200 – Principles of Microeconomics**

Introduces economic models used to analyze economic behavior by individuals and firms and consequent market outcomes. Applies conceptual analysis to several policy issues and surveys a variety of specific topics within the broad scope of microeconomics.

ECON201 – Principles of Macroeconomics**

An introduction to how market economies behave at the aggregate level. The determination of national income/output and the problems of unemployment inflation, will be examined, along with monetary and fiscal policy.

ENGL392 – Legal Writing**

Conventions of legal writing and research. Students learn how to read and write about cases, statutes or other legislation; how to apply legal principles to fact scenarios; and how to present a written analysis for readers in the legal profession. Assignments may include the law-school application essay, case briefs, legal memos, and client letters.

GVPT170 – American Government**

A comprehensive study of a national government in the United States.

GVPT202 – Politics, Constitutional Policy, and the Institution of the U.S. Supreme Court

A thorough examination of the U.S. Supreme Court in the American political system. Focusing on the Court as an institution-the set of norms, rules, and policymaking processes that lead to the Supreme Court's decisions-and how justices' decision-making processes critically determine substantive legal policy and the meaning of the U.S. Constitution.

GVPT217 – Mock Trial

Experience the excitement and reward of arguing, and perhaps winning your client's case in court. Mock Trial is designed for students who are interested in learning practical techniques for shaping the evidence, using the law, and exploiting the courtroom to create a coherent and convincing case theory.

GVPT331 – Courts, Law, and Justice**

An introductory course to the study of law with an emphasis on how lawyers and judges think and argue. Topics include contract law, property, family law, torts, and criminal procedure.

HIST200 – Interpreting American History: Beginnings to 1877**

The United States from colonial times to the end of the Civil War. Establishment and development of American institutions.

HIST201 – Interpreting American History: From 1865 to the Present**

The United States from the end of the Civil War to the present. Economic, social, intellectual, and political developments. Rise of industry and emergence of the United States as a world power.

HLSA300 – Introduction to Health Policy and Services

A multidimensional view of public health policy and services. Through interactive discussion of assigned readings, team-based learning, and supplementary lecture, students will learn about the nature of and development of policy, public health policy, and financing and delivery of health care services. This course will place a significant emphasis on a team-based learning approach to understanding the health care system and health care reform.

PHIL100 – Introduction to Philosophy**

An introduction to the literature, problems, and methods of philosophy either through a study of some of the main figures in philosophic thought or through an examination of some of the central and recurring problems of philosophy.

PHIL140 – Contemporary Moral Issues**

The uses of philosophical analysis in thinking clearly about such widely debated moral issues as abortion, euthanasia, homosexuality, pornography, reverse discrimination, the death penalty, business ethics, sexual equality, and economic justice.

PHIL170 – Introduction to Logic**

Development of analytical reasoning skills through the study of formal logic, reasoning systems, and fallacious inference patterns.

PHIL341 – Ethical Theory**

A critical examination of classical and contemporary systems of ethics, such as those of Aristotle, Kant, Mill, and Rawls.

PHIL347 – Philosophy of Law**

Examination of fundamental concepts related to law, e.g. legal systems, law and morality, justice, legal reasoning, responsibility.

PLCY100 – Foundations of Public Policy

A survey course, focusing on public policy institutions and analytical issues as well as on overview of key public policy problems. Students will be introduced to public policy as a discipline, with a brief overview of the actors and institutions involved in the process, and familiarize themselves with the kinds of problems typically requiring public action. The course will examine these problems from a multijurisdictional and multisectoral perspective. Specific policy areas examined include education policy, health policy, economic and budgetary policy, criminal justice policy, environmental policy, and national and homeland security policy. The course should permit students to have broad foundational exposure to the field that will give them a solid base for more advanced courses.

PLCY101 – Great Thinkers on Public Policy

Great ideas in public policy, such as equality, efficiency, sovereignty, liberty, bureaucracy, democracy and security are explored through the lens of great thinkers. An introduction to the intellectual foundations of public policy, from ancient theories on collective public action through the more contemporary development of public policy as a discipline. This may start as early as the ancient Greek philosophers and their views on public action through contemporary classics of public policy. At the conclusion of the course, students will have read classic works in the field and will master the key themes that have dominated the intellectual debates about public policy over its history. Emphasis will be on the interdisciplinary foundations of public policy, through examining core disciplinary contributions from economics, political science, management, philosophy, and other relevant disciplines.

PLCY201 – Public Leaders and Active Citizens

Aims to inspire, teach and engage students in the theory and practice of public leadership from the local to the national to the global level. Students will learn and apply diverse approaches to leadership in a multicultural society while developing an understanding of key frameworks and practices necessary to foster collective action across private, public, and nonprofit sectors. This course will allow students to become informed citizens able to reason critically and persuasively about public matters. Students will also explore and assess their own personal values, beliefs, and purpose as they develop their leadership potential.

PLCY313 – Advocacy in the American Political System

Introduces students to the creation of law through the legislative process with a special focus on the Maryland General Assembly.

PLCY388A - Special Topics in Public Policy; Child and Family Policy Impact

For poor and low-income families, federal programs such as Medicaid, Child care, SNAP and child nutrition programs are a lifeline every day. Some programs also have policies that consider more than income eligibility, such as the number of hours of work, disability, and immigration status. Budget choices have a significant impact on policy intentions. Students will learn about and analyze the major federal programs and federal budgets for these policy areas; understand from data the impact of such programs and policies; and be introduced to significant advocacy efforts and considerations that shaped these policy decisions.