James Madison University

Family Studies

The interdisciplinary minor in Family Studies is designed for the undergraduates seeking enhancement of their major and career potential, desiring to increase understanding of self and relationships, and seeking to make a positive contribution to society. A substantial knowledge of family related issues, family processes, polices, laws, services and the interrelationship of families and societies will enhance majors in many fields including anthropology, elementary education, health sciences, management, nursing, psychology, secondary education, social work, special education and sociology. The minor encourages students to make connections between their major field and family studies, thereby adding value to the major.

Students complete a minimum of 18 credit hours with no more than six credit hours in the student's major. One introductory course is required: Family 133 Contemporary Family or SOCI 276 Sociology of the Family. One course must be selected from each of the following areas: Families in Society, Family and Intimate Relationships, and Human Development in the Family. A capstone course, FAM 400, Family Issues and Applications, is also required.

Interested in the Family Studies Minor?

Wish to Declare the Minor? Next deadline is  November 15th. See below for  Fall 2014 details!

Students must:

  • review the requirements as published in the Undergraduate Catalog and determine if the Minor is feasible in their academic plan. The minor requires completion of 18 credit hours (6 approved courses) and usually takes a minimum of 3 semesters.
  • attend an Information and Welcome meeting (see dates below). At this meeting, students will
    • learn about the minor and course requirements;
    • map a plan for completing the Minor,
    • be assigned a Capstone cohort and/or wait list
    • learn how to track their progression through the Minor
    • receive information about registration for approved courses
  • submit a Declaration of Minor form to the Social Work Office by the deadline (Nov 15 for Fall Semester; April 15 for Spring) If deadline falls on a weekend, the form is due by noon on the next business day

If you are interested in the Family Studies Minor, please fill out an Interest Form at the Social Work Office (HHS 2127) and you will be included on the mailing list to receive updates, including notification of Spring 2014 Information and Welcome meetings.

Upcoming Information Meetings

  •   Friday, October 10: 3:00-4:00, HHS #2117
  •   Monday, October 20: 4:30-5:30, HHS #2117
  •   Tuesday, October 21: 12:00-1:00, HHS #2117
  •   Tuesday, October 21: 5:30-6:30, HHS #2117

Contact person:
 Dr. Lisa McGuire, Associate Professor

Requirements (Check catalog for course prerequisites):

FAM 133 Contemporary Family or SOCI 276 Sociology of Family

Families in Society (choose one): ECON 306 Economics of Women and the Family; GERN/SOCI 280 Social Gerontology; HIST 466 The Family 1400-1800; SOCI 303 Sociology of Death & Dying; SOCI 337 Sociology of Gender; SOWK 338 Issues & Policies in Family Services; or SOWK 342 Child Welfare Services

Family and Intimate Relationships (chose one): HTH 372 Human Sexuality; PSYC 275 Psychology of Human Intimacy; PSYC 450 Psychology of Child Abuse & Neglect; or SOWK 340 Violence in Families

Human Development in the Family (chose one): FAM 300 Child Development; FAM 335 Parents Throughout the Life Cycle; PSYC 304 Death and Dying: Thanatology; PSYC 365 Developmental Psychology; PSYC 470 Psychology of the Young Adult; PSYC 475 Psychology of Adulthood; or SOWK 387 Working with Teenagers

Capstone: FAM 400 Family Issues and Applications (prerequisites: At least four courses in the minor including either FAM 133 or SOCI 276)

Additional Family Issues Course (chose from above or one of the following): FAM 375 Grantwriting for Agencies; FAM 386 Youth Empowerment Strategies; FAM 487 Special Topics in Family Issues; or FAM 490 Special Studies in Family Issues.

A complete listing of all core and elective courses is available in the Social Work department section of the official JMU Undergraduate Catalog at:


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