Family Studies

The Family Studies Minor is designed to strengthen and expand students’ preparation for many fields of professional and academic practice that require understanding of human development, relationship dynamics, and social policies and programs affecting families across the lifespan.

  • Social Services
  • Retirement Communities
  • Schools
  • Counseling Services
  • Corrections
  • Health Care
  • Assisted Living and Life Care
  • Ministry/Chaplaincy
  • Court Services
  • Youth Development
  • Hospitals
  • Senior Wellness Centers
  • Leisure and Travel Sector
  • And many more…..

This interdisciplinary minor offers two focus areas:  Family Ecology (FAM-FECO) and Gerontology (FAM-GERO).

For More Information:

Terry Fernsler, Advisor
Email: fernslts@jmu.edu
Office: HBS Building, Room 2071
235 Martin Luther King, Jr. Way

Nancy T. Poe, Ph.D., Coordinator

Declaring the Minor

To declare the Family Studies minor, students must:

  • Review the online requirements in the Undergraduate Catalog and determine if the minor is feasible in their academic plan. The minor requires completion of 18 credit hours and takes a minimum of three to four 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 on MyMadison

Fall 2020 Information Session Dates

  • TBD

Curriculum Overview

The Family Studies Minor has two focus areas:

Family Ecology (FAM-FECO)

The interdisciplinary study of the complex and recursive relationships between humans and the natural, built, and socio-political environments where family systems are viewed as the motivating nexus.  Stress and adaptation in the structures, functions, and dynamics of family systems are central foci of study.

Gerontology (FAM-GERO)

The interdisciplinary study of social, cultural, psychological, cognitive, and biological aspects of aging with emphasis on development in later adulthood.  Intergenerational dynamics, specifically relative to caregiving and receiving over the life course, and end-of-life issues are central foci of study.

View a visual representation of this multi-track minor (PDF)

comparison of the family gerontology and family ecology focuses
Family Ecology (FECO) Gerontology (GERO)
Introduction (3 credits)
FAM 133 Contemporary Families or SOCI 374 Sociology of Families
Human Development (options below, 3 cr.) PSCY 160: Lifespan Psycology (3 cr.)
Intimate Relationships (options below, 3 cr.) SOCI/GERN 280: Social Gerontology (3 cr.)
Families in Society (options below, 3 cr.) GERN 305: Programs & Services for the Elderly (3 cr.)
Family Ecology Elective (3 cr.) Gerontology Elective (3 cr.)
Frameworks (1 credit) - FAM 400 Theory Survey*
Co-requisite with:
Capstone (2 credits)
FAM 401: Research Project
Capstone (2 credits)
IPE 490: Caregiver Community Network*

*With special permission FAM 400 + IPE 490 may be replaced with GERN 495: Field Experience/Seminar (3 cr.) FAM-GERO only.

Family Ecology Focus (FECO) - Course Options

Courses

Credit Hours

Introductory Course (choose 1)
FAM 133 Contemporary Family
OR
SOCI 374 (fka SOCI 276) Sociology of the Family
3
Families in Society
  • ECON 306 Econ of Women and the Family*
  • GERN/SOCI 280 Social Gerontology
  • HIST 320 Women in U.S. History
  • HIST 379 Family and Gender in East Asia
  • HIST 466 The Family 1400-1800
  • NSG 390 Impact of Chronic Illness
  • SOCI 303 Sociology of Death & Dying
  • SOCI /WGSS 337 Sociology of Gender
  • SOWK 338 Issues & Policies in Family Services
  • SOWK 342 Child Welfare Services
  3
Family and Intimate Relationships
  • HTH 372 Human Sexuality*
  • NSG 326 Care & Consideration For Children w/Special Needs**
  • PSYC 275 Psychology of Human Intimacy
  • PSYC 450 Psychology of Child Abuse & Neglect*
  • SCOM 440 Family Communication
  • SOWK 340 Violence in Families
3
Human Development in the Family
  • EXED 306 Lifespan Issues for Individuals w/Disabilities
  • FAM 300 Child Development*
  • FAM/SOWK 325 Parent-Child Rel. Across Life Span*
  • HTH 471 Health Aspects of Gerontology
  • PSYC 304 Death and Dying: Thanatology*
  • PSYC 365 Developmental Psychology*
  • PSYC 470 Psychology of the Young Adult*
  • PSYC 475 Psychology of Adulthood*
  • SOWK 387 Working with Teenagers
3
Frameworks and Capstone (prerequisites: FAM 133 or SOCI 374; 9 credits of FECO approved courses)
  • FAM 400 Frameworks: Theory Survey (1 credit)
  • FAM 401 Capstone: Research Project (2 credits)
3
Electives (from the following approved courses)
  • Additional credits from Families in Society list
  • Additional credits from Family & Intimate Relationships list
  • Additional credits from Human Development in the Family list
  • FAM 375 Grant Writing in Agencies
  • FAM 386 Youth Empowerment Strategies
  • FAM 487 Special Topics in Family Issues
  • FAM 490 Special Studies in Family Issues*
3

*  Course has one or more pre-requisites
** 1-2 Credits.  Check catalog for course descriptions.

Gerontology Focus (GERO) - Course Options

Courses

Credit Hours

Introductory Course (choose 1)
FAM 133 Contemporary Family
OR
SOCI 374 (fka SOCI 276) Sociology of the Family
3
Core
  • PSYC 160 Lifespan Psychology (3 credits)
  • SOCI/GERN 280 Social Gerontology (3 credits)
  • GERN 305. Programs and Services for the Elderly 1 (3 credits)
  9
Frameworks and Capstone (prerequisites: FAM 133 or SOCI 374; PSYC 160; GERN/SOCI 280; GERN 305)
  • FAM 400 Frameworks: Theory Survey (1 credit)
  • IPE 490 Capstone: Caregivers Community Network - Field Experience (2 credits)
3
Electives (from the following approved courses)
  • BIO 301. Introductory Neuroscience (for PSYC majors) (3 credits)
  • FAM 335. Parent-Child Relationships Across the Lifespan 1 (3 credits)
  • GERN/FAM/SOWK 375. Grant Writing for Agencies (3 credits)
  • GERN 450. Palliative and Hospice Care: And Interdisciplinary Approach (3 credits)
  • GERN 487. Special Topics in Gerontology (3 credits)
  • GERN 490. Special Studies in Gerontology (1 - 3 credits)
  • HTH 378. Uses and Effects of Drugs 1 (3 credits)
  • HTH 471. Health Aspects of Gerontology (3 credits)
  • IPE 220. Adult Health and Development Program (3 credits)
  • IPE/NSG 415. Ethical Decision-Making in Healthcare: An Inter-professional Approach (1 credit)
  • NSG 310. Helping Persons in Pain 2 NSG 313: Issues and Applications of Family (1 - 2 credits)
  • NSG 322. Integrative Health Care (1 credit)
  • NSG 328. Life, Death, and the Dash Between (1 credit)
  • NSG 391. Living Successfully with Chronic Illness (3 credits)
  • PSYC 304. Death and Dying: Thanatology 1 (3 credits)
3