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Child Development & Family Science
Michaelsen 100
(509) 963-2766

Family Science Specialization

Major in Family Science

Family on therapy session

Family Science is the interdisciplinary study of families and close interpersonal relationships. We focus on understanding the dynamics of families in a changing society, as well as the impact that family interaction has on individual development and well-being. Family Science emphasizes a systems perspective in helping families build healthy relationships and preventing problems before they occur. Graduates are prepared to work in community social service agencies, to provide family life education, or to pursue graduate school in family science, social work, marriage, and family therapy, or other related fields.

Family Science Program Requirements

Family Science Minor

Interested in the Major?  Contact Information

Majors with a Family Science Specialization will:

  1. Understand relationships and family life from a Family Systems perspective.
  2. Develop excellent relationship and interpersonal skills.
  3. Experience teamwork and learn collaborative skills.
  4. Demonstrate effective oral and written communication and skills.
  5. Develop strong critical thinking and problem-solving skills.
  6. Learn to analyze and present scientific information.
What is Unique about the Family Science specialization?

Students enrolled in the program are required to complete a multi-term practicum or internship in an agency suited to their particular professional goals and interests.  They may work in a family service agency, a mental health clinic, a program for youth and their families, or any of a variety of programs throughout Washington that serve the needs of couples and families.

Family Science students learn to apply the scientific process to understand current scientific knowledge. Each student will complete a research project which can be presented at the University, Regional, or National level.

Students who complete a specialization in Family Science at CWU qualify to apply for the Certified Family Life Educator (CFLE) credential through the National Council on Family Relations (NCFR). CWU has the only CFLE approved Family Science program in Washington State.

Images of 3 family members, male, female and child.

Family Science Required Courses

Course # Title Credits
CDFS 101 Skills for Marriage and Intimate Relationships 4
CDFS 232 Child Development 3
CDFS 234 Contemporary Families 4
CDFS 235 Relationships and Personal Development 3
CDFS 236 Parent Education and Guidance 4
CDFS 344 Foundations of Marriage and Family Therapy 4
CDFS 405* Professional Obligations and Responsibilities 4
CDFS 419* Research in Child Development and Family Science 5
CDFS 436 Diversity and Families 4
CDFS 492* Child Development and Family Science Practicum 12
CDFS 495* Undergraduate Research 1
CDFS 237 Human Sexuality  4
CDFS 339 Adolescence and Emerging Adulthood 4
CDFS 403 Family Communication 4
CDFS 433*  Family Life Education  4
CDFS 435 Adult Development, Aging, and Family Life 4
CDFS 439 Families and Public Policy 4
FCS 371 Real World Finance 3
  Approved Specialization Electives 13
  Total Credits 88

*For Child Development and Family Science Majors Only

Family Science Elective Courses:

CDFS 310  |  Family Issues in the 21st Century (4)
CDFS 332  |  Trauma and Resilience in Children and Adults (4)
CDFS 333  |  Culture and Marriage  (4)
CDFS 334  |  Family Problems and Mediation  (4)
CDFS 335  |  Divorce and Remarriage  (3)
CDFS 340  |  Supporting Children with Special Needs and their Families (4)
CDFS 345  |  Advanced Concepts in Child Development (4)
CDFS 403  |  Family Communication  (4)
CDFS 414  |  Coping with Grief and Loss  (4)
CDFS 415  |  Therapeutic Play  (4)
CDFS 416  |  Child Life I: Child Life Scope of Practice  (4)
CDFS 417  |  Childhood Diseases and Disorders  (4)
CDFS 432  |  Theories in Child Development  (3)
CDFS 438  |  Attachment Theory and Practice  (4)
CDFS 440  |  Teaching for Child Development and Family Science (2-6)

Family Science Two Year Graduation Plan

CWU Catalog Program of Study

Admission and Graduation Requirements

Students wishing to declare a major in Family Science must be incoming first-year or transfer students or have a cumulative CWU GPA of 2.8. Child Development and Family Science majors must maintain a cumulative GPA of 2.7 or higher to remain in the major and must earn a “C” or higher in all courses used to satisfy the major.

Application Process

To apply for the major, complete the major application form and contact Dr. Amy Claridge to enroll in the major and be assigned an advisor. 

The Child Development and Family Science major has three specializations: Child Life, Child Development, and Family Science.

For information about the Family Science Major or Minor, please contact Dr. Amy Claridge.

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