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Family and Consumer Sciences

College of Education and Professional Studies

Family Science Specialization

Major in Family Science


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.

Family Science Required Courses

Course # Title Credits
FCL 101 Skills for Marriage and Intimate Relationships 4
FCL 232 Child Development 3
FCL 234 Contemporary Families 4
FCL 235 Relationships and Personal Development 3
FCL 236 Parent Education and Guidance 4
FCL 344 Foundations of Marriage and Family Therapy 4
FCL 405* Professional Obligations and Responsibilities 4
FCL 419* Research in Family and Child Life 5
FCL 434 Diversity and Families 4
FCL 492* Family and Child Life Practicum 12
FCL 495* Undergraduate Research 1
FCL 237 Human Sexuality  4
FCL 320* Theories in Family Dynamics 4
FCL 339 Adolescence and Emerging Adulthood 4
FCL 433*  Family Life Education  4
FCL 435 Adult Development, Aging, and Family Life 4
FCL 439 Families and Public Policy 4
FCS 371 Real World Finance 3
  Approved Specialization Electives 13
  Total Credits 88

*For Family and Child Life Majors Only

Family Science Elective Courses:

FCL 310  |  Family Issues in the 21st Century (4)
FCL 332  |  Trauma and Resilience in Children and Adults (4)
FCL 333  |  Culture and Marriage  (4)
FCL 334  |  Family Problems and Mediation  (4)
FCL 335  |  Divorce and Remarriage  (3)
FCL 340  |  Supporting Children with Special Needs and their Families (4)
FCL 345  |  Advanced Concepts in Child Development (4)
FCL 403  |  Family Communication  (4)
FCL 414  |  Coping with Grief and Loss  (4)
FCL 415  |  Therapeutic Play  (4)
FCL 416  |  Child Life I: Child Life Scope of Practice  (4)
FCL 417  |  Childhood Diseases and Disorders  (4)
FCL 432  |  Theories in Child Development  (3)
FCL 438  |  Attachment Theory and Practice  (4)
FCL 440  |  Teaching for Family and Child Life  (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 and child life must be incoming first-year or transfer students or have a cumulative CWU GPA of 2.8. Family and child life 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 family and child life 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. 

Family Science Minor (Ellensburg campus or online)

Students in the Family Science minor will learn about Family Systems Theory and family dynamics, will develop skills for healthy romantic and familial relationships, and will gain practical skills to work with families. Completing the minor will enhance students’ competitiveness for jobs involving interaction with families in a variety of disciplines.

Family Science Minor Required Courses

Course # Title Credits
FCL 101 Skills for Marriage and Intimate Relationships 4
FCL 234 Contemporary Families 4
FCL 235 Relationships and Personal Development 3
FCL 236  Parent Education and Guidance 4
  Family Science Electives (any FCL course) 10
  Total Credits for Family Science Minor 25

Pre-Admission Requirements

Students wishing to declare a minor in  Family Science must be incoming freshmen, transfer students, or have a cumulative GPA of 2.5.  Family Science minors must maintain a cumulative GPA of 2.5 or higher to remain in the minor.

Application Process

To apply for the minor, please complete the minor application form, indicating whether you are applying for the in-person or online Family Science minor. Send the completed form to Dr. Amy Claridge or set up a time to meet with her.

Online Course Offerings

All courses required for the Family Science minor are offered online during Summer terms.  Some of the online courses are offered during the academic year, however, students who wish to complete the minor online may need to take courses during summer quarter as well.
FCL Minor Courses Offered Online Academic Year Summer
Required Courses    
FCL 101 Skills for Marriage and Intimate Relationships (4) X X
FCL 234 Contemporary Families (4) X X
FCL 235 Relationships and Personal Development (3) X X
FCL 236 Parent Education and Guidance (4) X X
FCL 232 Child Development (3) X X
FCL 333 Culture and Marriage (4) X  
FCL 335 Divorce and Remarriage (3)   X
FCL 237 Human Sexuality (4) X  
FCL 339 Adolescence and Emerging Adulthood X  
FCL 403 Family Communication (4)   X
FCL 432 Theories in Child Development (3) X  
FCL 438 Attachment Theory and Practice (4) X  

The Family and Child Life 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.

Family and Child Life Faculty

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