Family Studies Minor

About this program

The family studies minor prepares students to understand family function, structure and complexity with the intent to increase competence when working with, and on behalf of, diverse families.

A minor in family studies can serve as a support area for a student majoring in one of the social or behavioral sciences, such as psychology or sociology. In addition, a minor in this area can serve as an ideal complement for students in a professional field, such as social work, nursing, education or law enforcement.

Student outcomes

Students will understand:

  • the diversity of family structures,
  • the core functions of families, 
  • the complexities in family life, and
  • how function, structure and complexities interact with culture and environmental factors.

Enrolling in this program

Current students: Declare your program

Once you’re admitted as an undergraduate student and have met any further requirements your chosen program may have, you declare your major or declare a minor.

Future students: Apply now

Apply to Metropolitan State: Start the journey toward your Family Studies Minor now. Learn about the steps to enroll or, if you have questions about what Metropolitan State can offer you, request information, visit campus or chat with an admissions counselor.

Get started on your Family Studies Minor

Course requirements

Requirements (20 credits)

Students must take HSFS 343 at the start of their matriculation into the program.

HSFS 343 The Family: A Social/Psychological Exploration

4 credits

This course introduces students to the major social and psychological theories employed in studying family processes and in studying how families function in society today. In addition, the course engages students in an examination of their own families. Key features of this course are that students do a modified social history and case study of their own families. Students demonstrate competence by applying the content of the course in their analysis of their own family's social/psychological analysis.

Full course description for The Family: A Social/Psychological Exploration

Electives (16 credits)

Choose four courses

HSER 352 Family Counseling

4 credits

This course explores the dynamics and processes of family interactions and counseling from the viewpoint of a family counselor. Some of the major theories of family counseling are discussed, with particular emphasis on the theories of Virginia Satir. Evaluation is based in part on a final conference with the instructor. This course is designed for students seeking self-understanding, as well as for students pursuing careers in the human services.

Full course description for Family Counseling

HSER 415 Spirituality and Helping

4 credits

For the past 30 years helping professionals have deliberated about the role and integration of spirituality or religion in their practice. It is accepted that as clients race, ethnicity, and culture affect their thoughts, feelings, and behavior, so similarly do clients spiritual or religious orientations affect how they function in world and thus perceive and deal with their problems. This course is designed to introduce students to the issues related to spirituality and helping as well as to provide a framework for developing an ethical spiritually-sensitive practice that is cognizant of the significance of these orientations. Students will explore relevant knowledge, skill, and value competencies for success in this frontier of the helping field.

Full course description for Spirituality and Helping

HSFS 338 Family: Racial, Gender and Class Dimensions

4 credits

This course familiarizes students with the diversity that exists in families. It is intended for students who want to gain a better understanding of the family, and for students specializing in psychology or human services related fields. Structural inequalities in society based on wealth, race/ethnicity and gender are presented as key determinants in the diversity of family forms and in differing experiences within families.

Full course description for Family: Racial, Gender and Class Dimensions

HSFS 339 Issues and Actions in Family Policy

4 credits

This course considers the impact of public choices on life within families. It is generally offered during the state legislative session in order to give students opportunity to participate in the legislative process. The policy issues covered vary from year to year. Topics may cover competing rights of children and parents, culturally-specific/friendly family policy, international family policy comparisons, and other family policy issues.

Full course description for Issues and Actions in Family Policy

HSFS 341 Work and Family

4 credits

Until recently, the worlds of family and work were seen as separate spheres. Today, people are aware of the many possible relationships between work and family in society. This course examines the challenges, issues and problems associated with a variety of contemporary work-family patterns including single-provider, dual-provider and single-parent families, and families who own their own businesses.

Full course description for Work and Family

HSFS 342 Children in U.S. Society

4 credits

This interdisciplinary course explores historical and contemporary aspects of children's status and roles in family and society, adults' relationships and functions in relation to children, and public policy affecting children in twentieth-century United States. Community and experience-based learning, including a student-designed project, augment class lectures and discussion.

Full course description for Children in U.S. Society

HSG 378 Thanatology: The Study of Death and Dying

4 credits

This course helps students become aware of their own attitudes and values about dying and death, and how these affect others. It investigates myths concerning dying and death, the effect of personal and cultural attitudes on a person's ability to communicate with the dying and their families, death industries, historical perspectives, and euthanasia. The course includes field trips.

Full course description for Thanatology: The Study of Death and Dying

HSVP 308 Family Violence Across the Lifespan

4 credits

This course is designed as an introduction to the study of family violence across the lifespan. It will introduce students to history, current theories, research, and policies in the three areas of family violence: child maltreatment, elder abuse, domestic violence. You will examine the cultural, social and political roots of family violence, as well as the dynamics of abuse in the family and in intimate relationships. You will explore the effects of abuse at the individual, family, and community levels, and be able to identify abusive and controlling behaviors. The content of the course focuses on current theories, research and policies on domestic violence (battering, sexual assault, stalking), child maltreatment (physical and sexual abuse, emotional abuse, neglect) and abuse of vulnerable adults (elderly, non-elderly vulnerable populations). This course is an introduction to the topic. It will give students a basic overview of the issues across types of family violence…

Full course description for Family Violence Across the Lifespan