Skip to main content

Family Studies Minor

About The 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 criminal justice.

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.

How to enroll

Current students: Declare this program

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

Courses and Requirements


Requirements (20 credits)

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

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

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

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

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

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

This course explores sexual values and behaviors as they are developed and expressed across the life cycle of the family in different social cultural contexts. Students will examine human sexuality in the context of family relationships and dynamics while also learning to identify and evaluate effective programs, strategies, and materials for sexuality education. The course focuses on such topics as family planning, pregnancy and childbirth, gender identity and roles, sexual function and dysfunction, sexual pleasure, sexual variation, sexual orientation, sexuality and disability, sexuality and chronic disease, and sexual development. The course content and practice skills will satisfy a requirement for Certified Family Life Educator (CFLE) credentialing.

Full course description for Sexuality and the Family

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

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