May 24, 2024  
2017-2018 Undergraduate Catalog 
2017-2018 Undergraduate Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Family Studies Minor

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Dr. Lisa E. McGuire, Department Head
Phone: (540) 568-6980                                                                 Email:
Location: Health and Behavioral Studies Building, Room 2084   Website:

B.J. Bryson, L. McGuire

Associate Professors
C. Hunter, N. Poe, H. Yeom

Assistant Professor
K. Myers, L. Trull

Mission Statement

The Department of Social Work prepares generalist social workers committed to strengthening community life for diverse individuals, families and organizations and promoting social justice through advocacy and action. It offers a program, accredited by the Council on Social Work Education, which leads to the B.S.W. degree. In addition, the department offers minors in family studies, gerontology and nonprofit studies.

The Department of Social Work is committed to the following:

  • Preparing students to work effectively in a broad spectrum of social service agencies by providing an environment geared to addressing poverty, multiple forms of oppression, social injustice and other human rights violations.
  • Preparing students for advanced academic study by providing an environment geared toward achieving academic excellence.
  • Advancing excellence and integrity through the development of high quality academic programs as well as contributions to professional knowledge and service.
  • Responding to the professional and the university’s service region by providing supportive services and continuing education opportunities.

Career Opportunities and Marketable Skills

Career Opportunities

  • Aging services
  • Child and adult day care centers
  • Children and youth services
  • Community action agencies
  • Criminal justice agencies
  • Domestic violence programs
  • Family service agencies
  • Homeless shelters
  • Hospitals/home health programs/hospices
  • Income maintenance programs
  • Legal services agencies
  • Behavioral and mental health services
  • Services to people with developmental disabilities
  • Nursing homes and residential communities
  • Public child welfare/child protection services
  • Residential treatment facilities
  • School programs
  • Substance abuse programs
  • Vocational rehabilitation services

Marketable Skills

  • Advocacy
  • Assessment
  • Case management/brokering
  • Communication
  • Community outreach
  • Crisis intervention
  • Group facilitation
  • Intake/referral
  • Intervention/service planning
  • Interviewing
  • Networking
  • Policy analysis
  • Problem solving
  • Program development/evaluation
  • Recording/writing
  • Relationship-building/interpersonal
  • Research
  • Service provision
  • Team/group/collaborative

Co-curricular Activities and Organizations

The Social Work Organization (SWO) offers the opportunity to socialize, meet professionals and volunteer in the community. Membership in SWO is open to any student interested in a career in the helping professions.

Phi Alpha Honor Society for Social Work’s purpose is to promote academic excellence among social work students. Membership in Phi Alpha is by invitation to students with a minimum of nine credit hours in required social work course, holding a major grade point average (GPA) of 3.25 and a cumulative GPA of 3.0.

National Association of Social Workers serves the critical and diverse needs of the entire social work profession. The National Association of Social Workers-Program Unit, a student unit of this nationally recognized organization, is under the auspices of the Whitney Young District, Virginia NASW. Membership is open to all social work majors and provides opportunities for both social and professional enrichment.

Zanetta S. Ford-Byrd, Minor Adviser
Phone: (540) 568-6980

The minor in family studies is designed for undergraduates seeking enhancement of their major, desiring to increase understanding of self and relationships, and seeking to make a positive contribution to society. A substantial knowledge of family-related issues, family processes, policies, laws, services and the interrelationship of families and societies will enhance majors in many fields including anthropology, early and middle education, health sciences, management, nursing, psychology, social work, and sociology. The minor encourages students to make connections between their major field and family studies.

The family studies minor requires a minimum of 18 credit hours with no more than six credit hours in the student’s major. Note that some courses have prerequisites that must be completed before enrollment. Some courses may be restricted to students enrolled in particular majors.

One introductory course is required: either FAM 133  or SOCI 374 . One course must be selected from each of these areas: Families in society, family and intimate relationships, and human development in the family. An additional course must be selected from any of the three areas or from family studies electives. A capstone course, FAM 400 , is also required. At least four courses in the minor, including the introductory course, must be completed prior to enrolling in FAM 400 .

Required Courses

Introductory course

Choose one of the following: 3 Credit Hours

Families in Society

Family and Intimate Relationships

Human Development in the Family

Additional family studies course

Choose three credits from one of the three topic areas above or one of the following: 3 Credit Hours

Total: 18 Credit Hours


1 Some courses in the minor have substantive overlap in focus and content. To ensure students gain a broad exposure to family functions and dynamics, some restrictions apply for overlapping courses. For the family studies minor, students may take either:

2 SCOM majors and minors only.

3 Special education non-teaching and chronic illness concentration students only.

4 Access may be limited.

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