WhyChooseFamilyStudies-Family Studies

Why Choose Family Studies?


Are you wondering if Family Studies is the right choice for you given your interests and goals? Good questions! Here are a few things that might help you decide (also be sure to look under the “Major Requirements” tab for even more insights):

First, Family Studies is likely a good choice if you are a student who would answer “yes” to all or some of the following questions:

  • “Are you passionate about families? Children? Teenagers? Older adults?” 
  • “Are you interested in interpersonal relationships between family members? Between couples or friends?” 
  • “Do you want to help individuals achieve healthy relationships?” 
  • “Do you believe it is important to try to prevent family crises before they occur?” 
  • “Are you curious about how family fits in the larger society? Have you ever wondered about how one’s actions affect the entire family?” 
  • “Are you interested in how culture affects the way we interact within and among family groups?” 
  • “Do you desire to teach others about healthy development, relationships and family functioning?” 

In so many ways, when you study family from an interdisciplinary perspective, you are learning about what it means to be human and in relationship to others in a diverse, challenging world.

Second, if you are interested in a major that will provide a host of transferrable professional and personal skills, Family Studies is a great choice. As an interdisciplinary program situated at the hear of the College of Arts and Sciences, the skills we offer students are both high in demand in professional settings where understanding family-systems thinking is paramount, but also transferrable to many other contexts and careers where analytic and critical thinking skills are essential. In essence, Family Studies reflects an ideal liberal arts education, providing a broad base of knowledge and enhancing critical thinking/analytic skills across many areas of study.

Specifically, the work of family professionals demands, and those who would study family as part of a major at St. Thomas would acquire skillsets including but not limited to the following:

Analytic Skills

  • The ability to take a big idea or a big problem, break it down into its parts, and understand how the parts work together and affect each other.

Applied Skills

  • The ability to use theory and knowledge in a variety of settings and situations.

Communication Skills

  • The ability to write and speak clearly, accurately, succinctly, and persuasively.

Creative Skills

  • The ability to think “outside the box,” come up with new strategies, or put ideas together in novel and productive ways.

Critical-Thinking Skills

  • The ability to examine an idea or plan critically; hold it up against past experience and existing knowledge; and identify errors, flawed assumptions, or illogical thinking.

Learning Skills

  • The ability to quickly assimilate new information, adapt to new demands, pick up new responsibilities, and broaden the scope of one’s thinking.

Research Skills

  • The ability to quickly locate and summarize key information from an array of data and resources.

Program Development Skills

  • The ability to develop objectives, activities, and an evaluation plan for a family life education program.

Program Implementation Skills

  • The ability to effectively implement a family life education program.

Program Evaluation

  • The ability to use outcome measures to determine the effectiveness of various programming efforts. 
  • The ability to build relationships with others and effectively work together toward a common goal.

Leadership Skills

  • The ability to be an effective leader including the ability to motivate others, communicate clearly, make good decisions, and lead by example.

(Adapted from East Carolina University’s Department of Family and Community Services, with permission of ECU department chair Sharon Ballard)