Family Science and Human Development

Western Michigan University's Family Science and Human Development (FSHD) program is anchored in knowledge of human ecological systems, human development throughout the lifespan and features of individual, relational and familial wellness and resilience. FSHD is organized around three areas of concentration and professional preparation:

  • The Family Science and Human Development: Child Development and Services concentration prepares individuals to work with children and their families in a range of care and service settings. The concentration includes selection of courses within one of two tracks: Child Programming and Administration, which fulfills State of Michigan requirements for childcare center directors, or Child Life Foundations, which provides fundamental knowledge for service as child life specialist. 
  •  The Family Science and Human Development: Family Studies concentration prepares students to use preventative and educational approaches in a variety of settings to strengthen individual and family well-being across the lifespan. Graduates are eligible for provisional certified family life educator (CFLE) status by the National Council on Family Relations.
  • The Family Science and Human Development: Youth and Community Development concentration prepares change agents to transform communities through an intentional investment in youth with interdisciplinary coursework and community-based experiences.

Beyond the classroom

As a family science and human development student at WMU, you will complete a semester-long internship that is aligned with your area of concentration. Internships are designed to enhance your understanding of current issues and practices, help you gain valuable work experience and grow your professional network and resume.

You can also gain valuable networking and professional development opportunities through student and community organizations, including the Child Life Student organization.

After you graduate

Studies in family science and human development prepare students for effective practice in a range of human service roles and settings. Recent WMU graduates with degrees in Family Science and Human Development are working as:

  • Child, youth and family extension agents
  • Parent educators
  • Home visitors
  • Adoption and foster care specialists
  • Senior activity directors
  • Juvenile court workers
  • Childcare center directors
  • Youth advocates
  • Sexuality educators

Among the public and private human service organizations and agencies they work for are:

  • Community, child and youth engagement programs
  • Adoption, foster care and refugee services
  • Childcare and out-of-school programs
  • Summer camps
  • Parks and recreation programs
  • Senior programs
  • Senior and youth residential services
  • School-based services
  • Museums
  • Nature Centers
  • Children’s hospitals
  • Adult and child protective services

Where is this program offered?

  • All required FSHD core courses are available online. Students can also take the majority of FSHD classes for any concentration in-person on WMU’s Kalamazoo Main Campus.
  • The Family Studies concentration and Child Development and Services Concentration: Child Programming and Administration track can be completed fully online, provided selection of courses with an online option.

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