Department of Family Studies & Community Development

The family is the fundamental unit in contemporary society. Family science is a discipline grounded in research that enhances knowledge and understanding of the family. Healthy family functioning strengthens individuals, groups and society.

Our undergraduate and graduate programs foster a multidisciplinary and multicultural understanding of families, communities and service systems. Through coursework and experiential learning opportunities, our students study individual and family development, dynamics within families, action-oriented and policy-relevant research, and the interactions between families and society. We encourage civic responsibility and professional development through required community engagement opportunities that broaden our students' communication and critical thinking skills.

Interested in a deeper dive of Family Studies and the importance of the family unit? Please take a few minutes to read this important article by Norma J. Bond Burgess, Ph,D., President, National Council on Family Relations (NCFR)

Professional Certifications

The department is affiliated with the National Council on Family Relations, the only national program to certify family life educators. After completing required coursework, family and human services undergraduate students may apply for provisional certification as family life educators. Full certification may be obtained as soon as students document sufficient work experience in family life education.

The Certified Child Life Specialist credential, issued by the Association of Child Life Professionals, is the exclusive certification for the profession. The Introduction to Child Life Track in the family and human services major prepares students for certification and careers as child life specialists.

Beyond the Classroom

Family and human services students are required to participate in service learning or internship courses. FMST 387 Community Services for Families offers group-based experiential learning in the area of program development. Students work in small groups in the community for 30 to 60 hours while learning new skills and theories in the classroom. Internships are individually based experiential learning courses that require a combination of classroom and field-based hours. Student internships include a minimum of 120 field-based hours. Specific sites are selected from over 75 approved sites.

Accelerated Programs

Earn a Combined Bachelor’s and Master’s Degree

Interested in earning an undergraduate and graduate degree in just five years?  Accelerated programs allow you to begin your graduate education as an undergraduate, offering an opportunity to save time and money while you advance your academic career. Learn more about our programs:


More than 75 approved internship sites for our students


First and only graduate child life program in the mid-Atlantic


Accelerated, dual-degree programs

Areas of Study

    Recent News

    Family Studies student named 2023-2024 Transform Mid-Atlantic Civic Fellow for the Transform Mid-Atlantic Organization

    Family Studies & Community Development student Gabrielle Baker has been named as a 2023-2024 Transform Mid-Atlantic Civic Fellow. Gabrielle was recommended because of her remarkable leadership on campus and propensity and potential to affect change at Towson University and in the community.  Participation in the Transform Mid-Atlantic Civic Fellowship provides students from across Maryland, Washington, D.C., and Delaware high impact opportunities to develop their leadership skills and understanding of civic and community engagement so that they may better serve as leaders in their communities and collectively create solutions to our region's most urgent problems. This fellowship is a key avenue to develop student leaders who are engaged global citizens, actively contributing to the creation of equitable, healthy, sustainable, and socially just communities.  Congratuations!

    Family studies student receives National Council on Family Relations Award

    Sydney Cohee was honored with the National Council on Family Relations Wesley Burr Award for excellence in undergraduate student research in November 2020. Her work with Dr. Bethany Willis Hepp focuses on trauma-informed classroom practices.


    Contact Information

    Department of Family Studies & Community Development

    Liberal Arts Building, Suite 2210

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    Mon - Fri: 8 a.m. - 5 p.m.

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