Family & Human Development | Major & Minor

Family & Human Development is a social science focused on understanding healthy relationships and interactions with the aim of empowering families, couples, and individuals to build healthy, strong, and lasting relationships.

About the Family & Human Development Major & Minor

At Southern Virginia University, family and human development (FHD) majors learn from dedicated professors in small classes that provide greater opportunities for engagement with peers and professors, critical analysis, and personal application of the course material. This enables FHD professors to tailor assignments to your individual needs, interests, and career goals.

Southern Virginia’s FHD program focuses on the many aspects of individuals, couples, and families and how they affect one another. You will study relationships, identify family and individual strengths within relationships, and find ways to prevent family dysfunctioning using research and evidence from rigorous scientific research drawn from multiple disciplines, as well as distinct FHD methodologies and theories. You will also study topics such as developmental psychology, psychology of the family, sociology of marriage and family, social work, and personal and family finance.

Many FHD graduates go on to complete graduate programs in fields such as clinical social work, counseling psychology, marriage and family therapy, and educational psychology.

Learning Outcomes

  • Basic knowledge of families in society, internal family dynamics, and family life education.
  • Basic knowledge of child and adolescent development and parent education and guidance.
  • Ability to locate, understand, evaluate, and write about family and human development research.
  • Ability to create and deliver effective research-based outreach education products and presentations in family life education settings.

Getting Started in the Family & Human Development Major

  1. Enroll

    Begin by taking Introduction to Research Methods (FHD 290) or Introduction to Social Work (FHD 220) in your first year

  2. Contact Your Advisor

    Get in touch with Professor Ariel Rodriguez to discuss your interests and goals

  3. Declare

    Turn in a completed Declare Major form to the Registrar’s Office


  • Social Worker
  • Therapist
  • Early Childhood Specialist
  • Family Life Educators
  • Crisis Counselor
  • Teacher
  • Caseworker

In the News

Related Programs and Concentrations

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Faculty Contacts:

“Almost no other group has the level and range of influence on a person’s life over time then family. Because of that, we need experts who have studied and understand how healthy families and relationships function and develop, and then use that understanding to strengthen families, couples, and individuals in all relationships, which is what FHD majors do.”

– Professor Ariel Rodriguez