Family & Human Development: Major & Minor


Family and human development is a multidisciplinary program: incorporating perspectives on family and human development from various disciplines including psychology, sociology, social work, economics, political science, and law. Courses emphasize topics such as developmental psychology, psychology of the family, sociology of marriage and family, social work, and personal and family finance. The multidisciplinary approach means that graduates leave Southern Virginia with family-related job skills and knowledge that surpass those of students graduating in psychology, sociology, or social work.

Why Southern Virginia

At Southern Virginia, family and human development majors learn directly from dedicated professors, interacting in a small-class setting emphasizing critical thinking and application of course content. Within such an educational environment, students find greater opportunity for engagement, interaction with peers and professors, critical analysis and personal application of course material, and incorporation of LDS perspectives. This “Genius of Small” also enables family and human development faculty to tailor assignments to individual student needs, interests, and career goals. At Southern Virginia, students meet course goals while faculty design courses to meet student goals.

Career Opportunities

Family and human development graduates are leader-servants who help real people deal with real problems. In addition to the many graduates who have gone on to complete graduate programs in fields such as clinical social work, counseling psychology, marriage and family therapy, educational psychology, and gerontology, past family and human development graduates have found employment in a variety of human service careers, including:

  • Social workers
  • Therapists
  • Early childhood intervention specialists
  • Women’s shelter managers
  • Certified family life educators
  • Adolescent group home managers
  • Wilderness intervention program counselors
  • Parent involvement specialists in public schools

Apply Now


Faculty Contacts:

  • Ariel Rodriguez, Ph.D. – Program Coordinator
  • Karen Walker, Ph.D.



Brinn Willis ’07
“The FCD major prepared me for my full-time job at Project Horizon and to recognize the importance of being a mom. . . . Whether you choose to work in the field or bring the knowledge into your home, the major teaches you to help people and be compassionate.”
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Daman Reynolds ’05
“I developed some relationships at Southern Virginia … with professors who influenced me in significant ways.”
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