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Join the Fast-Growing Field of Family & Consumer Sciences

Family & Consumer Sciences Major

Division of Professional Studies

Quick Facts:

  • 100% of FCS students at BC looking to teach in primary or secondary schools have a first-time pass rate on the Praxis II (since 2012)
  • FCS ranks as one of the top 10 degrees for finding a job (Education and Workforce Center, 2013)

Explore the world of family and consumer sciences (FCS) at Bridgewater College. FCS coursework emphasizes diversity in families throughout the life cycle. Complete coursework in human development across the life span, as well as family sciences. Choose from two tracks: Human Development and Family Studies or Family and Consumer Sciences Education, according to your career goals and interests.

Your degree in family and consumer sciences will prepare you for a variety of careers, including human services settings such as:

  • Early childhood education
  • Foster care and after-school programs
  • Domestic violence shelters
  • Non-profit work
  • Marriage and family counseling
  • Retirement and adult care

BC also offers a child development laboratory, giving you unique opportunities for real-life application of course concepts with 3, 4 and 5 year-old children. The child development laboratory is the only one of its kind in Virginia.

If you wish to be licensed to teach family and consumer sciences, you must also be admitted to the Secondary Teacher Education Program (grades 6-12) or the Elementary Teacher Education Program.

Family and Consumer Sciences Major

Advising Templates

Students must complete 21 credits of core courses and 18 credits from one of the two tracks (Human Development and Family Studies or Family and Consumer Sciences Education). Consists of 39 credit hours distributed as follows:

Core Courses (21 credits)

An introduction to the history of Family and Consumer Sciences with consideration of family strengths and weaknesses and internal dynamics of families. Emphasis placed on knowledge of the use of critical science and creative skills to address problems in diverse family community and work environments. Exploration of the field of Family and Consumer Sciences career planning and knowledge of occupational skill development.

Unit(s): 3

Students will examine family and interpersonal relationships from a variety of theoretical and conceptual frameworks to gain understanding of the changes in society relative to marriage and family. Students will engage in critical examination of issues related to families work and their interrelationships. Emphasis placed upon the reciprocal impacts of relationships within the family and a persons relationships to individuals and other institutions such as educational governmental religious and occupational institutions in society.

Unit(s): 3

Examine issues related to physical cognitive and socio-emotional development of the child from conception through early adolescence. Students will develop theoretical and practical knowledge of child development concepts. Provisions are made for observing and working with preschool children. Prerequisite junior standing

Unit(s): 4

Developmental changes of individuals in families throughout the adolescent years into emerging adulthood. Emphasis placed on knowledge of physical emotional cognitive and social aspects of development.

Unit(s): 3

Overview of the process of parenting in diverse cultural and familial structures. Exploration of issues related to parenting at various stages of development as well as formation of parenting goals and styles. Emphasis placed on parent-child interactions through the child rearing years. Provides an emphasis on evidence-based practices and evaluation of programming. Prerequisites PDP 150 or PDP 350 Experiential learning

Unit(s): 3

Examines issues related to management process and its significance on the quality of life experienced by families with consideration of values goals standards decision making and allocation of resources. Topics include development and allocation of resources social environment influences life cycle and family structure influences and consumer issues and decisions. Prerequisite Junior or senior standing

Unit(s): 3

This capstone course explores special topics in all family and consumer content areas. Special topics and problems are developed according to the individuals specialization and professional interests. Students synthesize research in a particular area of family and consumer sciences to complete a capstone research project.

Unit(s): 2

Track 1-Human Development and Family Studies (18 credits)

Introduction to research process including formulating research questions research methods general statistical evaluation presentation and research ethics. MATH 140 recommended but not required.

Unit(s): 3
Examine issues related to geriatrics with emphasis on issues including historical cultural biological physiological psychological and social contexts. Opportunities for experiential learning in residential and intermediate facilities with appropriate agencies. Prequisite PDP 150 or PDP 350 Experiential learning

Unit(s): 3

Students will develop an understanding of the legal issues policies and law influencing the well-being of families. Topics include family and the law relating to marriage divorce family support child custody child protection and rights family planning social services education the economy religion and public policy as it affects the family including tax civil rights social security economic support laws and regulations.

Unit(s): 3

Critical examination of principles of the general philosophy and broad principles of family life education in conjunction with the ability to plan implement and evaluate such educational programs. An understanding of the character and quality of human social conduct and the ability to critically examine ethical questions and issues as they relate to professional practice and community concerns and values.

Unit(s): 3

The nature of racial relations and inequalities in American society including their historical origins and relationship to Western capitalist development. The ethnic composition of contemporary American society impact of legal and illegal immigration patterns dynamics of modern structures and institutions the Civil Rights Movement inter-ethnic conflicts and attitudes multiculturalism and status of affirmative action are analyzed in the context of national and global social change. Prerequisite PDP 150 or PDP 350 and SOC 101 General education global dynamics

Unit(s): 3

Introduction to the theory and practice of cultural studies engaging with major themes and scholarly research in the interdisciplinary field. A critical perspective on mass media and popular culture is emphasized. Topics include ideology neoliberalism recursivity patriarchy racism and celebrity fetishism. Prerequisite PDP 150 or 350

Unit(s): 3

Theoretical and practical survey of intercultural communication processes. Examines intrapersonal interpersonal organizational and mass media dimensions of intercultural communication. The course specifically focuses on the distinctive cultural behaviors expectations values and power dynamics that affect our abilities to communicate effectively and people from diverse cultures. Prerequisite PDP 150 or PDP 350 General Education global dynamics Alternate years offered 2017-2018

Unit(s): 3

One additional FCS course based on career goals

Track 2-Family and Consumer Sciences Education (18 credits) 

Basic nutrition concepts nutrition needs throughout the life cycle and current nutrition issues.

Unit(s): 3

Investigation of the scientific principles involved in basic cookery with emphasis on quality characteristics and product evaluation. Structure composition and nutritive value of foods are studied as well as food selection storage preparation processing and meal management techniques. Food safety and an ecological approach to food selection and preparation is emphasized. Instruction requires two class meetings per week and one three-hour lab.

Unit(s): 3

Examine the management of the decision-making processes related to housing furnishings and equipment for individuals and families with attention given to special needs and the diversity of individuals.

Unit(s): 3

Emphasis on factors influencing fashion including the sociological psychological and physiological aspects of clothing and basic construction of clothing.

Unit(s): 3

Instructional practice management and evaluation appropriate for the secondary Family and Consumer Sciences classroom. Laws governing vocational education its management and guidance and its relationship to state and national programs is considered. Emphasis on organizing and implementing a FCCLA program into classroom instruction. Alternate years offered 2015-2016

Unit(s): 3

Principles of economic systems in relation to standards in selection of goods and services and sources of reliable consumer information. Prerequisite ECON 200 or ECON 210 or permission of instructor

Unit(s): 3

For students wishing to pursue Teacher Education endorsement, admission to the Teacher Education Program (TEP) is required. The following TEP requirements apply:

Secondary (6-12) Education Licensure 
Education course requirements for teacher candidates must be completed (EDUC 140, 200, 215, 201, 334, 302, 370, 303, 450, 380X, 412 and 470 in 6-12 classroom).

Must complete Praxis II in Family and Consumer Sciences content area.

Activities and Clubs

You could intern at:

  • Bridgewater College FCS Student Unit
  • Family Connections Program at Sentara RMH Medical Center
  • Harrisonburg Rockingham Department of Social Services Foster Care
  • Parent Education Program at the Office on Youth
  • Pathway Program for Expelled and Suspended Youth at the Office on Youth
  • People Places of Charlottesville (Therapeutic Foster Care)
  • Sunnyside Retirement Community

Careers and Graduate Schools

What can you do with a degree in family and consumer sciences?

Like the department’s recent graduates, you might enter graduate schools such as:

  • College of Charleston
  • Chelsea College of Art & Design
  • University of Delaware
  • Delta State University
  • University of Florida
  • Georgia Southern University
  • James Madison University
  • Louisiana Tech University
  • University of Kentucky
  • University of Maryland‑Baltimore County
  • University of Maryland‑Eastern Shore
  • Mississippi State University
  • North Carolina State University
  • Northwestern State University
  • Old Dominion University
  • Shenandoah University
  • University of Virginia
  • Virginia Commonwealth University
  • Virginia Tech

Or pursue a career in:

  • Child Care and Development
  • Cooperative Extension Agent
  • Early Childhood Education
  • Event Planning
  • Gerontology
  • Marriage and Family Counseling
  • Non-profit Work
  • Nutrition
  • Teaching

Learn more about career paths, employment and advancement in the field of family and consumer sciences from the professional organizations listed under Family and Consumer Sciences on the Career and Professional Resources page.

Visit the Department Homepage

Questions? Contact Us!

Dr. Donna Hoskins, Assistant Professor
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