Graduate Program Emphasis Areas
The empirical study of adolescents (10 to 20+ years in age) anchored in a multi-disciplinary, social scientific framework, with a consideration of contextual developmental processes, ranging from proximal (family, school) to distal ones (culture or nation), and a focus on adolescent health, adjustment, and well-being.
Families provide important resources that promote quality of life and sustain the well-being of its members throughout the life course. As families acknowledge and celebrate the changes that accompany aging in particular, more and more recognition is being given to the importance of family relationships and the impact that life transitions and family roles and responsibilities have on the aging process. Our aging emphasis concentrates on ways in which a family system can manage the emotional, social, and economic challenges and discover the positive aspects of life transitions and growing older.
Couple & Family Therapy (master's level only)
The couple and family therapy emphasis area is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Marriage and Family Therapy Education (COAMFTE). According to the Association for Marriage and Family Therapy, couple and family therapists "are mental health professionals trained in psychotherapy and family systems, and licensed to diagnose and treat mental and emotional disorders within the context of marriage, couple and family systems" (http://www.aamft.org/imis15/Content/ About_AAMFT/Qualifications.aspx). Couple and family therapists are recognized as a core mental health profession, along with psychiatry, psychology, social work, and psychiatric nursing. See the couple and family therapy page for more information about this emphasis area.
Family Finance & Economics
Family Finance focuses on individuals' and family's financial resource acquisition, planning, and use with the ultimate outcome focusing on financial security. Also of interest is the impact of family financial issues on individual and family well-being. Topics of interest include credit and debt across the life cycle; savings and investment for achieving financial goals including retirement, behavioral/psychological aspects of saving, borrowing and consumption; and financial issues related to marriage, gender and culture. Family Economics focuses on individuals' and family's economic decisions and activities as they interact in various economic markets as consumers and workers. Also of interest are the effects of demographic and economic characteristics on well-being. Topics of interest include human capital investment, poverty and low-income households, employment and retirement, women in the economy, the dynamics of health and financial security, economics of individual aging and other determinants of the economic status of households.
Family processes refers to the study of (a) how family members interact with each other, (b) how families change over time and vary across cultures, and (c) how context influences families and vice versa.