What Can I Do With This Major?

“What can I do with this major?  What job do I get?” are questions that many of us have heard throughout the years from our students.  Majoring in family science can be both a gift and a curse for undergraduates.  The gift is there are so many opportunities for careers under the family science umbrella that job prospects are limitless.  The curse is that some of our students get confused and even discouraged when faced with all these options.  Many have a difficult time finding their way and deciding what they want to do when they graduate.

My colleagues and I, determined to help our students find their way, created a course aimed specifically at the search for a career in family science.  Our Exploring Professions and Practices in Family Science course takes students on a journey through the domains of family practice.  This course exposes students to concrete examples of the types of jobs they will be prepared to get upon completion of their degree.  Course readings and lectures cover specific jobs, their requirements, salaries, and opportunities for advancement.  Invited guest speakers provide practical advice and networking opportunities that many students start to explore before they graduate.

We decided that our students would benefit from a course that exposes them to the four primary domains of family practice: family life education, mental health counseling/marriage and family therapy, family case management/planning, and early childhood careers.  Within each domain, students are exposed to specific jobs, professional practices, and ethical issues.  They are also asked to examine their level of interest in each domain to help provide clarity as they move throughout the course.

Students are excited about the course and have reported:

  • This course provides students with endless opportunities and resources to prepare them for their future careers. It is an excellent course to take for students who are not yet sure of what they want to do with this major.
  • This course is great for people who are looking for some guidance on where they want college to lead them.
  • The strengths of this course were exploring the different career paths within this major and field. It was nice to know that I do have options and many to choose from and I’m able to move from one to another. Taking what I learned from one job and applying it to the next.

So far, the only constructive criticism we have received about this course is that it should be offered earlier in their college career!

Many students enroll in a family science major and know exactly what they want to do when they graduate.  Whether it is child life, marriage and family therapy, social work, or law school we have a good number of students who have a clear understanding of why they chose this major.  This course was created for those students who have not yet reached that point. Students who are passionate about families or have always wanted to work with children, but they are not sure how or in what capacity to do so.

For more information on the foundation of this course, please read: Myers-Wall, J. A., Ballard, S. M., Darling, C. A., & Myers-Bowman, K. S. (2011). Reconceptualizing the domain and boundaries of family life education. Family Relations, 60, 357-372.


Image credit: College Degrees 360 CC BY-SA 2.0 https://www.flickr.com/photos/83633410@N07/7658298768







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