The Family Studies program provides a systematic approach to observing, understanding, and analyzing close relationships and families within their individual, social, and historical contexts. A major goal of the program is to prepare students for careers in the family field in teaching, research, and direct service. Students may participate in wide-ranging faculty research projects using diverse methodologies and dealing with issues such as intimate relationships, work and family issues, later life families, divorce and remarriage, incarceration, intergenerational relationships, family diversity over the life course, human sexuality, feminist analysis of families and intersectionality (e.g., race, ethnicity, nationality), families and technology, family approaches to prevention of substance abuse, and family policy.

The doctoral program follows a mentoring model whereby students work closely with a faculty mentor in developing research and instructional competencies. Programs of study are individualized, permitting inclusion of significant course work in specific subjects related to marriage and family relationships across the life course in departmental offerings such as child development, gerontology, and therapy as well as in other departments within the university.

Faculty members encourage students to actively participate in research and the publication process as co-presenters and authors. Students in the program are offered collaborative roles in data collection, coding human behaviors, data analyses, national presentations, and publishing manuscripts. Family Studies faculty are also leaders in diversity research and education at Virginia Tech, securing funds at the university level to implement programs for the recruitment and retention of minority faculty and to create a more inclusive academic and living environment for all. Please visit our faculty members’ individual pages on the Human Development website to see recent publications, research interests, areas of expertise, and to learn more about their scholarship and contributions.