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Consumer Studies Major

Be prepared to advocate for consumer interests and to help improve their wellbeing.

Be prepared to advocate for consumer interests and to help improve their wellbeing.

Graduates are prepared to analyze issues and problems from the perspective of consumers, business, and government. You’ll learn to advocate for consumer interests, track economic, social, and political changes, and help consumers improve their personal and financial well-being.

17:1 

STUDENT-FACULTY RATIO

24

 AVERAGE UPPER-LEVEL CLASS SIZE

88% 

OF STUDENTS COMPLETE INTERNSHIPS

1 of 4 

AMERICA SAVES COLLEGE CAMPUS PROGRAMS

Total Credit Hours: 120

AHRM Core Requirements (19 hours)

Consumer Studies Requirements (24 hours)

Consumer Studies Electives (15 hours)

General Education (45 hours)

Free Electives (17 hours)

What You'll Study

  • 120 credit hours for a bachelor of science degree, including Virginia Tech's Pathways 
  • 24 credits of AHRM courses, including:
    • Economic Well-Being 
    • Product Analysis
    • Business Fundamentals
  • 15 credits of approved electives, including:
    • Consumer Product and Promotion
    • Consumer Financial Services and Counseling
  • 3 credits of action learning via study abroad, field study, independent study, or undergraduate research

Curious how the degree requirements will fit into your experience at Virginia Tech? See the roadmaps below for a sample schedule of courses each year. Your academic advisor will help you create a personalized version based on your goals and other areas of interest. The individualized plan will also include your AP, IB, dual enrollment, or transfer credit.

Related Links

What Is a Degree in Consumer Studies?

Graduates are prepared to analyze issues and problems from the perspective of consumers, business, and government. You'll learn to advocate for consumer interests, track economic, social, and political changes, and help consumers improve their personal and financial well-being.

Why Learn Consumer Studies Here?

You might like this major if you're interested in fields like advertising, market research, public relations, management, or government. A consumer studies degree provides a core professional curriculum of business and consumer courses and opportunities for hands-on learning. This major is close-knit, which allows you to be close to classmates and professors as you do hands-on projects and activities in class.

Beyond the Classroom

Collaborate

Talk to a professor about designing your own research project or investigating a topic that interests you. You'll work closely with a faculty mentor to plan a course of action, discuss your findings, and write a report. You can also participate in a collaborative project, where you assist a faculty member with their research. 

 

collaborate

Get Experience

By working in the field, you'll earn job experience and learn more about the industry. Students have recently interned with local businesses, national corporations, and market research firms.

 

Get Experience

Facilities

The Consumer Education Lab is a flexible space where you can research, plan, and develop consumer education materials and strategies. It facilitates one-on-one and small group consumer education. Activities include group meetings, participating in webinars, peer budget counseling, and editing videos. 

 

Facilities

Strong Community

Our faculty has a mix of industry professionals and teaching and research scholars. Whether your interests are in a career as a market researcher, financial planning, or going on to get a Ph.D., there's a mentor for you here. 

 

Strong Community

Consumer Studies at Virginia Tech is one of the AFCPE's Registered Education Programs. By completing a two-course education program, students are qualified to take the Accredited Financial Counselor® (AFC®) certification exam. The AFC® certification marks the highest standard of excellence in the field of financial counseling and education.

Financial counselors specialize in navigating everyday financial challenges and building effective financial habits. They have the education and experience to help an individual or family – from any background or income level – overcome an immediate financial crisis, create an effective spending plan, overcome debt, build savings, and identify ineffective money management behaviors.

Financial counseling believes that the best financial advice considers more than just dollars and cents. The AFC® certification helps financial counselors better understand how diverse backgrounds, perspectives, and experiences impact a client’s money behaviors.

Interested in pursuing the AFC® Certification? Here's how!
1. Complete the following two courses at Virginia Tech:
- CONS 2304 Consumer and Family Finances
- CONS 4324 Financial Counseling
2. Pass the AFC® certifying exam. 
3. Work 1,000 hours in financial counseling or financial education.
4. Agree to abide by the AFC® Code of Ethics.

Questions? Contact Kevin Cheng.  

Students studying

What Our Students Are Saying

Careers and Further Study

What do I do with a consumer studies major?

Consumer studies majors are passionate about educating the public or working on behalf of consumers to ensure safety and greater well-being. Having the skills to think critically, analyze problems, innovate solutions, and work collaboratively prepares our graduates for jobs. With internship experience and lots of opportunities to study independently or abroad, our students have a headstart on the competition when they graduate.

Some organizations hiring recent graduates include:

  • American Red Cross
  • Consumer Federation of America
  • Consumer Product Safety Commission
  • Consumers Union
  • Cooperative Extension
  • Society of Consumer Affairs Professionals International
  • Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services
  • Enterprise Cars
  • Ryan Homes
  • Sherwin Williams