Family Science is, Relationship-Focused; Evidence-Based; Strengths-Oriented; Preventive; Applied

“Family Science is the scientific study of families and close interpersonal relationships, with a history spanning more than 100 years -The National Council on Family Relations (NCFR).”

What exactly is Family Science?

Family Science is applied. Family Science use their knowledge in the real world to help strengthen all families, in many diverse contexts. Learn more at Family Science is the study of families and is a social science. Family science focuses on understanding relationships and interactions among family members, in all types of families. Knowing how to have healthy family relationships can help families to function better.

  • Helps us to understand how conflicts affect relationships between parents and children, and how to handle those conflicts effective.
  • Family science looks specifically within families at the crucial elemental relationships among family members. Whereas other social sciences might study how an Individual deals with a conflict, or how society influences conflict resolution.
  • Focuses on interactions among family members and how those relationships affect the family as a whole.
  • Focus family systems theory, which uses systems thinking to describe the complex relationships and interactions within family units.

“Our families often have a bigger influence on our lives than anyone else, that’s why Family Science is so important” -NCFR

Uniqueness of Family Science

The main thing that sets Family Science apart is that it focuses on relationships and interactions among family members, and the positive and negative effects those relationship and interactions can have within families. Family Science also focuses on a couple of other concepts that make it unique:

  • Prevention. Family Science often focuses on preventing problems before they occur, versus intervention where a problem already exists. Even if you are working with families and a problems already exists, it’s still important to understand how to put measure in place to prevent the existing problem from happening again after it’s resolved.
  • Strengths. Family Science tries to look at the strengths of families already have and how to build on those strengths, whereas other field might focus more on identifying and fixing problems.

Family Science is Strengths-Oriented. Family Scientists see that all families have strengths, not just problems to be fixed. Family Scientists focus on how families can build on their strengths to be sustainable and self-sufficient. Learn more at

Family Science is Preventive. Many Family Scientists focus on preventing problems by applying expertise about healthy family functioning. Learn more at

Why Get a Family Science Degree?

  • Explore the specific of family: family formations, functions, dynamics, issues, challenges, and more.
  • Gain strong family-specific knowledge and skills for your career: strengthening family relationships, building on families’ strengths, using prevention education, translating and applying research findings and evidence-based information, and more
  • Understand how family research, theory and practice work are related and inform each other.
  • Receive training to identify programs and practice that are research-based or evidence-based, and learn to evaluate the effectiveness of programs and practices.
  • Get experimental training and learning through internships or service learning.
  • Get knowledge and skills that can apply to anyone’s life within their family and close interpersonal relationships.

Job Prospects

People with Family Science backgrounds can work in many types of jobs:

  • Professional practitioner jobs working directly with families: for example, parent educator, marriage and family therapist, case manager with a social service organization, private practice, and consulting.
  • Research: to better understand families.
  • Teaching about families: either in the community or at a college or university.
  • Policy jobs: that shape policies affecting families, government agencies-administrative or human services, military-related organizations, courts, and corrections system.
  • Health: Health clinics or agencies, hospitals.
  • Schools: K-12, early childhood, colleges, and universities.

To learn more, please visit

We are family life educators; We are cooperative extension agents; We are Researchers; We are directors of aging services; We are medical family therapists; We are Family Science

FCS Department

2515 Campus Road
Miller Hall 110

Honolulu, HI 96822

phone: 808-956-8105

fax: 808-956-2239


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