The objective of the graduate program in family studies is to prepare students for careers in teaching, research, and/or governmental or community service focusing on families and family relations. The program gives students insights into the complexities of contemporary families, the historical development of family systems, and the social psychological and demographic processes that influence and are influenced by family phenomena. All graduate students in family studies are encouraged to develop a professional orientation toward teaching, research, and publication through direct involvement in the activities of the faculty. Family studies may be selected as either a major or minor area of study in the doctoral program.
Quantitative research has become the dominant paradigm in the field for the investigation of sociological topics. Those intending to conduct research in the field need to have the statistical/methodological tools at their disposal to accomplish this task. Quantitative methods is offered as a minor area of concentration for PhD students. The minor is designed to give students a solid grounding in the spectrum of statistical techniques that are most frequently used in sociology, including analysis of variance, linear regression, regression with limited dependent variables, structural equation modeling, demographic techniques, and similar topics. In addition to these topics taught within the department, students are encouraged to seek similar coursework outside the department, particularly in the departments of applied statistics and psychology, or in the school of education. Students attaining this minor should be able to be knowledgeable users of basic and advanced statistical techniques in their own research. Moreover, they should have the skills to teach courses in quantitative methods at the undergraduate or beginning graduate level, as well as to serve as statistical resources for faculty and students, at their own institutions.
The graduate program in social psychology focuses on the reciprocal relationship between the individual and society. The objective of the social psychology program is to give interested students a solid background in general social psychology with a special emphasis on the issues and substantive topics associated with the sociological social psychological perspective. Although the program emphasizes that all social psychology students should develop solid theoretical knowledge and research techniques, the guiding principle of the program is flexibility. One of the strengths of social psychology is the scope of topics within its purview, and one of the strengths of the social psychology program is the willingness of faculty to guide students in the selection of coursework which is most compatible with their own interests. Aside from employment in universities or other agencies of higher education, graduates of the Social Psychology program will have valuable skills related to such diverse areas as public opinion, mass communications, consumer behavior and public health. All graduate students in the social psychology program are encouraged to develop a professional orientation toward research and publication through direct involvement in the activities of the faculty.