BASc - Family Studies and Human Development (FSHD)

FSHD Course Requirements
FSHD Overview
Learning Approach and Experiential Learning
Practicums in Family Studies and Human Development (FSHD)

Family Studies and Human Development (FSHD) Course Requirements

Family Studies and Human Development (FSHD) course requirements and course offerings are subject to change each year. Course requirements of your program are found in the Academic Undergraduate Calendar for the year in which you started your program. Here are the current FSHD course requirements.

Family Studies and Human Development (FSHD) Overview

The Family Studies and Human Development (FSHD) major focuses on the development of individuals and families across the lifespan within the context of relationships, and diverse social and cultural influences. This interdisciplinary program is designed to provide students with an understanding of the influence of psychological, social, biological, and economic factors on individual health, well-being, and relationships across the lifespan. Guaranteed practicum placement(s) enable students to gain knowledge and skills appropriate for work with individuals and groups in a variety of settings, completing up to 336 hours of practical experience. Restricted electives allow students to focus their studies on one or more content areas including:

  1. Adult Development and Gerontology
  2. Sexuality and Relationships
  3. Youth Studies.

You can also declare a minor.

Through the effective use of elective courses, the core requirements in the major can be supplemented to create a program of study that will prepare graduates for a variety of careers working with individuals and their families. Graduates pursue careers in a variety of settings including family and community service agencies; government; research institutions; health promotion divisions; support services delivery for individuals and their families; health and social care agencies; employee and family assistance programs; and local social planning councils. Many graduates go on to pursue graduate education in fields such as social work, human sexuality, gerontology, public health, occupational therapy, speech language pathology, recreation therapy, family law and mediation, couple and family therapy, education, social policy, and family relations and human development.

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The Learning Approach and Experiential Learning

Our courses involve you in current research and theory broadly in family studies and human development. You will have the opportunity to deepen your studies in one or more of the content areas, and you can also declare a minor, and/or choose electives in a related or complementary field. Field placements and community service-learning opportunities will enable you to gain knowledge, skills and values to work effectively with individuals and groups in a variety of settings.

There are also multiple ways to get research experience as part of your undergraduate studies. For students considering graduate school this may be especially important.

FRHD*3500 Research Internship 
This course will give students a direct, initial experience in conducting research in Family Relations and Human Development. The internship focuses on familiarizing students with the research process and building research skills through active engagement in research under the direct guidance of a FRAN faculty member.  Students find a FRAN professor to give them an internship and then contact the BASc Undergraduate Program Assistant ( to get registered in the course.

FRHD*4810 Thesis I  
An undergraduate thesis is a good way to see if you like research and to begin to develop research skills. Students plan, develop and write a research proposal under individual FRAN faculty supervision. The topic is decided by the student in consultation with the supervisory FRAN faculty member before course selection or registration period. In their 5th or 6th semester, students find a FRAN professor to supervise them and then contact the BASc Undergraduate Program Assistant ( to get registered in the course.  It is recommended you approach a FRAN faculty member well in advance with a copy of your unofficial transcript, your resume, and a summary of your research interests. 

FRHD*4910 Thesis II  
Students conduct and write an undergraduate thesis under the direction of a FRAN faculty member. 

The University of Guelph’s FSHD program prepares its graduates well for working in the field of Family Studies and Human Development. Its blend of practical and classroom components is unsurpassed by similar programs. We hope you find this program an enjoyable and rewarding educational experience!

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Practicums in Family Studies and Human Development (FSHD)

The practicum courses are a unique component of the BASc undergraduate degree.  The FSHD program has a required practicum in third year (FRHD*3290), as well as an optional practicum in fourth year (FRHD*4290) in the areas of youth, young adults, families, and seniors. An important course that prepares students to go into the practicum is FRHD*2400, Introduction to Human Services, offered in the Winter of the second year of study.  It is within this course that students prepare to be placed within one of the many human services organizations that provide experiential learning opportunities to students.

In both third and fourth year, students are placed within a range of human services organizations, working alongside professionals and receiving ongoing feedback and supervision. It is this experience that enables students to integrate what they learn in the classroom with professional practice.  Some examples of what FSHD majors may do in third and fourth year practica include: 

  • support clients experiencing mental health issues in the local community garden project, or explore their creativity and its role in the healing process in a local art-based program
  • develop, implement and evaluate recreation programs for seniors in a local retirement facility
  • recruit and train leadership volunteers and present seminars on the value of volunteering
  • develop and implement sexual health education programs to young adults

The BASc Practicum Coordinator connects with students, field instructors and faculty to deliver the practicum component of both undergraduate majors. They meet with students to match student interest and learning objectives with available placements. They meet with field instructors and organization representatives to support and cultivate field placements that meet both student and community needs. They also teach a number of practicum courses and contribute to curriculum development and evaluation. For information about undergraduate practicum contact   519-824-4120 x53970

Students must have the consent of the practicum coordinator or designate to take practicum courses. Once the intention to register for the practicum is confirmed, the Practicum Coordinator matches students with the available placement. In order to take the practicum course, students must get a course waiver signed to register for the course and submit all required documentation for their particular placements (including, but not limited to, police check with vulnerable sector query, immunization records, etc.). The practicum coordinator communicates about these requirements with students in the summer prior to the fall and winter placements. Sometimes students decide to study part time or take courses out of sequence. It is essential that students who do so be in touch with the practicum coordinator.  

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