FSS Specialization Descriptions
The degree in Family Social Sciences gives you a breadth of knowledge through a wide variety of courses that are required for the major. You also get a depth of knowledge by selecting one or more "specializations".   You need at least one specialization to be able to graduate. There are 5 options to help you to design your own program, tailoring it to reflect your interests and where you want your future to take you.


  • Aging & Developmental Health
  • Child & Youth Developmental Health
  • Family Economic Health
  • Family Violence
  • Social Development

Aging & Developmental Health
People are living longer today than ever before.  Our aging society presents unique challenges and opportunities. Examine the psychological, physical and social impact of aging on families and society. Learn ways of promoting healthy aging. This specialization will prepare you to work with seniors in community settings or in government. This specialization is linked to the University of Manitoba Interfaculty Option in Aging.

Child & Youth Developmental Health
Childhood sets the foundation for life. Learn how to promote child wellness. Examine parent-child and peer relationships. Understand vulnerability and resilience to early stress. Explore ways of preventing long-term psychological and social difficulties in children and youth. This specialization will prepare you to work with children and youth at risk, to support and assist parents, and to develop programs that will improve child and youth well being.

Family Economic Health
Economic forces have profound impacts on the health of families and communities. Today, one in nine children is growing up in poverty, the average household debt equals 151% of disposable income, and 60% of Canadians would be in financial trouble if their paycheques were delayed by even one week. These financial stresses are manifested in a variety of ways, including higher likelihood of cardiovascular disease, obesity, child mental health difficulties, depression and a host of other problems. The stress of income insecurity is amplified in vulnerable families, such as those living with chronic illness or disabilities, families with senior members in need of care, and Indigenous and immigrant families. FEH graduates are prepared to develop and evaluate programming for the diverse organizations that are increasingly engaged in supporting families under economic stress. 

Family Violence
Reducing violence is one of the most important challenges facing our society. The course offerings in this specialization focus on the causes, outcomes and prevention of conflict and violence in families. Learn about the effects of parental violence on children. Understand the dynamics of partner abuse, conflict among siblings, abuse of the elderly and child neglect. Explore solutions to family conflict and violence.
This specialization will prepare you to work in areas such as child protection, administration of women’s shelters and other victim service organizations, violence prevention or policy analysis.

Social Development
Poverty and inequality have powerful effects on human health.  Understand the importance of government policies on family well-being.   Focus your studies on indigenous communities in all parts of the world.   Explore environmental issues and sustainable development.  Learn about the impact of war on children and families.  This specialization will prepare you to work with humanitarian organizations, community agencies and different levels of government.  As a specialist in this area, you will be able to develop, implement and deliver programs that can make a real difference to individuals, children and families around the globe.

To see the courses that you will need to complete these specializations, please see the program planning page.