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Families play a significant part in individuals’ lives and society. In sociology, one approach is to view families as a small group, focusing on relational processes like support, socialization, conflict, and intimacy that constitute interactions among family members. Another approach views the family as a major social institution that interacts closely with other institutions including those affecting education, law, healthcare, religion, the economy, criminal justice, and welfare. The family-in its varied and diverse forms-is also key to understanding how inequality is experienced and reproduced in society, as substantial responsibility for caring, nurturing, and raising others is delegated to families. The interplay of these multiple levels-the micro or interpersonal, the meso or institutional, and the macro or structural-also interest sociologists, as individuals influence social structures and institutions, and the latter, in turn, affect family interactions and relationships. This certificate provides students a foundation for understanding the complex role of families and family members at multiple levels, as well as the social systems and organizations responsible for supporting families and individuals. The content and methods courses will prepare students for direct service positions working with individuals and families (e.g., human and social services), or research, policy or advocacy positions addressing family issues (e.g., housing, violence and abuse, parenting, social welfare). Students earning the certificate also will be well-positioned to pursue advanced degrees in social work, public health, counseling, law, sociology, or related disciplines.
Upon successful completion of the certificate, students will:
- Recognize the diversity of family structures within and across cultures
- Understand the theoretical perspectives explaining family behavior and relationships, and those addressing differences in the institution of the family across cultures and over time
- Be familiar with current trends in family structure, and recent research on family functioning and well-being, and how family research informs advocacy and policy work, and social welfare programs
- Be able to apply the technical skills of their methodological training to conduct analyses about families and family life, and outcomes assessments for social welfare programs aimed at helping families
- Engage in original research projects involving family-related issues
This is an on-campus or online program.
Declaring This Certificate
- Eligibility: While housed in Sociology, the study of families and social welfare is in fact a multidisciplinary field that draws from diverse liberal arts fields, including Psychology, Political Science, Communications, and History, among others. Thus, CU Denver undergraduate students in any discipline can enroll in the certificate program. The certificate is also available to non-degree-seeking students who already have earned a BA or BS degree, either at CU Denver or elsewhere.
- Application procedures: Students are encouraged to apply for the Families and Social Welfare Certificate at any point in their undergraduate studies. To apply, students should print and attach a completed Families and Social Welfare Certificate Application to an unofficial transcript. These documents should be submitted to the Families and Social Welfare Certificate Administrator. Once the application is approved, students will be contacted about their acceptance into the program.
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