Psychology with Family Studies Concentration

  • Credits: 120
  • Degree:
    Bachelor of Arts

Program Description

The Bachelor of Arts in Psychology is set within a broad-based liberal arts framework that has a strong interdisciplinary and humanistic foundation. The curriculum is a solid preparation for professional application in clinical, educational and human services, while also serving as a strong foundation for more specialized application and focus at the graduate level. 

Courses in family studies provide the knowledge and skills needed by practitioners to work effectively with the many demands families today are facing. Our emphasis on building on strengths and respecting and valuing what is important to families while providing care in a culturally humble way, serves to empower families as students learn how to assist them in the changes they are seeking. Students who focus in this area often go on to further studies in human growth and development, human services, social work, marriage and family therapy, and family policy. Students may focus on working with families or family members, on family development, advocacy, case management, or policy.

Program  Outcomes

The psychology major prepares students for life-long learning, critical thinking and effective action in the field and helps them develop a wide range of career options and skills that emerge from a broad and comprehensive grounding in psychology as the science of human behavior. An important feature of the program is personal reflection and application of new psychological knowledge and insights to new contexts. Given the scope, intensity and rapidity of social, cultural and technological changes in our world, the need to increase our understanding of the widest possible range of human experience and behavior has never been greater or more critical.

Specific skills gained and learning outcomes within the Psychology Program with Family Studies concentration include:  

  • Fundamental understanding of the historical development and methodologies of psychology with Family Studies concentration
  • Understanding and basic knowledge of major psychological theories, concepts and processes
  • Understanding learning theory and cognition, personality, motivation and group theories
  • Understand a variety of perspectives regarding mental health, psychopathology, maladaptive behaviors and psychotherapy
  • Understand the roles of cultural, social and historical forces in shaping behavior
  • Understanding and basic knowledge of major theories, concepts and processes relating to working with families
  • Understanding of a variety of perspectives regarding mental health, social and cultural influences, and economic impacts on families

Careers and Further Study

Our graduates are well positioned to enter graduate studies in psychology, counseling, social work and related fields, human services, psychology, counseling, social work and related fields.  

The health and human service industry has been identified by the Bureau of Labor Statistics as an area of increasing growth in the 21st century. Students concentrating in Family Studies may find themselves working and leading in a variety of settings — with adolescents in residential programs or with the elderly in nursing homes, in the community or in health centers, as program directors, as case managers or outreach workers. They work in prevention or in treatment, in after-school programs or criminal justice programs.

Program Chair

Michael Siegell


General Education - required courses

WRT101-102 and MAT101-102 may by waived if equivalent courses have been accepted in transfer. Credits will be replaced with open electives. WRT201 required if both WRT101-102 are waived; not required for students completing WRT101-102 at Cambridge. WRT090 and MAT100 required if assessment indicates need.

Principles and Processes of Adult Learning
LRN 175 3 credit(s)
Students explore theories of adult learning. They clarify the fit between their academic program and their learning and career needs, and see how their prior learning fits in. They assess their academic skills of critical thinking, mathematics, writing, and computer literacy. Students become independent learners who can effectively manage the structures, processes and expectations of undergraduate education.
College Writing I
WRT 101 3 credit(s)
Through challenging readings, class discussion, small group col­laboration, and different forms of writing, students learn the skills and process of “thinking on paper.” They learn to construct an argument or discussion that supports a clear thesis and present it effectively in a well-organized essay that observes the conventions of written English. They write academic papers that analyze and synthesize the issues suggested in two or more readings. Critical reading, critical thinking, research skills, and forms of documentation are also introduced.
Foundations of Critical Thinking
CTH 225 3 credit(s)
We learn to engage in reasoned thinking. We learn to formulate hypotheses; conceive and state definitions, and understand logical consistency and inconsistency. We explore the differences between claims of fact, value, and policy; what constitutes credible evidence; the nature of assumptions. We learn what constitutes a persuasive argument as opposed to an emotive and propagandistic one, and critically examine them. Students learn to present clear, well thought out critical arguments in writing and oral presentations. We look at the relationships among thinking, writing, speaking and listening, laying a strong foundation for improving our capacity to write, speak, and listen well.
College Mathematics I
MAT 101 3 credit(s)
Prerequisite: MAT100 If assessment indicates need. This course introduces students to the value of mathematics for students’ career and educational goals. Students will acquire mathematical study skills, gain strategies for problem solving, and develop a sound foundation for future mathematics coursework. The course is structured towards engaging students in active, applied, and real-life learning in order to facilitate mathematical problem solving and conceptual understanding.
Introduction to Computer Applications
CMP 130 3 credit(s)
Assessment available. This course provides a hands-on introduction to the personal computer, Windows, word processing, spreadsheet, presentation software, the Internet, and an overview of Word, Excel and Power-Point uses. Students begin with the basics of each application and progress through intermediate level.
College Writing II
WRT 102 3 credit(s)
WRT102 acquaints students with the academic research paper as both process and product. The course begins with an intensive review of the strategies and techniques for writing an academic essay that are covered in WRT101 and then moves to selecting and narrowing a topic, preliminary research, and establishing a focus for a 12-15 page argument research paper. The final paper includes an abstract, an introduction, discussion, conclusion, and references. Students learn how to write an annotated bibliography and use APA documentation for in-text citations and references.
College Mathematics II
MAT 102 3 credit(s)
Prerequisite: MAT101 If assessment indicates need. Challenge exam available. This course develops students’ mathematical thinking and problem solving around issues of both mathematical content and process. Students will acquire a conceptual and practical understanding of and familiarity with numbers and operations, algebra, geometry, measurement, and basic data analysis and probability. The course focuses on supporting students’ understanding of problem solving, reasoning and proof, communication, connections, and representations. A key feature of the course is active student involvement to support communicating mathematics in everyday and academic contexts.
General Education - distribution requirements

Arts & Humanities - 6 credits

Natural & Physical Sciences - 6 credits

Social Sciences - 6 credits

Open Electives

Choose electives and/or concentrations available at your location to support your academic interests and professional goals. (Course prerequisites must also be met.)

Psychology Major

In addition to the courses below, choose 15 credits of psychology electives.

Formative Ideas in Psychology
PSY 120 3 credit(s)
The CLEP exam in Introductory Psychology is accepted as equivalent. The field of psychology is introduced and the historical development of psychology as an academic discipline and as a professional career are surveyed. The major fields of psychology are explored and applied to understanding human beings as individuals, and as members of groups, and communities. The major methods of psychological research are introduced, including data collection and analysis.
Groups and Social Psychology
PSY 130 3 credit(s)
The nature and quality of individual experience can only be fully understood when simultaneously observed in its social context. This course introduces the essential sociological perspective that grows out of the psychological study of individuals and their experiences of groups, group behavior, and group membership. This perspective becomes an essential component of psychological understanding, especially as it relates to education, growth, and development. Students gain conceptual and practical knowledge of the ways groups form and develop, how they function and vie with each other, and the multi-dimensional influences groups have upon our lives.
Developmental Psychology
PSY 210 3 credit(s)
The CLEP exam in Human Growth and Development is accepted as equivalent. This course helps students understand the ways in which people from various cultures and countries develop and change over their lifetimes. Students focus on particular topics such as cognition, social development, or identity, and follow the topic across the lifespan. In this way, we get away from a “stage theory” approach and focus instead on the variety of ways that people live out developmental scripts. Students are introduced to terms and concepts which are basic to a cross-cultural view of development, such as developmental orientation, cross-cultural “perspective,” and a systems approach. These concepts are applied to each topic area, so that students learn, for example, how cognitive development is affected by living in different cultures and how one’s identity is influenced by the various systems within which we live. In addition to reviewing readings and discussion, each class features a group exercise to help students understand and apply information and concepts.
Psychology of Learning
PSY 310 3 credit(s)
The conditions of learning are explored, from the prenatal through adolescence and early adulthood, emphasizing cognitive and emo­tional development. Current views of behavioral change and the learn­ing process are introduced. The theoretical models of Piaget, Pavlov, and Erickson are covered. Students formulate original ideas and incorporate established theories to develop a better understanding of concepts and assist with transferring theory into practice. Topics include the nature-nurture controversy, Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, effects of prenatal development on learning, cultural and environmental effects of development, and multicultural awareness.
Research in Psychology
PSY 315 3 credit(s)
Strongly recommended: at least two psychology courses including PSY120 or permission of instructor. This course introduces students to the major research findings that have had significant influence on the development of psychology as the science of human behavior throughout the twentieth century. Students will learn about the history and philosophy of specific research topics, research questions and methodologies and how they have affected the scope and direction of psychological knowledge and the practice of psychology as a profession. Particular attention is paid to the impact of culture and epistemological models implicit in both quantitative and qualitative research methodologies and how they have influenced the direction of research in the field of psychology.
Theories of Personality
PSY 325 3 credit(s)
Students are introduced to conceptual models which serve as a basis for understanding personality development and working in the helping fields. the major dimensions of personality development are presented: biological, psychological, cultural, and social-structural. In each instance, case examples are discussed to illustrate theory. Illness and health models of helping are presented and compared, with particular emphasis on the public health, or prevention model. students create a mini-prevention program, as either an individual or group project.
Themes in Adult Development
PSY 402 3 credit(s)
This course explores the development of emotional maturity, using concepts drawn from biological psychology, psychoanalytical theory, and cognitive-behavioral theory. The class identifies biological underpinnings of emotional maturity and focuses on early development, roadblocks, and unconscious pressures that contribute to the development of, resistance to, or retardation of emotional intelligence. Small groups study emotional maturity in the context of counseling, teaching, or the workplace.
Perspectives in Psychopathology
PSY 412 3 credit(s)
This course surveys the history of attempts to categorize “deviance,” introduces the current model which emphasizes pathology, and discusses selected syndromes (e.g. schizophrenia, depression). We also look at the mental health practices and social service systems for adults and children that have historically resulted from diverse concepts of “abnormal” behavior. Students explore the stress, coping, and resiliency model for viewing human behavior. This paradigm looks at the whole person, with both strengths and deficits, in an environment with factors that foster or debilitate resiliency. Students use this holistic model to assess individual case studies and develop strengths-focused intervention strategies. They grapple with the complexity of individual lives and the mysterious human psyche, and actual cases.
Psychology Capstone
PSY 490 3 credit(s)
Prerequisites: 90 credits minimum, including WRT101 and WRT102. The Capstone is a comprehensive research project which is the culminating academic activity that helps to synthesize students’ learning in the undergraduate psychology program. It is an opportunity to explore a topic of personal or professional interest in psychology and to create an original project or piece of research that contributes to the field. The Capstone is 25-30 pages in length and follows a research paper format appropriate to the field of study. Students work together in class and meet or communicate individually with the instructor as needed. Those who take an additional term to complete the Capstone must register for PSY491 and pass before graduating.
Concentration: Family Studies

Concentrations are accepted as open electives (see above).

In addition to the courses below, choose 6 credits of BHS electives.

Family Life Cycle
BHS 400 3 credit(s)
Theories of growth and development are introduced and applied to the study of individuals and families. The impact of socioeconomic, cultural, ethnic, and social issues on the life cycle is discussed, emphasizing the diversity of developmental schemas. Physical, moral, cognitive, behavioral, and psychosocial development of individuals are addressed in the context of family development. Students trace developmental patterns and identify factors which facilitate or impede growth, using examples from their personal and professional lives.
Family Interventions
BHS 366 3 credit(s)
How workers intervene with families matters. This course focuses on strategies for engaging families. Students learn how to apply a strengths-based approach in helping families achieve their goals. Students will learn from others in the field who work directly with families in a variety of situations. The Family Development Curriculum (FDC) for working with families fulfills the requirement for this course.
Families with Special Needs
BHS 430 3 credit(s)
Students learn about the biological, situational, and psycho-social conditions defined as “special needs,” and analyze their impact on families, communities, and other childhood environments. The history of governmental response and current laws and regulations applicable to this area are reviewed. Students become familiar with the com­ponents of individual and community programs that address special needs, including assessment and rehabilitation planning and the design of appropriate environments. Concepts of “family focus” and “family practice” are emphasized, and students hear from and interact with a number of community experts. Students develop a case study, either individually or in a group, to be presented in professionally written form and orally, in class.
Ethical Issues in Working With Families
BHS 365 3 credit(s)
This course explores current ethical issues that are common when working with families in a human service setting, such as child and elder abuse reporting, mandatory treatment, involuntary treatment, duty to warn requirements, research, and privacy. In addition, six areas of ethical concern are covered, including: professionals’ competence, confidentiality, accountability, client welfare, emotional health/personal wellness, and financial concerns. Students begin to understand various aspects of ethical debates, as well as the foundations the arguments are based on. The goal of this class is to increase awareness of the ethical issues within human services and develop a broader understanding of the debates. The ultimate goal is to prepare students to address client needs more holistically and to engage in public discourse on the issues.


  • Admission Test:

    Passing grade on TOEFL (English language proficiency test) is required for international students.

  • Admissions Office:
  • Application:
  • Application Fee:
    $50, nonrefundable ($100 for international students)

General Requirements

Official Transcript: High school or GED
One Completed Recommendation Form
Personal Statement

Learn more about General Requirements 

State Requirements

College students are required to comply with state laws regarding individual health insurance and immunization. Compliance requirements currently exist for students in Massachusetts, Virginia and Tennessee. Learn more

International Students – Additional Requirements

International Students will need to complete supplemental documentation when applying. International transcripts must also be translated prior to submission in order to be evaluated for applicability. Learn more about international student requirements.

Transfer Credit Request Form

Only needed if you wish to have prior course work evaluated for transfer credit. Learn more about transferring credits.


  • Credits:
  • Cost per credit hour:
  • Application Fee:
    $50, nonrefundable ($100 for international students)
  • Graduation Fee:
    $110 (charged in last term)

Note: Rates are as of September 2013, and are subject to change without notice. Rates apply to all students, unless otherwise noted.

Financial Aid

Cambridge College offers financial aid to students in our degree programs who are enrolled at least half time. Undergraduate students must be enrolled in at least 6 credits each term. Graduate and doctoral students must be enrolled in at least 4 credits each term. Learn more

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