University of Alberta

Human Ecology

About the Program

Last Updated: 
September 06, 2013

Human Ecology is an interdisciplinary department that offers a holistic systems approach to examine the interrelationships that individuals and families have with social, economic, and political factors and conditions. This student-centered, research intensive department offers a BSc in Human Ecology with a major in Family Ecology (minors in Aging, Child and Youth Studies, Community Diversity, Community Ecology, Community Nutrition, International Development), MSc in Aging, MSc in Family Ecology and Practice, and a PhD in Human Ecology (with streams in Aging and Children, Youth and Families). Undergraduate and graduate programs focus on individuals and families across the life course, and on the development and evaluation of policy and programs to enhance individual and family well-being. Research programs focus on understanding the physical, economic, and social aspects of aging with a focus on aging well, and on enhancing the health and well-being of children, youth, and families across the life course with an emphasis on vulnerable groups.

Program Overview

Program Administrator: 
Dr. Deanna Williamson
Department Emphasis: 
Area Percentage
  Family Science40%
  Human Development20%
  Policy & Programs20%
Campus Enrollment: 
Programs Options: 
Undergraduate, Master's, Doctoral

Undergraduate Program

Program Options: 
  • Family Ecology
  • Aging (minor)
  • Child & Youth Studies (minor)
  • Community Diversity (minor)
  • Community Ecology (minor)
  • Community Nutrition (minor)
  • International Development (minor)
Courses Offered: 
  • Introduction to Principles and Practice in Human Ecology
  • Intimate Relationships
  • Human Sexuality
  • Later Life Families
  • Policy Development and Evaluation
  • Program Planning and Evaluation
  • Parent-Child Relationships
  • Family Dynamics
  • Introduction to Family Finance
  • Family Economic Issues
  • Issues in Professional Practice
  • Interviewing and Counseling
  • Family Challenges
  • Working with Families
  • Seniors and their Environment
  • Family Policy Issues
  • Family Law
  • 200-Hour Practicum Placement

Graduate Program

Dr. Deanna Williamson
Courses Offered: 
  • Ways of Knowing in Human Ecology
  • Fundamentals of Aging
  • Issues and Trends in Family Ecology & Practice
  • Family Challenges
  • Family Health and Wellness
  • Families and Aging
  • Theory in Family Ecology
  • Development and Analysis of Family Policy
  • Program Planning and Evaluation
  • Research Methods for Investigating Causal Relationships
  • Professional Seminar Series
  • Directed Research Project
  • Graduate Practicum

Master's Level

Program Options: 
  • Aging (Thesis or Course-Based Programs)
  • Family Ecology & Practice (Thesis or Course-Based Programs)

Degrees offered: Master of Science in Aging or Master of Science in Family Ecology and Practice.

Doctoral Level

Program Options: 
  • Human Ecology (Streams in either Aging or Children, Youth and Families)


Faculty at University of Alberta