University of Waterloo

Sexuality, Marriage, & Family Studies
Last Updated

Sexuality, Marriage, and Family Studies (SMF) is housed at St. Jerome's which was the founding college of the University of Waterloo. It addresses human interactions within relational and sexual contexts. It examines not only basic anatomical knowledge and sexual health, but also the formation and maintenance of relationships, parenting skills, and the impact of culture on sexual and family-related values, ideas, and attitudes. Issues that are rarely discussed in secondary education are studied in-depth; some examples include the effects of pornography on societal attitudes, family conflict and its escalation to violence, and sexual dysfunctions. An SMF plan of studies will be of interest to those considering a career as a social worker, sex educator, school teacher, family lawyer, or any occupation where relationship issues and human sexuality are involved. The specialized training will help prepare students for careers in counseling, teaching, health services, and scholarly research.

Program Overview
Program Administrator
Dr. Tracy Penny Light (acting chair)
Department Emphasis
  • 42% Human Sexuality Studies
  • 37% Family Studies
  • 21% Family Therapy
Campus Enrollment
Program Options
  • Undergraduate
Areas of Study
  • Family Science/Studies - Undergraduate
Department Address

Waterloo ON N2L 3G3

Phone Number
Undergraduate Program
Undergrad Program Options
  • Sexuality, Marriage, & Family Studies
Undergrad Courses Offered
  • Introduction to Human Sexuality
  • The Dark Side of Sexuality
  • Couples, Marriages, & Families
  • Parents & Children
  • Research Methods
  • Introduction to Statistics in Sexuality, Marriage, and Family Studies
  • Human Sexuality in Relationships
  • Social Issues & Controversies in Human Sexuality
  • The Formation & Maintenance of Close Relationships
  • Conflict, Crisis & Dissolution in Close Relationships
  • Introduction to Sex, Couples, & Family Therapy
  • Couples, Marriage, & Family Therapy
  • Sexual Ethics
  • History of Sexuality
  • Sex Therapy
  • Special Topics in Sexuality
  • Special Topics in Couples, Marriage, & Family Studies
  • Special Topics in Sexuality, Marriage, and Family Studies
  • Independent Study: Special Topics in Sexuality
  • Independent Study: Special Topics in Marriage & the Family
  • Independent Study: Special Topics in Marriage & Family Therapy
  • Seminar in Sexuality, Marriage, and Family Ethics
  • Seminar in Sexuality
  • Seminar in Family Studies
  • Seminar in Therapy: Couples, Family, and Sex Therapy
  • Practicum and Professional Ethics
  • Practicum and Applied Theory
  • Research Thesis and Applied Theory
Undergrad Comments

Students may choose: a 4-Year Honours Major (B.A.), a 4-Year General Major (B.A.), a 3-Year General Major (B.A.), or a Minor. A Diploma in Sexuality, Marriage and Family Studies is available for those who wish to do some focused study in this field, but who are either not seeking a university undergraduate degree or who are already holding an undergraduate degree. Please note that the post-degree diploma is at the undergraduate (versus graduate) level. 

CFLE Information

NCFR recognizes schools offering undergraduate and graduate degree programs with course work that follows the Standards and Criteria required for approval as a Provisional Certified Family Life Educator (CFLE). NCFR approval allows the school to offer their graduates the opportunity to apply for Provisional Certification using the Abbreviated Application process. The CFLE Checklist represents the courses that meet the CFLE criteria at that school. Students must complete all the courses on a checklist in order to qualify to apply for the CFLE designation through the Abbreviated Application process.