Mount Saint Vincent University

Department of Family Studies & Gerontology
Last Updated

The Family Studies and Gerontology program at Mount Saint Vincent University offers two options: (1) Gerontology, which focuses on issues relating to aging in contemporary society, and (2) Family Studies, which encompasses a study of individuals and families across the life course. Students are prepared for a variety of careers in the social welfare and family support sectors, which focus on prevention, support, and community development. The Department offers undergraduate minors and concentrations in (a) family studies, and (b) gerontology, A minor/concentration in Family Studies or Gerontology complements other programs such as sociology, psychology, public policy, and women's studies by providing a focused examination of family or aging issues as well as giving students applied skills (e.g., program planning, advocacy, communication skills, policy development and analysis) that will be beneficial in working with families and aging individuals.

A thesis-based Masters of Arts (M.A.) in Family Studies and Gerontology is also offered. Faculty engage in research related to areas such as unpaid caregiving, caregiving policy, retirement, military families, family life education, qualitative methodology, LGBT families, individuals aging with life-long disabilities, sexuality, division of labour in families, immigrants, and elder abuse.

Program Overview
Program Administrator
Dr. Áine Humble
Department Emphasis
  • 50% Family Science
  • 50% Gerontology
Campus Enrollment
Program Options
  • Undergraduate
  • Master’s
Areas of Study
  • Family Science/Studies - Master's
  • Family Science/Studies - Undergraduate
  • Older Adults (Gerontology) - Master's
  • Older Adults (Gerontology) - Undergraduate
Department Address

166 Bedford Highway
Halifax NS B3M 2J6

Phone Number
Undergraduate Program
Undergrad Program Options
  • Family Studies
  • Gerontology
Undergrad Courses Offered
  • Introduction to Family Studies
  • Introduction to Gerontology
  • Healthy Aging
  • The Roots of Peace and Conflict
  • Cross-Cultural Study of Aging
  • Perspectives on Parent-Child Relations Across the Life Course
  • Sociology of Aging
  • Psychology of Adulthood and Aging
  • Resilient Families
  • Program Planning in Family Life Education
  • Women and Aging
  • Perspectives on Death and Dying
  • Family Violence Across the Life Course
  • Interpersonal Communication Skills
  • Strategies for Planned Change
  • Contemporary and Professional Ethical Issues in Aging and Families
  • Care Policies
  • Conflict Management and Mediation
  • Special Topics in Family Studies
  • Special Topics in Gerontology
  • Directed Study in Family Studies
  • Directed Study in Gerontology
Undergrad Comments

In the undergraduate programs, students examine family relationships and issues faced by individuals and families across the life course, delve into policies on family life education and aging, explore theories of family and social relations, acquire advocacy skills, and learn how to develop community programs. Problem solving, analytical skills, and research skills are explored at different levels of the program.

Graduate Program
Graduate Director
Dr. Deborah Norris
Graduate Courses Offered
  • Research Methods
  • Family Life Education
  • Family Relations Across the Life-Course
  • Critical Theories in Family Studies and Gerontology
  • Program Planning: Implementation and Evaluation
  • Social Policies on Family and Aging
  • Special Topics
  • Independent Study
  • Thesis
  • Family Violence Across the Life Course
  • Fundamentals of Social Gerontology
  • Aging, Health and Community
Master's Level
Masters Program Options
  • M.A. in Family Studies & Gerontology
Masters Comments

This program is for students who wish to pursue advanced studies in the field. It prepares and/or enhances students' careers in aging, community or family services, family life education, and community development. Graduate study focuses on issues that impact individual family members, families, and societal concerns (e.g., population aging, public policy). Both quantitative and qualitative research is conducted in the department; students work with their advisors to choose the most appropriate methodology to answer their thesis questions. Close working relationships with faculty allow graduate students to develop strong research skills in issues related to family relationships and aging.

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.