Family Studies

Academic Program

The Family Studies Major is centered on the fact that families are God’s idea and He had specific purposes in mind for families to accomplish. Students discover these basic purposes and learn about how families function most effectively. In addition, students learn about the effects of unhealthy family functioning on the individuals involved and on society; and you will learn how you can make a difference.

Program Objectives

  1. Explore the relationship of family studies to other disciplines, especially that of Christian theology and ministry.
  2. Understand the processes of the formation of healthy relationships and the promotion of optimal human development.
  3. Apply a biblical perspective to gender and sexuality.
  4. Examine and evaluate current research and theory regarding marriage and family.
  5. Be able to design, implement, and evaluate family life education programs.
  6. Be able to apply theories of family studies and family therapies to help families.

What can I do with a degree from the Family Studies program?

Students who select the Family Studies Major will be well positioned to participate in the current national movement to strengthen families through the provision of family life education in a variety of settings. With appropriate supervised experience, they will also qualify to become Certified Family Life Educators*.

*The designation “Certified Family Life Educator” is granted by the National Council on Family Relations (NCFR). Arizona Christian University is the only school in the state of Arizona that has been recognized by NCFR as providing appropriate training for this certification. Upon graduation, students who have completed these requirements will automatically be granted provisional certification when they apply. They will be fully certified upon completion of required supervised experience.

Department Chair

Dr. Carolyn Pela

[email protected]

Dr. Carolyn Pela, a native Phoenician, is the chair of the Department of Behavioral and Social Sciences at Arizona Christian University. Her master’s degree is in marriage and family therapy, and she holds a doctorate in psychology. She is licensed in the State of Arizona as a Marriage and Family Therapist with 30 years of experience in the mental health field. She mentors doctoral dissertations, serves on the editorial board for the Journal of Human Sexuality, and is currently conducting two longitudinal clinical outcome studies. She also serves as the president of the Alliance for Therapeutic Choice and Scientific Integrity. Dr. Pela is a clinical member of the AAMFT, CAPS and the Society for the Teaching of Psychology. She is also nationally certified as a Family Life Educator by the National Council on Family Relations.


Degree Planners


For students who entered the program during the 2017-2018 academic year:

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Previous Years

For students who entered the program during the 2016-2017 academic year:

B.A. Family Studies

Behavioral and Social Sciences Minor

For students who entered the program during the 2015-2016 academic year:

B.A. Family Studies

Family Studies Minor

For students who entered the program during the 2014-2015 academic year:

B.A. Family Studies

B.S. Family Studies

For students who entered the program during the 2013-2014 academic year:

Family Studies Major

For students who entered the program during the 2012-2013 academic year:

Family Studies Major