Family Life Education — Certificate

Program director
Winetta Oloo

The certificate in family life education is designed for persons who wish to have basic knowledge and skills in the delivery of family services, using a family life education methodology instead of, or in addition to, a therapeutic methodology. This program is often sought by persons who do not wish to pursue a master's degree in family studies or a related field, but who wish to have academic qualifications to practice in that field. Students are provided with an understanding of the structure and functioning of the family as a social institution from a systems perspective and with the delivery skills required in a teaching format.

Historically, this certificate has been pursued by persons who are established professionals in their fields—for example, teachers, nurses, marital and family therapists, and pastors—who wish to have some academic emphasis in the area of family life education.

The Family Life Education Program meets the course requirements of the National Council on Family Relations for Certified Family Life Educator (CFLE). More information on becoming certified by the National Council on Family Relations can be found in the organization's official Web site at <>.

Learning objectives

  1. Students will meet professional standards in basic content areas for certification in family life education.
  2. Students will know the difference between family life education and therapy and will be able to deliver services using family life education methodologies.
  3. Students will establish ethical guidelines for the practice of family life education and will maintain professional identity as a family life educator.

Financial assistance

This program is not independently eligible for federal financial aid.  However, a student can complete the requirements for this certificate while concurrently enrolled in a School of Behavioral Health graduate degree program.  For students enrolled in a graduate degree program at another school within Loma Linda University, acceptance into this certificate program is dependent on approval of the dean of the School of Behavioral Health.

Applicants must meet Loma Linda University and School of Behavioral Health admissions requirements; and give evidence of academic ability, professional comportment, and mature judgment. Additional admission requirements include:

  • Four-year baccalaureate degree (B.A. or B.S., or equivalent) from an accredited college or university with a 3.0 G.P.A.
  • Official transcripts of scholastic record showing appropriate preparation in grades and content.
  • Personal interviews with two of the program faculty.
FMST 515Professional Issues in Family Life Education3
FMST 524Family Resource Management2
FMST 526Marriage and the Family3
FMST 528Parenting2
FMST 529Family Life Education3
MFAM 528Culture, Socioeconomic Status in Therapy3
MFAM 547Social Ecology of Individual and Family Development3
MFAM 553Family Systems Theory3
MFAM 674Human Sexual Behavior3
RELR 564Religion, Marriage, and the Family3
Total Units28

Normal time to complete the program

3 academic quarters based on full-time enrollment; part-time permitted


FMST 504. Advanced Family Studies. 4 Units.

A critical survey of the research and theory growing out of the fields of family studies and family sociology. Provides students with a background on the social and historical factors that form the contexts within which families are defined and function. Students make application of course material to the practice of marriage and family therapy.

FMST 505. Social Research Methods: Quantitative. 3 Units.

Analyzes current social research methods. Practice in the use of techniques. Scientific method.
Prerequisite: Introductory course in statistics as an undergraduate research-methods course.

FMST 506. Advanced Social Research Methods. 3 Units.

Qualitative methodology. Prepares students to undertake research projects using the intensive interview method of qualitative research. Practical and epistemological issues and problems in qualitative research explored in a workshop format.

FMST 514. Cross-cultural Counseling and Family Values. 2 Units.

Structure and function, changing patterns, future in urban society. Relationship of changes in society to widespread family problems. Student becomes familiar with a wide range of social and ethnic backgrounds—including but not limited to people of color, Asians, Native Americans, and Hispanics.

FMST 515. Professional Issues in Family Life Education. 3 Units.

Surveys the professional practice of family life education, examines the legal and ethical issues that govern the practice of family life education, investigates the major policies and legal codes that govern family behavior in the United States and other countries, evaluates strategies for professional development in the field, and delineates boundaries regarding the scope of practice in this field and in family therapy.

FMST 518. Advanced Theories in Child Development. 3 Units.

Examines child development from the perspectives of family systems, symbolic interactionism, structural functionalism, family development, social construction, and others. Investigates theories and stages of development—from birth through adolescence—from classical and contemporary literature in the physical, cognitive, language, social, emotional, and moral development domains.

FMST 519. Teaching in Higher Education. 2 Units.

Discusses theory, techniques, and processes in the teaching of MFT, including an examination of didactic and experiential techniques.

FMST 524. Family Resource Management. 2 Units.

Challenges of health-care costs, child care, reorganizing and downsizing organizations, managing cultural diversity, and equal employment opportunity. Responding to needs of families and employees through consistent and effective planning so that people become more productive and more satisfied with their lives at work and at home.

FMST 526. Marriage and the Family. 3 Units.

Studies the family from perspectives of psychology, anthropology, biology, history, politics, and religion. Investigates the major movements or moving forces in society that have influenced families living in the United States and elsewhere. Evaluates the important contemporary issues in families and presents theories of family functioning that inform therapeutic and educational interventions by professionals.

FMST 528. Parenting. 2 Units.

Principles and practices relating to parent-child relationships. Emphasizes family roles, communication, conflict resolution, values development, and parenting-skill development.

FMST 529. Family Life Education. 3 Units.

Systematic comparative analysis of the historical development, theoretical perspectives, types of programs, and research in family-life studies.

FMST 534. Family Life Education Module 1. 3 Units.

Covers content, critical thinking, and application of issues related to laws and ethics in the practice of family life education, family law, and public policy matters in the United States of America and around the world; and substantive areas in the marriage and family literature. Prepares family life educators with content required for certification as family life educators and related family life professionals.

FMST 535. Family Life Education Module 2. 3 Units.

Treats content, critical thinking, and application of issues in family life education, parent education and guidance, and family resource management that are important to the knowledge base of family life educators and related family life professionals.

FMST 601. Statistics I. 4 Units.

Introduces regression analysis and analysis of variance (ANOVA), with emphasis on hypothesis-testing and the development of general models that partition overall variability. Topics covered include simple and multiple regression, one-way and factorial, repeated-measures of ANOVA, and analysis of covariance. Evaluation and assumptions of nonparametic alternatives.

FMST 602. Statistics II. 4 Units.

Broad introduction using linear (matrix) algebra to maximize likelihood estimation generally, using several important multivariate statistical techniques, including but not limited to multivariate analysis of variance, multivariate regression, path analysis, and structural equations causal modeling, log-linear models, and time series analysis; also evaluates alternatives to maximum likelihood estimation.
Prerequisite: MFTH 601 or FMST 601.

FMST 603. Statistics III. 4 Units.

An advanced course in multivariate statistics that includes topics such as multidimensional scaling, cluster analysis, factor analysis, path analysis, structural equations modeling, log-linear modeling, time-series analysis, and hierarchical linear models. Focuses on understanding these advanced techniques and their application to data analysis.
Prerequisite: MFTH 602 or FMST 602.

FMST 604. Advanced Qualitative Methods. 4 Units.

An overview of qualitative methods and their application to research of marriage and family therapy. Includes an examination of ethnographics, naturalistic inquiry, phenomenological research, the grounded theory approach, and narrative inquiry.

FMST 605. Advanced Quantitative Methods. 4 Units.

An advanced overview of quantitative research methods in marriage and family therapy, including experiments and quasi-experiments, survey methodology, and outcome studies.

FMST 608. Analysis and Presentation Issues in Research. 3 Units.

Brings together and integrates material from the previous research classes. Deals with the ethics of research, and with questions of reliability and validity in both quantitative and qualitative methods. Emphasizes problems of coherently and succinctly presenting research results in proposals, posters, brief reports, and articles.

FMST 668. Qualitative Research Practicum. 2 Units.

Provides students with practical experience in conducting and evaluating qualitative research. Emphasizes methods of analysis and presentation of the research. Students review a manuscript that is ready for submission to an academic journal and critically analyze the work of others.

FMST 684. Doctoral Seminar. 1 Unit.

Students develop and refine their dissertation proposals through presentation and discussion with faculty and other students in a workshop format. Dissertation proposal is an expected outcome of this series of courses.

FMST 694. Directed Study: Family Studies. 1-3 Units.

FMST 695. Internship in Family Studies. 1-4 Units.

FMST 696B. Advanced Topics in Family Studies: Family Resource Management. 3 Units.

Directed study in family resource management.

FMST 696C. Advanced Topics in Family Studies: Family Life Education. 3 Units.

Directed study in family life education.

FMST 696D. Advanced Topics in Family Studies: Child Development in Family Context. 3 Units.

Directed study in child development in family context.

FMST 696E. Advanced Topics in Family Studies: Divorce and Remarriage. 3 Units.

Directed study in divorce and remarriage.

FMST 696F. Advanced Topics in Family Studies: Marriage and the Family. 3 Units.

Directed study in marriage and the family.

FMST 697. Research. 1-6 Units.

Independent research relating to marital and family therapy, under the direction of a faculty advisor.

FMST 698. Project or Thesis. 3 Units.

FMST 699. Dissertation Research. 1-20 Units.

Completes independent research contributing to the field of family studies.
Prerequisite: Advancement to doctoral candidacy.