School of Humanities and Social Sciences


Family Systems Health Care Graduate Certificate

The Graduate Certificate in Family Systems Health Care offers students the fundamentals of the application of systemic family theories and applications in health care settings. The Graduate Certificate in Family Systems Health Care is appropriate for professionals who have already earned a graduate degree in their professional field and who would benefit from academic study of applications of family systems in health care settings. It is also intended to meet the needs of those individuals who have completed graduate studies in family systems or related fields and seek introductory training in systems thinking and how to utilize this training in various health care settings.

The Graduate Certificate in Family Systems Health Care focuses on the relationships between psychosocial medicine and biomedicine in the treatment and prevention of illness and disease. This program prepares professionals to offer systemic thinking in a variety of settings, including private practices, hospitals, community clinics, primary care/specialists' offices, health care and managed care agencies and organizations.

Specific areas of study include adjustment patterns of patients and their families to chronic and acute illnesses; models of integration and collaboration among medical systems and other health care professionals; the role of the family health care provider in the continuum of services; the politics and economics of health care; understanding human systems in health care; and brief interventions and systemic assessments useful in the treatment and care of patients, their families, and interactions within the health care milieu.

The Graduate Certificate in Family Systems Health Care consists of eight courses (24 credits), which include biopsychosocial and systemic theories, relationship skills, professional issues, and health care systems. The program is offered in a distance learning format, and some courses may also be available in a residential format. This flexible format allows mid-career working adults, and those unable to attend on-campus programs, to study in a creative, rigorous, and structured fashion. Students enrolled in the online program will be invited to participate in Residential Institutes on the main campus two times per year as part of their practical experience. Residential students can take Practicum I and II to further apply their clinical and relational skills at a health care internship site.

Students may enroll full or part time, taking three to nine credit hours per term. Students who attend full time can expect to complete the program in one year. Students who complete Graduate Certificate courses online may wish to attend the Residential Institutes to further add to their collaboration with co-professionals and further their studies.

Degree Plans

Below is a sample of a degree plan for a full time student who begins studies in the Fall term. Degree plans will be modified based on a student’s enrollment date and pace of study. To complete the requirements for the Graduate Certificate in Family Systems Health Care, students must take 3 courses with prefix SFTM and 5 courses with prefix FSHC. Additional electives can be taken with the approval of the department chair.

Table 1: Degree Plan: 24 credits hours
YeaR 1
Fall (September) SFTM 5310 -
Introduction to Systems Theories
FSHC 5300 -
Integration and Collaboration Among Health Care Systems
FSHC 6400 -
Understanding Human Systems in Health Care Settings
Winter (January) SFTM 5321 -
Theories of Marital and Family Therapy
FSHC 5000 -
Family Systems Health Care I
FSHC 5500 -
Politics and Economics of Health Care Systems
Summer (April) FSHC 5010 -
Family Systems Health Care II
SFTM 6320 -
Assessment in Marital and Family Therapy

For full course descriptions select current Catalog.