Family Science

With a family science degree from OBU, you will be serving families by meeting practical needs, strengthening families through education and therapy, and supporting families by advocating for their needs. These qualities are at the heart of our family science program at OBU. Our team of dedicated faculty is committed to providing a high-quality, Christ-focused education that equips you with the knowledge, skills, and values necessary to succeed in life and in your chosen field. 

You will be equipped through a breadth of upper-division courses specially designed to prepare you for a variety of fulfilling careers in the Family Sciences. Our graduates are shaping the future as marriage and family therapists, child abuse prevention specialists, drug and alcohol educators, foster family assessment counselors, parent educators, and in many other roles.

Through our program, you will develop a strong academic foundation that will prepare you for a postgraduate experience while also examining the importance of your personal Christian beliefs and values which can be integrated into your academic and career paths. We are confident that choosing the OBU family science program will provide you with a solid foundation for success and professional fulfillment as you shape the future.

Mackenzie Knox

Class of 2023

“When I look back at the freshman girl I was when I first came to OBU compared to myself as a woman now, I am encouraged at how OBU has provided the environment and opportunities for me to grow in God’s word and in His character. I truly have fallen in love with the Lord and learned to let Him lead me every day.”

Benefits of OBU's Family Science Program

Family science at OBU offers opportunities other programs throughout the nation will find extremely difficult to match.

We Invest in You

First, we are investing in our students; we want to financially help you realize your academic and career goals. We offered close to $150,000 in departmental scholarships this year in the family science program to our proven sophomores, juniors and seniors.

We Mentor You

Second, we will set you at a higher skill pace than most competing programs. Almost all of your courses will be taught by people with a terminal degree in their field. Your professors will ask much of you and walk with you as you learn the material.

We Prepare You to Shape the Future

The Family Science program is uniquely housed in the same department as psychology, sociology and criminal justice. This setting helps you develop the contexts wherein service to families takes place. Few programs in the nation, and none in the state, have this level of information sharing among sister disciplines. Our undergraduates leave OBU equipped to be Future Shapers.

Incredible Education, Affordable Cost.

OBU provides a minimum $10,000 per year scholarship to every incoming first-time freshman and $8,000 to every incoming transfer student. Many of our students qualify for even more financial aid through federal Pell grants and OBU Bison Grants.

To get an estimate of your cost to attend OBU, check out our Net Price Calculator. We think you’ll be pleasantly surprised with how affordable an OBU education really is especially considering the incredible academic quality, personal mentor relationships with faculty and staff, and strong Christian commitment you will experience at OBU.

You won’t find an experience like this anywhere else!

Program Information

Significant Research

At OBU we want you to discover what is happening in the world around you as you strive to shape the world of your future. We believe research makes that possible. Knowing the strengths and challenges of the current world offers you a glimpse of God’s original design and what your part is in impacting its future.
In the last five years alone, our family science professors have worked diligently with OBU honors students on thesis topics related to sexuality or family dynamics. Additionally, multiple honors students have worked with faculty members to investigate more informal family process issues. Our goal is to help you to investigate family matters that will prepare you for graduate school and that provide a deeper understanding in your academic journey. 


As a family science student, you can demonstrate your commitment to communities and churches through social services and para-ministry settings, not only when you graduate, but throughout your time at OBU. You will have the opportunity to serve through internships at adoption/foster agencies, in family crisis centers, with the Boys and Girls Clubs, or as a Big Brother/Sister. You will not only learn and grow on Bison Hill, but a key aspect of your learning will be facilitated through service in settings such as domestic violence prevention/assistance programs, crisis pregnancy or parenting programs, aging service programs, church ministries and others. 

Faith Integration

Through your family science training, you will be challenged to identify God's design and purpose in creating the family structure and to seek ways to develop healthy families in our current society. With the guidance of Christian professors and community, you can learn how faith interacts with science, society and culture. You will discover how to use your passion and knowledge to help shape a better tomorrow for individuals and families.

Integrated MFT Program

OBU is as committed to your future as you are and that’s why OBU provides an opportunity for our undergraduate juniors to apply for early admission into the masters of Marriage and Family Therapy program. Through an integrated program, OBU provides the opportunity for students from any discipline to begin work toward a graduate degree in Marriage and Family Therapy while completing an undergraduate degree. Through the program, students from any academic discipline can pursue completion of both a bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree within approximately six years. The integrated MFT program requires a separate application and interview, but it is a popular choice among the Family Science students.

Student Organizations

At OBU we don’t want to just instruct you how to help others, we want you to experience what that feels like and see the impact that it has. We want to give you the opportunity to serve and then we will walk with you as that passion grows as you graduate and become a professional. One such avenue is the Association for Family Service Professionals, a group organized around providing service and education to the OBU and Shawnee community about matters related to the issues experienced in families. Another example is Normalize No, a group organized around providing support and education to students who are interested in preventing and healing from sexual assault.

Job Opportunities and Outcomes

The opportunities presented to you with an OBU Family Science degree can lead almost anywhere. About half of our students seek a graduate degree after graduation. They go into programs to train in social work, marriage and family therapy, nonprofit management, or seminary to name a few. The other half go directly into serving families in various ways. Many are employed in social service fields working with the population of their interest, some go into education (both formal and informal settings), and some go into an unrelated area of service or the mission field. But your journey won’t stop with your personal career as a counselor, therapist, educator, minister or otherwise. Your influence will multiply substantially in terms of being a blessing to your community. You will have the opportunity to get involved with organizations that serve families and their needs.

A compelling example is the Oklahoma Council on Family Relations, an organization that brings researchers, educators, professionals, and students together to discuss current family issues. Their mission is to provide a forum for family researchers, educators, and practitioners to share in the development and dissemination of knowledge about families and family relationships, establish professional standards, and work to promote family well-being. Five OBU graduates served on the board of directors of the OKCFR during the 2022-23 school year.

Professional Networking Opportunities

Attending OKCFR or serving on the board will help you find out more about avenues in which families can be served. Internships at a place like Legacy Parenting don’t just give you an opportunity to serve families in need, they are also used to network job and other skill development opportunities. You, alongside faculty, will share the experience of what it takes to help support and strengthen families.


Program Options

Bachelor of Arts (BA)

Master of Science (MS)

World-Class Faculty

OBU faculty are experts in their fields and will be with you every step of the way.

Dr. Bret Roark

Dr. Bret Roark

Chair, Division of Behavioral and Social Sciences
Ralph and Marie Barby Professor of Psychology
Professor of Psychology

Dr. Brian Camp

Dr. Brian Camp

Professor of Family Science

Become a Future Shaper