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HDFS 402 - Couple and Family Studies

  • 3 credits

Theory and research concerning couple and family processes; social contexts in which couples and families change over time.

Course Learning Objectives

  • Synthesize knowledge of theory and empirical research relevant to couple and family processes.
  • Construct an understanding of how couples and families change over time in a variety of social contexts.
  • Evaluate and interpret information related to couple and family theories and research from a variety of sources.
  • Exhibit effective written and oral communication skills related to couple and family studies, including use of technology for presentations.
  • Compare, contrast, and synthesize multiple points of view related to couple and family issues.
  • Implement effective collaboration, problem solving, and goal setting skills.
  • Exhibit professional ethics, conduct, and presentation.

This course has exams that require the use of electronic proctoring through ProctorU. Please see for detailed instructions. The cost for online proctoring through ProctorU is included in the cost of the course for students enrolled in CSU Online course sections. Students are responsible for purchasing any hardware that may be needed for exams taken with ProctorU, including a webcam and microphone, and for scheduling proctoring appointments at least three days in advance (otherwise, a late fee is charged, which is the student’s responsibility). For students requiring accommodations, please contact


HDFS 334 (Family and Parenthood Across the Life Cycle); completion of 60 credits

Important Information

All prerequisites must be completed or consent from the instructor given prior to enrollment.

If you register for this course after the start of the term, please contact the instructor at the time of registration. By contacting the instructor, you ensure you are added to the CANVAS section as soon as possible and have access to the course and details about the class requirements.

Textbooks and Materials

Section 801


  • Exploring Family Theories, 5th Ed. (2021)
    Smith, Suzanne R. and Hamon, Raeann
    ISBN: 978-0197530528

Textbooks and materials can be purchased at the CSU Bookstore unless otherwise indicated.

There will be additional selected readings posted on Canvas.


Katie Gerst
Katie Gerst

Dr. Katie Gerst is an Assistant Professor in the Human Development and Family Studies Department at CSU. She is also a Certified Family Life Educator through the National Council on Family Relations. Dr. Gerst has extensive teaching experience both on-campus and from a distance, having taught her first resident instruction class in 2008. She has been at CSU since 2018, but previously taught at Baker College in Michigan, Texas Tech University, and Northern Illinois University. Dr. Gerst’s scholarly interests include gender and power dynamics in romantic relationships, maternal mental health, and the scholarship of teaching and learning in family science.