Information for

You are here

Sexuality, Marriage and Family Studies

Get ready to talk relationships.

The only one of its kind in Canada, this program goes far beyond basic anatomical knowledge and sexual health. Use different perspectives to explore relationships, communication, parenting skills, how media affects our understanding of gender/sex/relationships, the impact of culture on sexual values, and more, all from a social justice perspective. 

Meanwhile, the program itself has a real family vibe. You’ll enjoy small classes and a tight-knit community at St. Jerome’s University, one of Waterloo's on-campus University Colleges.

With your degree, you can choose from a slew of high-impact career paths, including teaching, counselling, social services, community engagement, and more.

15 electives = lots of choice

Our flexible curriculum includes 15 electives, freeing you up to add interests in other subjects (and opening the door to a double major, minor, or specialization). 

If you’re interested in counselling or social work, check out our counselling specialization.

Build an awesome résumé

Looking for hands-on experience? We offer an 8-month practicum in fourth year and intensive research options.

You can also gain related co-op work experience through Waterloo’s Honours Arts and Business program.


About the program

briefcase Available as a co-op and regular program

Graduation capEarn a Bachelor of Arts degree

icon of the globeInternational exchanges in 25 countries

icon of network of peopleOffered by the Faculty of Arts

icon of open bookAvailable as a major and minor



First-year courses

September to December

SMF 101 - Introduction to Relationships and Families
Arts First requirement 1*
3 additional courses

January to April

SMF 204 - Introduction to Human Sexuality
Arts First requirement 2*
3 additional courses

*The Arts First requirement consists of 2 first-year courses that are capped at 25 students: ARTS 130 - Inquiry and Communication and ARTS 140 - Information and Analysis. Instead of listening to a lecture and trying to capture notes, Arts First courses will have you and your classmates working together to respond to a challenge posed by the instructor.

After first year

40% of the classes you’ll take will be Sexuality, Marriage, and Family Studies courses. With your remaining classes, you can choose electives from many of the 100 subject areas at Waterloo.

Sample upper-year courses

SMF 207 – Parents, Children, and Family Relations
SMF 211 – Dynamics of Dating
SMF 215 – Sexuality and Popular Culture
SMF 310 – Sexual and Relational Ethics


Customize your Bachelor of Arts degree

You can also add additional areas of interest and expertise by including a minor (or minors) as part of your degree.


By alternating school terms and paid co-op work terms throughout your degree, you can explore new career areas and types of employers as your career interests evolve. Co-op is available if you study Sexuality, Marriage and Family Studies through Honours Arts and Business.

Sample careers

  • Teacher, Thames Valley District School Board
  • Youth Support Worker, Argus Residence for Young People
  • Knowledge-Transfer Exchange Coordinator, Gay Men's Sexual Health Alliance
  • Sexual Health Educator, SHORE Centre
  • Registered Psychotherapist, Private Practice

Helpful links