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. And you can always explore them early through the co-op stream.

A couple and thier child out for a walk.

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 eight-month practicum in fourth year and intensive research options.

You can also gain 20 months of related paid co-op work experience through Waterloo’s Honours Arts and Business or Honours Arts programs.


icon of the globeInternational exchanges in 25 countries

briefcaseAvailable as a co-op and regular program

icon of open bookAvailable as a major and minor



Apply to Honours Arts or Honours Arts and Business and choose Sexuality, Marriage and Family Studies as your major at the end of first year.

Get tips from Waterloo students

Sign up for insider advice that can help you now and in the future. Topics include

  • tips for a successful senior year of high school,
  • how to choose a university program,
  • differences between high school and university, and more.

First-year courses

September to December

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

January to April

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

*The Arts First requirement consists of two 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


icon of network of peopleOffered by the Faculty of Arts

Graduation capEarn a Bachelor of Arts degree


Co-op = relevant paid work experience

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.

Sample co-op job titles

  • Experiential learning marketing assistant
  • Recruitment assistant
  • Marketing coordinator
  • Guest services attendant

Sample co-op employers

  • Chamber of Commerce Greater Kitchener-Waterloo
  • Wyzelink Systems Inc.
  • University of Waterloo
  • Chicopee Ski and Summer Resort

Customize your Bachelor of Arts degree

You can add additional areas of expertise by including one or more of the minors available to all Waterloo students. Popular choices for Sexuality, Marriage and Family Studies students include Speech Communication, Counselling, and Human Services Practicum.

What can you do with a degree in Sexuality, Marriage and Family Studies?

Graduates commonly pursue careers in teaching, youth support work, and sexual health education in schools, government, non-profit organizations, and more.

Recent graduates

  • Youth Support Worker – Argus Residence for Young People
  • Registered Nurse, Mental Health – Grand River Hospital
  • Client Support Coordinator – Planned Parenthood Waterloo Region
  • Case Worker – Christian Horizons
  • Human Resource Generalist – Magnet Forensics 
  • Counsellor – University of Waterloo
  • Early Childhood Educator – Waterloo Catholic District School Board

Learn about the future of careers in arts, humanities, social sciences, languages, and creative arts.

Ready to learn more?