Department of Consumer Sciences

The Department of Consumer Sciences prepares students for leadership roles in business, government, and non-profit settings.  Students in this major have interests in personal finance, consumer behavior, marketing, public policy, and related fields that require the expertise of professionals who understand the role consumers play in today’s markets. Students who successfully complete required coursework may be eligible to sit for two professional certifications: The Accredited Financial Counselor® (AFC) exam offered by the Association for Financial Counseling and Planning Education®, and the CFP® certification exam that leads to the CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ certification registered with the Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards, Inc.

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Programs

In addition to core courses that provide the foundation for understanding consumers in their economic, political, and home environments, the Consumer Sciences curriculum offers two concentrations. 

Consumer Affairs Concentration

The Consumer Affairs concentration offers an applied approach to understanding consumers in home and market environments. With coursework in consumer economics, consumer policy, demographics, consumer communications, and family resource management, the Consumer Affairs concentration prepares students for careers as consumer specialists in government, business, research, and non-profit settings. This concentration builds students’ capacity to analyze markets and matters of personal finance from the perspective of consumers, and to communicate these issues to stakeholders.

Graduates enjoy careers as analysts, entrepreneurs, sales professionals, customer care and engagement specialists, financial professionals, and similar in private, public, and non-profit sectors. The skills learned in this concentration also prepare students for law school and graduate school.

Family Financial Planning and Counseling Concentration

The Family Financial Planning and Counseling concentration offers students the knowledge and skills necessary for a career in financial planning and related careers. Financial planners guide clients in many aspects of their financial lives: financial goals, cash flow, taxes, retirement, college, business planning, estate planning, and insurance needs, among others. Financial counselors also counsel clients, but with a focus on developing sound personal finance principles such as reducing debt, building an emergency fund, negotiating payments, developing a budget, and similar.

The Family Financial Planning and Counseling Concentration coursework fulfills the educational requirements to sit for the CFP® certification exam that leads to the CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ certification registered with the Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards, Inc. The Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards Inc. owns the marks CFP®, Certified Financial Planner™ and CFP (with flame logo) ®, which it awards to individuals who successfully complete initial and ongoing certification requirements. The University of Alabama does not certify individuals to use the CFP®, Certified Financial Planner™ and CFP (with flame logo) ® certification marks. Only the Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards, Inc., grants CFP certification to those persons who, in addition to completing an educational requirement such as this CFP Board Registered Program, have met ethics, experience, and examination requirements.

The Family Financial Planning and Counseling Concentration coursework also fulfills the educational requirements to sit for the Accredited Financial Counselor® exam offered by the Association for Financial Counseling and Planning Education®.

Faculty

Dean
  • Boschung, Milla D.
Chair
  • Nielsen, Robert
Professor
  • Wright, Kenneth E.
Assistant Professor
  • Choi, Shinae
  • Cook, Reuben
  • Fulmer, Caroline S.
  • Hale, Michelle
  • Kim, Kyoung Tae
  • Lewis, Melvin
  • McGahey, Courtney L.
  • McMath, Juanita
  • Pak, Tae-Young
  • Pentecost, Eve
  • Reddoch, Kym
  • Shin, Su
  • Stebbins, Richard
  • Wilmarth, Melissa
Associate Professor Emerita
  • McFadden, Anna
Professor Emerita
  • Abdel-Ghany, Mohamed
  • Brakefield, Jan L.
  • Hodge, William H.
  • Price, Barrie Jo

Courses

CSM
101
Hours
3
Introduction to Digital Tools

Students are expected to demonstrate basic proficiency in the word processing, presentation, and spreadsheet tools as well as other emerging productivity tool sets. Specific emphasis is placed on introducing skills and uses related to data storage applications, basic technology privacy and security issues, mobile device applications, social media, communications technology, and work-place applications. Students exit this class with a basic introduction to each topic and other emerging topics deemed relevant for today’s digital citizens, consumers, and professionals.

CSM
116
MA
Hours
3
Quantitative Methods of Financ

This three-credit hour course is intended to develop mathematical fluency within the context of financial planning/literacy. It is broad in scope and content rather than specific to a particular discipline, is an introduction to the basic tools and techniques necessary for the development of a successful personal financial plan over one’s life span and emphasizes the use of mathematical techniques as a tool for analysis. CSM 116 includes topics such as real and nominal rates of return, probability, and algebra functions. An emphasis is placed on mathematical reasoning in solving financial problems. It uniquely serves as a course for students not intending to pursue further study in mathematics, science, or engineering, but for students who will be able to utilize mathematical tools to make sound financial decisions. Students will apply practical skills by setting and reaching financial goals as elements of an integrated system, manipulation of quantitative data, calculating future financial needs, and using mathematical induction formulas and tools to determine predictability of expected outcomes. The course commences with money management and credit use, progresses to investments, insurance, retirement planning, and culminates in wealth accumulation and estate planning as the basis for mathematical problem solving exercises. CSM 116 is designed to provide a foundation both for further study and for personal enrichment. Grades are reported as A, B, C, or NC (No Credit).

Prerequisite(s): MATH 100
Mathematics

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