Human Development and Family Studies

Human Development and Family Studies

The Human Development and Family Studies (HD FS) major provides a foundation for students interested in working in a wide range of human services with many different groups of people—from infants to the elderly—and with many different kinds of families. It prepares students to become leaders in human services, developing new models to prevent and treat social and mental health problems, and becoming advocates for new social policies and programs.

An HD FS major is also excellent preparation for graduate and professional education in many different fields, and for a research career in developmental and family studies and prevention science. Students who major in HD FS learn about the human life span from conception to old age. They learn about development and families from a multi-dimensional point of view that incorporates biology, psychology, and sociology. This integrative approach helps students learn how to promote healthy development, how to understand real life problems, and how to implement types of interventions suited for use in diverse contexts.

The degree is designed so that a student may choose development and other departmental supporting courses, including the required final semester internship, to prepare for work with a preferred clientele. In addition, the courses taken to fill general education requirements may also be selected to support the student’s career goals.

Who Should Enroll

If you are interested in working with people and making a positive difference in their lives, you should consider a major in human development and family studies. Our students come from many different points in life, and all are welcome. In our classes, you will find students who have recently graduated from high school sitting beside students who are returning as adults ready for a career change. This variety of ages and life experiences contributes to the richness of HD FS classes, and is a good preparation for your future work life. Students may enroll as first-year students or as advanced standing/transfer students. Many students find that a part-time enrollment suits their lives; part-time as well as full-time enrollments are possible.

Undergraduate Research

Undergraduate research opportunities during summer and/or during the academic year are available for motivated students. Several current HD FS students continue to hold part-time positions in research projects, such as REDI (REsearch based and Developmentally Informed) and Evaluation of Early Head Start programs, where they have opportunities to be trained in research methods and participate in project operations. Students may also hold work study positions. These are excellent opportunities for students to learn project management and research procedures.