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Human Development and Family Studies
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Core requirements

HDFS is a unique degree that combines a strong background in developmental science with well-rounded training and preparation for a variety of careers in non-profit and for-profit settings that promote health and well-being. All students in the major complete a set of required courses that focus on developmental science and career preparation.

Developmental science

Students develop a strong understanding of individual and family development, with a focus on learning evidence-based practices to promote well-being.

Introduction to Human Development and Family Studies (select one) icon-olus-circle
  • HDFS 129: Introduction to Human Development and Family Studies or
  • HDFS 101n: Helping People: Introduction to Understanding Social Problems and How to Help
Developmental Foundations (select two) icon-olus-circle
  • HDFS 229: Infant and Child Development,
  • HDFS 239: Adolescent Development, or
  • HDFS 249N: Adult Development & Aging
Family Foundations (select one) icon-olus-circle
  • HDFS 315: Family Development, or
  • SOC 30: Sociology of the Family

Essential skills

All HDFS students complete a required set of courses to ensure they have the skills and knowledge necessary to successfully improve people's lives in a variety of settings and professional roles.

Essential Skills (five courses) icon-olus-circle
  • Communication HDFS 216: Thoughtful Communication for Navigating Human Interactions and Relationships
  • Ethics – HDFS 301: Values & Ethics in Human Development Professions
  • Interventions – HDFS 311: Human Development & Family Studies Interventions
  • Statistics – choose from STAT 200, EDPSY 101, or HDFS 200
  • Research methods – HDFS 312w

Hands-on experience

All HDFS students complete a capstone learning experience with guidance from a designated faculty member. The capstone is 15 credits and students have the guidance and flexibility to ensure the experience aligns with their professional and personal goals.

  • All capstone learning experiences must include a hands-on component, either through the HDFS Internship Program or as a guided research experience.
  • Students may choose to combine a hands-on experience with additional coursework to prepare for graduate study or a career pathway, based on their interests and needs. 
  • Students work with a designated HDFS academic adviser, full-time internship coordinator, and University Career Services to design their capstone experience.

Select an option

In addition to the core requirements, all HDFS majors select an option to complete their studies.

Human Development and Family Science option

This option prepares students for a wide range of careers in non-profit, for-profit, and government settings that promote the well-being of children, families, and communities. It also prepares students to pursue advanced study in a variety of fields, including social work, counseling, policy and advocacy, law, and program administration.

Developmental Science for Health Professions option

This option is designed for students preparing to pursue advanced study in a health profession, including medical school, Physician's Assistant, school, second-degree nursing programs, and occupational therapy. Students cultivate a broad understanding of human development and health inequities, with flexibility to integrate the pre-health requirements needed for advanced study.

Updated HDFS major requirements
The HDFS major and options, and their associated requirements, were revised for fall 2024. Students entering the major in fall 2024 or later will have to meet the requirements listed on this website and in the current University Bulletin. Students entering the major prior to fall 2024 should review the archived University Bulletin for previous HDFS requirements.