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Students in Penn State’s Human Development and Family Studies (HDFS) program have a truly unique opportunity to work with world-renowned researchers and faculty members in an active research environment.

As an HDFS student, you’ll contribute greatly to our research mission while gaining firsthand experience in conducting groundbreaking research, working with participants, collecting data, conducting data analyses, publishing papers, and presenting your findings at academic conferences.

As an undergraduate student, you’ll have multiple opportunities to work in faculty labs to gain research experience — often earning academic credit in preparation for graduate or professional school.

As a graduate student, you are required to get involved with faculty research working with a mentor in a way that fits your interests — for example, you may choose to work with multiple mentors or work in the context of a research assistantship or a University Fellowship.

In keeping with our innovative and interdisciplinary mission in Human Development and Family Studies, the research possibilities open to you are extensive and diverse.


Lifespan Approach

Leveraging a lifespan approach to research subject areas, graduate students may focus on two or more core research areas:

Cross-Cutting Themes of Research

Across these core areas, graduate students may specialize in one or more cross-cutting themes:


Learn More About HDFS Graduate Student Productivity

View Current Active Projects