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Commitment to Diversity

The Department of Human Development and Family Studies is committed to fostering diversity by offering a welcoming and supportive environment for its students and nurturing a learning environment that respects differences in culture, age, gender, gender expression, race, ethnicity, national origin, physical ability, sexual orientation, and religious affiliation.

HDFS Research and Initiatives

Many HDFS faculty members conduct research primarily on diversity in human development. Students interested in gaining experience in research settings are encouraged to review the interests of faculty members. Faculty members may have opportunities for undergraduate involvement in their research and should be contacted for more information.

Courses Focusing on Understanding Cultures

The Pennsylvania State University is committed to enhancing cultural competence, the ability to understand and function within cultures other than your own. To this end, all undergraduates are required to take one course with a focus on U. S. cultures and one course with a focus on international cultures. To enhance the competitiveness of HDFS majors in dynamic job markets, the HDFS department requires an additional course focusing on U. S. cultures.

HDFS courses fulfilling the United States Cultures (US) and International Cultures (IL) requirements are listed below.

FAMILY CHANGE IN THE GLOBAL ECONOMY (HDFS 469U) icon-olus-circle

Exploration of how family life, quality, and structures in each region of the world are affected by the new global economy.

SEXUAL IDENTITY OVER THE LIFE SPAN (HDFS 250) icon-olus-circle

Concepts of affectional and sexual orientation over life span, with emphasis on lesbian and gay male personal, family, and community adaptation.

  • Three credits
  • Prerequisite is three credits in HDFS or three credits in social or behavioral sciences
INTERCULTURAL COMMUNITY-BUILDING (HDFS 287) icon-olus-circle

An experiential introduction to negotiating differences in small groups, families, institutions, and communities.

  • Three credits
  • Multiple sections available
FAMILY DEVELOPMENT (HDFS 315) icon-olus-circle

Family functions over the life course; family from a multidisciplinary perspective, emphasizing adaptation and change.

  • Three credits
  • Prerequisite is HDFS 129; three credits of social, behavioral, or human biological sciences
GENDER AND SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT (HDFS 405) icon-olus-circle

A review of gender-related patterns of social development over the lifespan, as influenced by biological, sociological, and psychological factors.

  • Three credits
  • Prerequisite is HDFS 129, HDFS 312W; or six credits in social sciences
RACIAL AND ETHNIC DIVERSITY AND THE AMERICAN FAMILY (HDFS 416) icon-olus-circle

This course will explore the nature and determinants of racial and ethnic variation in family processes in the United States.

  • Three credits
  • Prerequisite is three credits in sociology
BIOCULTURAL STUDIES OF FAMILY ORGANIZATION (HDFS 417) icon-olus-circle

Study of variability in family organization with an emphasis on cultural and economic factors influencing household organization and family roles.

FAMILY DEVELOPMENT IN AN ECONOMIC CONTEXT (HDFS 424) icon-olus-circle

Economic conditions influencing family functioning; familial effects on the economy; strategies to enhance work-family relations.

WORK AS A CONTEXT FOR HUMAN DEVELOPMENT (HDFS 425) icon-olus-circle

Theory and research on role of work in adult development; inter-relationships between work and family; workplace interventions to enhance development.

  • Three credits
  • Prerequisite is HDFS 312W; three credits in social and behavioral sciences