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Therapist working in a group

Human Development and Family Studies (HDFS) is a versatile undergraduate degree for anyone who is intrigued by human nature and the forces that help shape it.

As an HDFS major at Penn State, you’ll study how people develop physically, emotionally, and socially across their life spans — and in the context of family and society. You’ll delve deeply into the amazing process of human development and growth; gain valuable insights into the impact of family and community on quality of life; and immerse yourself in human development in a variety of relational, social, and cultural contexts.

One of the premier programs of its kind, HDFS provides a multifaceted curriculum focused on everything from child and adolescent development to adult development and aging, biological aspects of human development, family studies, intervention research, and developmental research methods. As an HDFS major, you will choose between two options — Life Span Human Services or Life Span Developmental Science — which build upon the core degree coursework. As a graduate, you will be prepared to work with people in a variety of supportive roles, including developing new models to prevent and treat social and mental health problems and as an advocate for new social policies and programs.