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As a Human Development and Family Studies major at Penn State, you will choose between two options: Life Span Human Services or Life Span Developmental Science.

In both options, students complete a core set of HDFS courses that address basic individual and family development, research methods, and approaches to individual and family interventions.

Students choosing the Life Span Human Services (LSHS) option take additional coursework specialized around their personal and professional interests, plus a semester-long Capstone Experience that builds hands-on experience and advanced knowledge aligned with students' career goals.

In particular, students in the Life Span Human Services option complete:

  • Popular courses that develop skills and knowledge for a range of professions that promote healthy human development.
    •  HDFS 411: The Helping Relationship
    •  HDFS 414: Resolving Human Development & Family Problems
    •  HDFS 455: Development & Administration of Human Service Programs
  • Additional advanced courses in HDFS
  •  Supporting courses related to their personal and professional goals, selected in consultation with the HDFS adviser
  • An internship sequence during senior year that includes
    • HDFS 490: Professional Development & Preparation for Internship Experience
    • HDFS 495 A&B: Advanced Internship Experience and Project: A full semester internship experience complementary course work 

The internship sequence, supported by a full-time internship coordinator, is often cited by graduating seniors as one of their favorite learning experiences at Penn State. Students learn important job search and professional development skills through HDFS 490 that will support their career development for years to come. And the internship provides them with an opportunity to apply what they have learned throughout their time at Penn State in a workplace setting of their choosing, while building a resume and furthering career development.

*Most HDFS students complete the Life Span Human Services option of the major.

Visit the Penn State Bulletin for a complete list of requirements.

Need help deciding?
The HDFS adviser can help you select the option that meets your needs and matches your career goals.