Iowa State University

Department of Human Development & Family Studies
CFLE Approved
Last Updated

For decades Iowa State University's Department of Human Development and Family Studies has been investigating and teaching aspiring professionals how to help address the daily challenges of individuals and families. It combines a rich history of dedication to lifespan development and family issues with the pursuit of innovative strategies for the future. Its very existence centers on caring, thinking and planning for and about individuals and families. The department has a mission to have a positive impact on the quality of life for individuals and families across the lifespan, as well as for schools and communities through research,t eaching. As one of the top programs in the nation, nearly all graduates are employed within six months of graduation. 

Program Overview
Program Administrator
Dr. Carl Weems (Dept. Chair)
Department Emphasis
  • 30% Child/Human Development
  • 20% Family Studies
  • 15% Early Childhood Education
  • 10% Family Consumer Science Studies/Education
  • 10% Family Finance/Family Policy
  • 10% Gerontology
  • 5% Youth Development
Campus Enrollment
36,660
Program Options
  • Undergraduate
  • Master’s
  • Doctoral
Areas of Study
  • Child or Adolescent Science/Studies - Undergraduate
  • Development (Child, Human, or Family) - Undergraduate
  • Early Childhood - Undergraduate
  • Family Science/Studies - Undergraduate
Department Address

2330 Palmer
2222 Osborn Drive
Ames, IA 50011
United States

Phone Number
515-294-6316
Undergraduate Program
Undergrad Program Options
  • Child, Adult, & Family Services
  • Early Childhood Education - Unified
  • Family & Consumer Sciences Education & Studies
  • Financial Counseling and Planning
  • Early Childcare Education and Programming
Undergrad Courses Offered
  • Individual and Family Development, Health, and Well-being
  • Professional Principles for Working with Children and Youth
  • Professional Principles for Working with Adults
  • Freshman Learning Community Orientation
  • New Transfer Student Seminar
  • Personal Finance in Early Adulthood
  • Early Childhood Education Orientation
  • Professional Orientation and Service Learning
  • Child Development and Health
  • Development in Young Children: Birth through Age 8
  • Development and Guidance in Middle Childhood
  • Adolescent and Emerging Adulthood
  • Adult Development and Aging
  • Housing and Consumer Issues
  • Literature for Children
  • Parenting and Family Diversity Issues
  • Family Communications and Relationships
  • Human Sexuality
  • Personal and Family Finance
  • Field Experiences
  • Assessment and Curricula: Ages Birth through 2 Years
  • Household Finance and Policy
  • Guidance and Group Management in Early Childhood
  • Assessment and Programming: Ages 3 through 6 Years
  • Programming for Children in Early Care and Education
  • Adapting Programming in Inclusive Settings
  • Housing and Services for Families and Children
  • Abuse and Illness in Families
  • Introduction to Research in Human Development and Family Studies
  • Death as a Part of Living
  • Aging and the Family
  • Retirement Planning and Employee Benefits
  • Fundamentals of Financial Planning
  • Children, Families, and Public Policy
  • Human Development and Family Studies Seminar
  • Supervised Student Teaching
  • Professional Practice Reflection/Discussion
  • Program Evaluation and Proposal Writing
  • Curricula for Ages 3 through 6 Years
  • Building Partnerships and Engaging Families
  • Environments for the Aging
  • Family Interaction Dynamics
  • Family Savings and Investments
  • Estate Planning for Families
  • Capstone Course in Family Financial Planning
  • Administration of Programs for Children, Adults and Families
  • Financial Counseling
  • Financial Counseling Laboratory
  • Independent Study
  • Internship
  • Research
  • Workshop
  • Professional Roles in Family and Consumer Sciences
  • Educational Principles for Family and Consumer Sciences and Family Life Education
  • Planning and Assessment for Family and Consumer Sciences and Family Life Education
  • Supervised Teaching in Family and Consumer Sciences
  • Foundations of Career and Technical Education in Family and Consumer Sciences
  • Pre-Student Teaching Experience in Family and Consumer Sciences Education
  • Independent Study
  • Supervised Experiences in a Professional Setting
Undergrad Accreditations/Approval
CFLE
Undergrad Comments

The program focuses on the interactions among individuals, families, their resources, and their environments throughout the life span. The department offers work for the Bachelors of Science degree in four curricula: Child, Adult and Family Services; Early Childhood Education, Family and Consumer Sciences Education and Studies; Family Finance, Housing, and Policy.

Human Development and Family Studies undergraduate curriculum emphasizes the following outcomes:

1. Communication. Communicate with clear purpose, workable organization and effective style in written, oral, visual and electronic formats to foster collaboration, provide information and advance knowledge related to child, adult, and family services.

2. Self-assessment/self-reflection. Consistently and realistically analyze and evaluate one's own knowledge, abilities and actions in comparison to professional standards and create action plans to enhance personal and professional efficacy related to working with children, adults, and families.

3. Critical thinking and content knowledge. Understands content related to working with children, adults and families within chosen program. Uses critical thinking skills to evaluate and utilize evidence-based practices. Uses logical and ethical reasoning to make decisions and solve problems.

4. Diversity and social justice. Understand the diverse needs of children, adults, and families. Ensure equitable access of children, adults and families to appropriate environments that support healthy living. Engage children, adults, and families with socially responsible and respectful behavior.

Career options include work serving children, youth, families and the elderly. Graduates may teach in public school early childhood programs as well as, middle and secondary Family and Consumer Science classrooms, serve as financial counselors, become public policy analysts, youth specialists, gerontologists, writers for Food, Family and Parenting publications, adult educators, or housing industry leaders.

Graduate Program
Graduate Director
Dr. Brenda J. Lohman
Graduate Courses Offered
  • Graduate Studies
  • Research and Ethics in HDFS.
  • Quantitative Research Methods.
  • Application of Quantitative Research Methodology.
  • Theories of Human Development.
  • Family Theory.
  • Perspectives in Gerontology.
  • Adult Development.
  • Developmental Disabilities.
  • Housing and Real Estate in Family Financial Planning.
  • Economics, Public Policy, and Aging.
  • Current Issues and Research in Early Childhood Services.
  • Environments for the Aging.
  • Family Policy.
  • Family Stress, Abuse, and Illness.
  • Developmental Assessment.
  • Cross-cultural Perspectives about Families and Children.
  • Aging in the Family Setting.
  • Family Well-being across the Lifespan
  • Investing for the Family's Future.
  • Program Evaluation and Research Methods in Gerontology.
  • Program Evaluation.
  • Family Economics.
  • Financial Counseling.
  • Financial Counseling Laboratory.
  • Professional Seminar in Gerontology.
  • Advanced Quantitative Methods.
  • Advanced Qualitative Methods.
  • Multi-level Modeling
  • Advanced Structural Equation and Longitudinal Modeling
  • Mixed-Methods
  • Grant Writing for Research.
  • Seminar.
  • Child Development.
  • Support and Interventions in Early Childhood.
  • Infant Mental Health
  • International Study in Human Development and Family Studies
Master's Level
Masters Program Options
  • Human Development and Family Studies
Masters Comments

The Department of Human Development and Family Studies at Iowa State University offers a thesis and non-thesis option. The Department of HDFS offers educational programs covering a range of human sciences and services related to children, youth, adults, and families. Graduate study in HDFS at Iowa State University is multidisciplinary and focuses on research, intervention, and outreach in several content areas such as: adolescent/youth development; adult development and aging; family studies; family policy; family economic well-being and financial planning; health and well-being; infant and child development; and lifespan development. The master's degree, depending on the research/content emphasis selected, prepares graduates for careers in fields such as extension, college teaching and research, child care and family service administration, parent education, early childhood education, early childhood special education, hospitals, state government (departments of human services, health, and education), and private and public agencies. We also offer several Master of Family and Consumer Sciences (MFSC) applied degrees (non-thesis) and graduate certificates that can be completed completely online in the areas of: Comprehensive, Family Financial Planning, Youth Development, and Gerontology. Finally, we have four graduate certificate programs: Developmental and Family Sciences Advanced Research Design and Methods; Family Well-Being in Diverse Society (online); Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health (online) and Lifespan Development (online).

Doctoral Level
Doctoral Program Options
  • Human Development and Family Studies
Doctoral Comments

The Ph.D. in Human Development and Family Studies is a research intensive degree. The Department of HDFS offers educational programs covering a range of human sciences and services related to children, youth, adults, and families. Graduate study in HDFS at Iowa State University is multidisciplinary and focuses on research, intervention, and outreach in several content areas such as: adolescent/youth development; adult development and aging; family studies; family policy; family economic well-being and financial planning; health and well-being; infant and child development; and lifespan development.  The HDFS graduate curriculum offered provides current research based coursework to prepare professionals for exciting opportunities in human development and family studies. Students may be admitted to our doctoral program with either a bachelor's (MS/PhD Track, 5 years) or a master's degree (PhD Track only, 3 years). Students admitted without a prior master's degree complete requirements for a thesis-based master's degree at Iowa State University as part of their doctoral program of study. Depending on the emphasis selected, graduates are prepared for college and university teaching, research, or human service/family policy work in public or private agencies. HDFS Alumni have been successful nationally and internationally in obtaining teaching, research, and service positions in research institutes, human service agencies, colleges and universities, including the cooperative extension service.

CFLE Information

NCFR recognizes schools offering undergraduate and graduate degree programs with course work that follows the Standards and Criteria required for approval as a Provisional Certified Family Life Educator (CFLE). NCFR approval allows the school to offer their graduates the opportunity to apply for Provisional Certification using the Abbreviated Application process. The CFLE Checklist represents the courses that meet the CFLE criteria at that school. Students must complete all the courses on a checklist in order to qualify to apply for the CFLE designation through the Abbreviated Application process.

Program Approved Since
4/1/2009
CFLE Contact
Lisa Enloe, M.S.
CFLE Contact Email