North Dakota State University

Department of Human Development and Family Science
CFLE Approved
Last Updated

The mission of the Department of Human Development and Family Science is (a) to provide students with a comprehensive, integrated knowledge of families and individuals across the life span as appropriate preparation for careers in human services and/or graduate study, and (b) to conduct research on the variety of factors and contexts relevant to human and family development. The goal of the Department is to enhance the quality of life for individuals of all ages through teaching, research, and service in a manner consistent with the University's land grant mission. The Department recognizes the importance of an ecological approach to the study of human development and families, and utilizes a systemic approach in teaching, research, and service. Interactions of individuals and families with the economic, political, judicial, religious, and educational systems are emphasized. The Department also serves as a resource base for citizens of North Dakota in the area of individual and family life.

Program Overview
Program Administrator
Dr. Joel Hektner
Department Emphasis
  • 62% Child/Human Development
  • 23% Family Therapy
  • 15% Family Science
Campus Enrollment
14,000
Program Options
  • Undergraduate
  • Master’s
  • Doctoral
Areas of Study
  • Child or Adolescent Science/Studies - Master's
  • Development (Child, Human, or Family) - Doctoral
  • Development (Child, Human, or Family) - Master's
  • Development (Child, Human, or Family) - Undergraduate
  • Family Science/Studies - Master's
  • Family Science/Studies - Undergraduate
  • Older Adults (Gerontology) - Undergraduate
  • Therapy (Couples, Marriage, or Family) - Master's
Department Address

Dept. 2615, PO Box 6050
Fargo, ND 58108-6050
United States

Phone Number
701-231-8268
Undergraduate Program
Undergrad Program Options
  • Child & Adolescent Development (online and on campus)
  • Adult Development and Aging (online and on campus)
  • Family Science (Online and on campus)
  • Child Development/Elementary Education (on campus only)
  • Family Science/Social Work (on campus only)
Undergrad Courses Offered
  • Introduction to Family Science
  • Consumer and Society
  • Life Span Development
  • Prenatal, Infant and Toddler Development
  • Couples, Marriages, and Families
  • Child Development
  • Parent-Child Relations
  • Children, Families, and Public Policy
  • Personal and Family Finance
  • Introduction to Reseach Methods in Human Development and Family Science
  • Issues in Sexuality
  • Adolescent Development
  • Adult Development and Aging
  • Methods of Family Life Education
  • Families and Work
  • Community Resources of Later Life
  • Children and Families Across Cultures
  • Financial Counseling
  • Family Dynamics of Aging
  • Family Wellness
  • Observation and Assessment of Children
Undergrad Comments

At the undergraduate level, the HDFS department offers a Bachelor of Science degree with five options. In the Child and Adolescent Development option students are prepared for careers involving direct and support services for children. The Family Science option allows students prepare for careers in direct and support services for families. The Child Development/Elementary Education option is a collaborative effort between NDSU and Valley City State University, and the Family Science/Social Work option is a collaborative effort between NDSU and Minot State University; for both options, all courses are offered at NDSU. The Adult Development and Aging option prepares students for careers that involve work with the aging population.

Graduate Program
Graduate Director
Developmental Science: Heather Fuller; Couple and Family Therapy: Tom Stone Carlson
Graduate Courses Offered
  • Financial Counseling
  • Research Methods in Human Development and Family Science
  • Quantitative Methods in Developmental Science
  • Youth Development
  • Methods and Theories in Gerontology
  • Perspectives in Gerotology
  • Theories and Research in Family Financial Planning
  • Aging Policy
  • Teaching Developmental Science
  • Social Justice Approaches to Couple and Family Therapy
  • Contemporary Grant Writing
  • Research Methods in couple and Family Therapy
  • Supervision and Teaching Couple and Family Therapy
  • Advanced Human Development: Birth through childhood
  • Advanced Human Development: Adolescence through Early Adulthood
  • Advanced Human Development: Midde through Late Adulthood
  • Issues and Theories in Family Science
  • Advanced Quantitative Methods in Developmental Science
  • Longitudinal Research Methods and Analysis
  • Graduate Seminar
Master's Level
Masters Program Options
  • Family Financial Planning (online only)
  • Gerontology (online only)
  • Youth Development (online only)
Masters Comments

The Family Financial Planning (FFP) option is a collaborative, inter-institutional program offered through web-based distance education with a specific curriculum approved by the Certified Financial Planner (CFP) Board of Standards. The Gerontology and Youth Development options are collaborative, inter-institutional programs also offered through web-based distance education. Graduate certificates in each option

Doctoral Level
Doctoral Program Options
  • Developmental Science (on campus only)
  • Couple and Family Therapy (on campus only)
Doctoral Comments

The Couple and Family Therapy faculty is committed to developing the next generation of scholars in the field of CFT through a dedicated mentoring process that prepares students for future leadership roles in academic and research settings as well as clinical administration and supervision. The program is particularly committed to training scholars who have the potential to lead the field of CFT to be more inclusive of marginalized communities and embrace the values and ethics associated with social justice. The program is committed to providing an LGBT affirmative environment for all students, faculty, staff, and clients who use our on-campus therapy center. The program is recognized as the leading program in the field in teaching students the knowledge and skills associated with becoming an LGBT affirmative researcher, supervisor, and therapist.

Developmental science is an emerging interdisciplinary field that studies human development across the lifespan in various family, social and cultural contexts. Our faculty's research covers the lifespan and immediately and meaningfully impacts the wellbeing of individuals and families. Faculty study both socioemotional and cognitive development across a variety of ages. Rather than focus on how groups of people at different ages vary from one another, we are concerned with how individuals grow and develop over time. In particular, we focus on how this growth and development relates to family, social and cultural contexts.

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
November, 2009
CFLE Contact
Joel Hektner
CFLE Contact Email