Ohio State University

Program in Human Development & Family Science
Last Updated

The Department of Human Development and Family Science engages in research, teaching, outreach, and the preparation of scholars and professionals to enhance the lives of individuals and families. We focus on the nature and process of human development over the life span, the dynamics of couple and family relationships, conditions in the family, community, and society that enhance, support, and impede individual development and family well-being, early child development/education/day care, dysfunctional family systems/family therapy and family life education. The program houses a Couple and Family Therapy Clinic, with 4 therapy rooms, 4 observation rooms, and 3 AAMFT approved supervisors.

Program Overview
Program Administrator
Dr. Carl Maresh
Department Emphasis
  • 34% Family Studies
  • 33% Child/Human Development
  • 33% Family Therapy
Campus Enrollment
Program Options
  • Undergraduate
  • Doctoral
Areas of Study
  • Development (Child, Human, or Family) - Doctoral
  • Development (Child, Human, or Family) - Master's
  • Development (Child, Human, or Family) - Undergraduate
  • Early Childhood - Undergraduate
  • Family Science/Studies - Doctoral
  • Family Science/Studies - Master's
  • Family Science/Studies - Undergraduate
  • Therapy (Couples, Marriage, or Family) - Master's
Department Address

1787 Neil Avenue
135 Campbell Hall
Columbus, OH 43210-1295
United States

Phone Number
Undergraduate Program
Undergrad Program Options
  • Early Child Development & Education
  • Family Studies
  • Middle Childhood Development & Education
Undergrad Courses Offered
  • Life Span Human Development
  • Child Development
  • Infant-Toddler Development: Current Research and controversies
  • Adolescence and Emerging Adult Development
  • Adult Development and Aging
  • Methods in Human Ecology Research
  • Foundations of Family Science
  • Family Development
  • Families and Stress
  • American Family Issues and Social Action
  • Families with Adolescents
  • Parenting
  • Intimate Relationships
  • Human Sexuality
  • Human Sexuality in Context
  • Foundations of Prevention Science
  • Developmental and Prevention Science Research Methods
  • Intervention and Prevention Practices: Development and Evaluation
  • Promoting emotional Well-being
  • Foundations of Marital and Family Therapy
  • Managing and Supporting Behavior in Social Contexts
  • Helping Skills in Context
  • Professional Development
  • Practicum in Human Development and Family Science Research
  • Undergraduate Research in Human Development and Family Science
  • Introductory Field Work
  • Field Work with Targeted Populations (Children, Adolescents, Older Adults, At Risk Populations)
  • Special Topics in Family Development
  • Special Topics in Child Development
  • Special Topics in Adolescent development
  • Special Topics in Adult Development and Aging
  • Special Topics in Prevention Science
Undergrad Comments

The undergraduate program is designed to provide students with a comprehensive education in the fields of human Development and Family Science, along with strong foundations in the arts, humanities, sciences, and the social-behavioral sciences in particular. As a department in the College of Education and Human Ecology, one of the professional colleges at OSU, the B.S. degree programs also incorporate course work and supervised field and practicum experiences designed to prepare students for work and professional careers in family life education and human/family social services.

Graduate Program
Graduate Director
Dr. Claire Kamp Dush
Graduate Courses Offered
  • Research Seminar
  • Proseminar
  • The Ph.D. Job Market
  • Research Methods
  • Theoretical Perspectives on the Family
  • General Systems Theory
  • Adolescence and Emerging Adulthood
  • Advanced Child Development
  • Intimate Relationships
  • Adult Development and Aging
  • Foundations of Couple and Family Therapy
  • Families with Adolescents
  • Human Sexuality in Context
  • Professional and Ethical Issues in Couple and Family Therapy
  • Research Methods in Couple and Family Therapy
  • Individuation
  • Adolescence: Risk in Context
  • Theories of Human Development
  • Measurement in Human Development and Family Science
  • Family in Mid-to-Late Years
  • Family Systems Assessment
  • Family Therapy Theory I
  • Family Therapy Theory II
  • Marital Therapy Theory
Master's Level
Masters Program Options
  • Human Development and Family Science
Doctoral Level
Doctoral Program Options
  • Human Development and Family Science
  • Couple and Family Therapy Specialization
Doctoral Comments

The cornerstone of doctoral preparation across program areas is research. Doctoral students are actively involved in research, usually projects within existing research programs of the faculty, The doctorate program in Human Development and Family Science teaches graduate students about human development and behavior from multiple disciplinary perspectives and across several contexts, including families and neighborhoods. Students also receive intensive training in research methods and statistics.

Through instruction in systems and bioecological perspectives, a strong multidisplinary knowledge base in family science and human development and intensive research with faculty, our HDFS graduate students are contributing new knowledge that has the potential to improve the lives of children, adults and families around the world.

Faculty in Human Development and Family Science have developed a program that meets the needs of its students. The key aspects of the program include:

Student-focused - The program has few required courses so students can tailor their training to create the program of study that best meets their needs.;Multidisciplinary - The program faculty includes scholars trained across several disciplines who push students to explore new, innovative ways of conceiving research questions and conducting research projects.;Systems perspective - The program takes a systems perspective on human development, emphasizing the study of development in family, community and societal contexts.;Research-focused - Faculty and graduate students publish their research in the top disciplinary and interdisciplinary journals.;Professional development - From a student's first semester, faculty help students develop the professional skills needed to be successful in graduate school. Students' experiences are accentuated through courses and frequent forums on professional development topics, including college teaching and the job market for PhDs.

Students also get additional benefits from their studies in HDFS by supplementing them with a specialization in Couple and Family Therapy, graduate interdisciplinary specializations such as obesity science, demography, or applied developmental science, graduate minors and opportunities at several research centers.

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.