Human Development and Family Studies (B.S.)
Human Development and Family Studies is rooted in many social science disciplines. The Human Development and Family Studies program at Penn State was among the first of its kind in the nation, and continues to be one of the most respected.
Human development is best understood by looking at the whole person, rather than from the narrow perspective of a single discipline. The HDFS program focuses on the role and importance of family and family systems. Family systems thinking recognizes the interrelationship between family members and their environment. Students learn to understand that individuals are not limited to a single family environment, but often coexist among a variety of multi-dimensional, multi-layered family settings. Students are taught how societal problems such as substance abuse, domestic violence, financial struggles, delinquency and child abuse can be more effectively addressed from a perspective that considers the individual and family as interrelated and part of a larger system. Knowledge about healthy family functioning can be applied to prevent or minimize many of these problems.