University of Illinois

Department of Human Development & Family Studies
Last Updated

The mission of the Department of Human Development and Family Studies is to address contemporary social issues that affect children, youth, adults, and families through high quality research, teaching, and outreach programs

Our program is characterized by:

A Focus on Significant Societal Issues. Our work could be described as "science with a social conscience." Faculty are interested in the most challenging basic scientific issues, but they are always asking how this information can be applied or how they can make a difference through prevention efforts, policy briefs, and/or community action. Illustrative topics include childhood obesity, intimate partner violence, emotional/behavioral regulation in young children, LGBT couples facing stressors/support in non-urban communities, among many others.

The Use of Advanced Methods in Unique Laboratory Facilities. Faculty and graduate students are engaged in developing and mastering the most sophisticated quantitative and qualitative methods available to social and behavioral scientists and to practicing these skills in state-of-the-art laboratories and our Family Resiliency Center.

Collaborative and Collegial Interactions. Our faculty work across disciplines, programs, methodologies and they work with colleagues across settings, departments and institutions. A transdisciplinary approach is being applied to address complex issues ranging from the physiological basis of language and emotion, the parenting experiences of fathers with children with developmental disabilities, cell-to-society approach to children's health, social mobility of low income households, and the internationalization of American universities.

Faculty with Major Scientific Leadership Roles. Our faculty are not only excellent research scholars and mentors, they are also leaders in the scientific community. They are recognized by their peers for awards and hold elective office. They regularly give invited lectures at major national meetings and universities across the world. They serve as editors of influential journals in the field.

Program Overview
Program Administrator
Dr. Susan Silverberg Koerner
Department Emphasis
  • 50% Family Science
  • 50% Child/Human Development
Campus Enrollment
Program Options
  • Undergraduate
  • Doctoral
Areas of Study
  • Child or Adolescent Science/Studies - Undergraduate
  • Community - Doctoral
  • Development (Child, Human, or Family) - Doctoral
  • Development (Child, Human, or Family) - Undergraduate
  • Family Science/Studies - Doctoral
  • Family Science/Studies - Undergraduate
Department Address

905 S. Goodwin Ave.
222 Bevier Hall
Urbana, IL 61801
United States

Phone Number
Undergraduate Program
Undergrad Program Options
  • Child & Adolescent Development
  • Family Studies
Undergrad Courses Offered
  • Introduction to Human Development
  • Families in Global Perspective
  • Practicum in HDFS
  • Graduate & Professional School Planning and Preparation
  • Introduction to Family Studies
  • Biological Bases of Human Behavior
  • Early Childhood Curriculum Development
  • Infancy & Early Childhood
  • Children & Families with Special Needs
  • Comparative Family Organization
  • Introduction to Aging
  • Close Relationships
  • Middle Childhood
  • Motor Development, Growth, & Form
  • Undergraduate Research or Thesis
  • Issues in Socialization & Development
  • Gender, Relationships, & Society
  • Hospitalized Children & Their Families
  • Gerontology
  • Family Diversity in the US
  • Racial & Ethnic Families
  • Critical Family Transitions
  • Adolescent Development
  • Child Development Class Supervision
  • Music in Early Childhood
  • Practicum in Human Development & Family Studies
  • Family Conflict Management
Undergrad Accreditations/Approval
Undergrad Comments

Three words describe our undergraduate program—science, service and social change. Students in HDFS learn scientific approaches to understanding children and families in order to have a career serving children and families and to be involved in social change that increases justice and equality in society. Our students have multiple opportunities for experiential learning through courses and facilities within our Department. In addition, there are a variety of options for students to work directly with world-renowned faculty on research or outreach projects. Our students become professionals who – among other things - prevent child abuse, design programs to promote individual and family well-being, help children in hospitals deal with medical procedures, or become directors of child care centers. Many students go on to get advanced training in HDFS, psychology, education, social work, health, law, and a variety of other professions.

Graduate Program
Graduate Director
Dr. Ramona Oswald
Graduate Courses Offered
  • Children's Social/Emotional Development
  • Advanced Adolescence
  • Family Resiliency
  • Family Ethnicity
  • Ethnic Families
  • Youth, Culture and Society
  • Gender & Sexuality
  • Parenting
  • Intimate Partner Violence
  • Family Interaction
  • Childhood Obesity
  • Families in Flux
  • Research in Human Development
  • Research in Family Studies
  • Theories of Human Development
  • Communities in American Society
  • Advanced Survey of Research Methods
  • Qualitative Methods in Family & Community Studies (Grounded Theory
  • Ethnography)
  • Quantitative Methods in Human Development & Family Studies (Intermediate
  • Advanced)
  • Program Development
  • Program Evaluation
Doctoral Level
Doctoral Program Options
  • Human Development & Family Studies
Doctoral Comments

The doctoral program in Human Development and Family Studies focuses on positive development and resilience of children, youth, and family in everyday life contexts. Regarding children and youth, our faculty emphasize social and emotional development, in family, community, and other settings. Regarding family, our faculty emphasize parent-child and other family relationships, gender/sexuality, race/ethnicity, and resilient family processes, in family and community contexts (e.g., neighborhoods, workplaces, the legal system, and social service settings). The HDFS applied concentration focuses on program intervention, prevention, and evaluation. Our faculty are methodologically diverse, including expertise in both quantitative and qualitative approaches. 

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
11/1/2014. Effective 09/30/2020 this program is no longer CFLE-approved. Graduates completing coursework by 09/30/2020 can apply through 09/30/2022.
CFLE Contact
Jennifer Hardesty, PhD
CFLE Contact Email