University of Texas

Department of Human Development & Family Sciences
Last Updated

The Department of Human Development and Family Sciences (HDFS) explores the psychological, social, and biopsychosocial processes that lead individuals and families to a spectrum of outcomes, from productivity, health, and well-being at one end to illness, dysfunction, and distress at the other. HDFS at UT-Austin is a dynamic program that is among the nation's best interdisciplinary departments. Our faculty are award-winning teachers, leaders in prestigious scientific societies, recipients of national and international awards for outstanding research accomplishments and distinguished careers, and recipients of major grants from the National Science Foundation, National Institutes of Health, and numerous private foundations. Our senior faculty are among the elite researchers in the discipline, and our junior faculty are some of the field's brightest up and coming stars.

Program Overview
Program Administrator
Dr. Deborah Jacobvitz
Department Emphasis
  • 50% Child/Human Development
  • 50% Family Studies
Campus Enrollment
Program Options
  • Undergraduate
  • Master’s
  • 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
Department Address

108 Dean Keaton St.
Stop A2702
Austin, TX 78712-1248
United States

Phone Number
Undergraduate Program
Undergrad Program Options
  • Early Childhood
  • Families & Personal Relationships
  • Families & Society
  • Human Development
  • Human Development & Family Sciences
Undergrad Courses Offered
  • Child Development
  • Family Relationships
  • Family Resource Management
  • Personal And Family Finance
  • Courtship and Marriage
  • Socioeconomic Problems of the Family
  • Activities for the Young Child (Art and Science
  • Music and Literature)
  • Research Practicum
  • Honors Reading Course
  • Field Practicum
  • Guidance in Adult-Child Relationships
  • Family Interaction and Development
  • Adolescent Development
  • Peer Relations
  • Infant-Toddler Development and Social Attachment
  • Parent-Child Relationships
  • Introduction to Early Childhood Intervention
  • Advanced Theories of Child Development
  • Honors Tutorial Course
  • Research Methods in HDFS
  • Methods of Family Life Education
  • Children and Public Policy.
Undergrad Accreditations/Approval
Undergrad Comments

Human Development and Family Sciences (HDFS), a department within the School of Human Ecology (SoHE), is currently home to more than 500 undergraduate majors who focus on the study of families and the individuals within the family unit.

Our program is unique in that it is located in the College of Natural Sciences, giving our majors a solid background in statistics as well as the physical sciences. Our HDFS curriculum focuses on helping students develop knowledge and experience about individuals and families through observation, interaction, research, and writing. Our curriculum also provides opportunities for students to implement the skills they have mastered through a required practicum course. An undergraduate major in HDFS provides excellent preparation for graduate school or advance degrees as well as a future in allied health professions, research careers in HDFS, or for employment that has indirect or direct contact with children, adults, or families.

Students in the HDFS major choose between four primary tracks, Early Childhood, Human Development, Families and Personal Relationships, and Families and Society. We also offer several avenues for gaining honors distinction upon graduation as well as a BSA (Bachelor of Science and Arts) in HDFS.

Graduate Program: Initiated in 1962, the program is interdisciplinary and students are admitted only to the doctoral program, although students may elect to obtain a Masters degree en route to a doctoral degree. It emphasizes advanced study of relationships within families, the development of children and adults in those relationships, and the social and economic conditions that influence both individuals and relationships. Although a variety of applied experiences and internships are available, the program's principal focus is research and research training. Students participate in ongoing faculty research from the moment they enter the program and gradually acquire the skills needed to do research independently. HDFS students use this training to enter teaching and research careers in colleges and universities; in private, governmental, and philanthropic organizations; and in organizations that develop or implement programs for children.

Graduate Program
Graduate Director
Elizabeth Gershoff
Graduate Courses Offered
  • Research Methods (Research Methods in Human Development & Family Sciences)
  • Research Problems (Child Development)
  • Family Relationships
  • Marital Relationships
  • Peer Relationships
  • Parent-Child Relationships
  • The Family & Public Policy
  • The Family & the Mass Media
  • Graduate Seminar (Parent-Child Interaction)
  • Family-Peer Relationships
  • Marital Relationships
  • Sex Roles in Family Relationships
  • Minority Groups & Family Relationships
  • Intergenerational Parenting
  • Divorce
  • Family Systems Theory
  • Children & Poverty
  • Adult Development
  • Issues in Early Childhood Development
  • Attachment & Development through the Life Span
  • Cognition in Close Relationships
  • Adoptive Family Relationships
  • Children & the Mass Media
  • Development of Close Relationships
  • Practicum in Human Development & Family Sciences
  • Child and Adolescent Development
  • Contextual Influences on Individual and Family Development
  • Adult Development and Aging
  • Intimate Relationship Formation and Development
  • Intermediate Statistics for Behavioral Science
  • Analyzing Development and Change
  • Advanced Regression and Structural Models
Master's Level
Masters Program Options
  • Human Development & Family Science
Doctoral Level
Doctoral Program Options
  • Human Development & Family Science
Doctoral Comments

The doctoral degree program is designed to prepare students for research, teaching, and administrative positions in colleges and universities and for positions in government, policy-related research organizations, and other public and private settings. The program emphasizes research and theory on the interplay among individual development, family relationships, and institutions outside the family. The family is studied as a system of relationships, with attention given to roles and communication. Community influences outside the family are also studied. The program emphasizes the development of family and other relationships and how these contribute to the development of individuals from birth to maturity.

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
May 2001. Approval discontinued effective 4/30/16
CFLE Contact
Amy E. Imes
CFLE Contact Email