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HDFS offers an interdisciplinary approach to individual and family development across the lifespan. As one of the premier departments of its kind, we focus on child and adolescent development, adult development and aging, biological aspects of human development, family studies, intervention research, and developmental research methods. The family studies emphasis focuses on the human family: its evolution, history, and function and on relationships among family members throughout the life cycle. Students study communication patterns, power, decision making, problem solving, and intergenerational relations. Students study links between individual and family behavior and the wider community, for example, the relationship among parental employment, family dynamics, and patterns of child development. Students also learn about family and social, economic, and race influences; gender relations; and cultural variation in family structure. Family studies is integrated in teaching and research with the other areas of the department, for example, combining family and developmental perspectives.

Areas of Study
  • Child or Adolescent Science/Studies - Undergraduate
  • 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
Last Updated

The Human Development and Family Studies (HDFS) program helps you prepare for a career in which you look forward to helping others and contributing to a stronger community, and where you daily make a difference in the lives of others. The nation's elderly population is growing, single parent families are increasing, and greater numbers of children are in child care. These trends create high demand for HDFS graduates. The program provides an understanding of the whole person over the life span, in different contexts and cultures. Graduates of the HDFS program find careers as active, dynamic, and versatile human service professionals. For those already in the field of human services, HDFS degrees provide opportunities for further advancement.  Both Baccalaureate and Associate degrees are available.

Areas of Study
  • Child or Adolescent Science/Studies - Undergraduate
  • Development (Child, Human, or Family) - Undergraduate
  • Early Childhood - Undergraduate
Last Updated

Penn State's Department of Human Development and Family Studies is committed to excellence in research, teaching, and service regarding lifespan human development in the context of the family, community, and society. HDFS offers an interdisciplinary approach to individual and family development across the lifespan. As one of the premier departments of its kind, we focus on child and adolescent development, adult development and aging, biological aspects of human development, family studies, intervention research, and developmental research methods.

Areas of Study
  • Child or Adolescent Science/Studies - Undergraduate
  • Development (Child, Human, or Family) - Undergraduate
  • Family Science/Studies - Undergraduate
  • Older Adults (Gerontology) - Undergraduate
Last Updated

Penn State's Department of Human Development and Family Studies is committed to excellence in research, teaching, and service regarding lifespan human development in the context of the family, community, and society. HDFS offers an interdisciplinary approach to individual and family development across the lifespan. As one of the premier departments of its kind, we focus on child and adolescent development, adult development and aging, biological aspects of human development, family studies, intervention research, and developmental research methods.  We offer both associate and baccalaureate degrees.

Areas of Study
  • Development (Child, Human, or Family) - Undergraduate
  • Older Adults (Gerontology) - Undergraduate
  • Child or Adolescent Science/Studies - Undergraduate
  • Family Science/Studies - Undergraduate
Last Updated