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The Department of Human Development & Family Services at Pennsylvania State Altoona is a small department with strong ties to the community. Faculty are particularly interested in helping students understand development in applied contexts. Students are encouraged to work with faculty members in research projects or in other capacities. Several courses link students to community organizations and agencies, service learning is a part of the curriculum, and all students are required to spend one semester working full-time at an internship.

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

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

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

The mission of the Child Development and Family Relations major is to prepare students for professional positions in child developmental and family services. These positions can be found in federal, state, and local programs and agencies. Students are prepared to provide direct services and to assume positions of leadership in human services related fields. Graduates are also prepared to further their education in Child Development, Family Studies, and related areas.

Areas of Study
  • Development (Child, Human, or Family) - Undergraduate
  • Family Science/Studies - Undergraduate
CFLE Approved
Last Updated

The Department of Human Development and Family Science equips students with the knowledge, skills, and expertise to enhance the well-being of individuals and families across the lifespan in diverse social and cultural settings. Within the context of Christian faith and values, the Department prepares students, through experiential and application opportunities, to pursue leadership, service, and reconciliation, locally, nationally, and globally.

Areas of Study
  • Development (Child, Human, or Family) - Undergraduate
  • Family Science/Studies - Undergraduate
CFLE Approved
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

The HDFS major is a multidisciplinary degree that examines the development of individuals and families across the life span. It enables students to prepare for professional, managerial, or scientific roles in health and human service professions, in public and nonprofit agencies, and in business and industry, as well as for advanced professional or graduate study. Students obtain a broad background in individual and family development across the life span. Courses emphasize biological, psychological, social/cultural, and economic aspects of development. Through course work and undergraduate internships, students develop skills relevant to career objectives, such as counseling, human assessment, program planning and evaluation, and research.

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

This HDFS degree enables students to prepare for professional, managerial, or scientific roles in health and human services professions, in public and nonprofit agencies, and in business and industry, as well as for advanced professional or graduate study.

Students obtain a broad background in individual and family development across the life span. Courses emphasize biological, psychological, social/cultural, and economic aspects of development.

Through course work and undergraduate internships or research projects, students develop skills relevant to career objectives, such as counseling, human assessment, program planning and evaluation, and research.

This degree has only one option:

LIFE SPAN HUMAN SERVICES OPTION: This option focuses on the acquisition and application of scientific knowledge about development and family functioning across the life span for the purposes of enhancing personal and family development.

Courses emphasize:

  1. Understanding the biological, psychological, and social development across the life span and the structuring and functioning of families
  2. Understanding basic theoretical and methodological issues
  3. The development of applied skills in intervention and evaluation, prevention, and in the formulation of social policy.

An approved field experience in a setting that serves children, youth, adults, or the aged is required for this option.

Typical employment settings include preschools, daycare centers, hospital programs for children, youth, and families, institutional and community mental health programs for individuals and families, programs for abused or neglected children and adolescents, women's resource centers, human resources programs, employee assistance programs, nursing homes, area agencies on aging and other community settings for older adults, and public welfare and family service agencies.

Typical postgraduate pursuits of students completing this option include graduate study in human development, family studies, psychology, or sociology, or advanced professional training in psychology, law, behavioral health, counseling or social work.

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