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The mission of the Department of Human Development and Family Science is (a) to provide students with a comprehensive, integrated knowledge of families and individuals across the life span as appropriate preparation for careers in human services and/or graduate study, and (b) to conduct research on the variety of factors and contexts relevant to human and family development. The goal of the Department is to enhance the quality of life for individuals of all ages through teaching, research, and service in a manner consistent with the University's land grant mission. The Department recognizes the importance of an ecological approach to the study of human development and families, and utilizes a systemic approach in teaching, research, and service. Interactions of individuals and families with the economic, political, judicial, religious, and educational systems are emphasized. The Department also serves as a resource base for citizens of North Dakota in the area of individual and family life.

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

HDFS is a leader in applied interdisciplinary scholarship focused on reducing risk and enhancing resilience within individuals and among families across cultures and generations. The distinguishing feature of HDFS is the interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary integration of instruction, research and application between and among human development, family science, early childhood education, gerontology, and marriage and family therapy. Because integrative approaches are necessarily broad, the department's focus is on the many ways resilience may be discovered, developed, mastered, and maintained across human processes and contexts.

Areas of Study
  • Child or Adolescent Science/Studies - Master's
  • Child or Adolescent Science/Studies - Undergraduate
  • 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
  • Older Adults (Gerontology) - Master's
  • Older Adults (Gerontology) - Undergraduate
  • Therapy (Couples, Marriage, or Family) - Master's
CFLE Approved
Last Updated

The Department of Human Development & Family Studies focuses its teaching, research, and outreach activities on the well-being and healthy development of individuals and families over the full span of life, including dynamic relations within the family as well as the family's interactions with other social institutions. The Department's undergraduate and graduate programs present a multidisciplinary understanding of individual and family development and change over the life span. Students are oriented to the broad social, cultural, and historical contexts within which families function, and how context is reflected in developmental variations related to issues of diversity such as family structure, race, gender, class, and ethnicity. Students are exposed to the study of how social policies and various types of social services affect families, family members, and the wider contexts in which families reside. At the graduate level, the Department awards an M.A. and Ph.D. in Human Development and Family Studies.

Areas of Study
  • Child or Adolescent Science/Studies - Undergraduate
  • Development (Child, Human, or Family) - Undergraduate
  • Family Science/Studies - Doctoral
  • Family Science/Studies - Master's
  • Family Science/Studies - Undergraduate
  • Older Adults (Gerontology) - Doctoral
  • Older Adults (Gerontology) - Master's
  • Older Adults (Gerontology) - Undergraduate
  • Therapy (Couples, Marriage, or Family) - Doctoral
  • Therapy (Couples, Marriage, or Family) - Master's
CFLE Approved
Last Updated

The Family Services coursework focuses on theory and research about family relationships and human development, with an applied focus in order to help prepare students for work in the human services field or to attend graduate school. We have a strong focus on prevention and early intervention, providing tools and knowledge to families in order to improve their quality of life. Students link their family studies knowledge with courses about the population they want to serve. The program has been designated as an approved Certified Family Life Educator (CFLE) program by the National Council on Family Relations. The school also offers an interdisciplinary gerontology major with a choice of two tracks, social sciences or long term care administration. The long term care administration track qualifies student to take the State of Iowa licensing exam for facility administrators. The social sciences track provides a broad perspective on the nature of adulthood and aging, and the provision of services to older persons.

Areas of Study
  • Family Science/Studies - Undergraduate
  • Older Adults (Gerontology) - Undergraduate
CFLE Approved
Last Updated

Human Development and Family Sciences is committed to ensuring the optimal development, health, and well-being of individuals and families across the life course. Our transformational research, excellence in instruction, and active community engagement make us leaders in the advancement and application of scientific knowledge toward innovative solutions to the pressing challenges that confront communities, families, and individuals today. HDFS is situated in an accredited College of Publics Health and Human Services which provides a rich context for research and learning about health and well-being. 

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
  • Older Adults (Gerontology) - Undergraduate
Last Updated

The Human Development and Family Studies (HDFS) program is housed within the School of Lifespan Development and Educational Sciences. HDFS offers an interdisciplinary approach to individual and family development across the lifespan. We value a holistic perspective that includes nurturing and fostering physical, intellectual, emotional, and social dimensions of human life. 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) - Master's
  • Development (Child, Human, or Family) - Undergraduate
  • Family Science/Studies - Master's
  • Family Science/Studies - Undergraduate
  • Older Adults (Gerontology) - Undergraduate
CFLE Approved
Last Updated

Human Ecology is an interdisciplinary department that offers a holistic systems approach to examine the interrelationships that individuals and families have with social, economic, and political factors and conditions. This student-centered, research intensive department offers a BSc in Human Ecology with a major in Family Ecology (minors in Aging, Child and Youth Studies, Community Diversity, Community Ecology, Community Nutrition, International Development), MSc in Aging, MSc in Family Ecology and Practice, and a PhD in Human Ecology (with streams in Aging and Children, Youth and Families). Undergraduate and graduate programs focus on individuals and families across the life course, and on the development and evaluation of policy and programs to enhance individual and family well-being. Research programs focus on understanding the physical, economic, and social aspects of aging with a focus on aging well, and on enhancing the health and well-being of children, youth, and families across the life course with an emphasis on vulnerable groups.

Areas of Study
  • Child or Adolescent Science/Studies - Undergraduate
  • Community - Undergraduate
  • Family Science/Studies - Doctoral
  • Family Science/Studies - Master's
  • Family Science/Studies - Undergraduate
  • Older Adults (Gerontology) - Master's
  • Older Adults (Gerontology) - Undergraduate
Last Updated

The Family and Child Studies Department provides students with a greater understanding of multiple ways of knowing families and children in various contexts. It enables students to critically analyze the literature and to keep abreast of trends in research. The faculty creates a learning environment that supports and encourages the development of forward thinking practitioners and educators who work with families and children in a variety of settings. The department of Family and Child Studies examines multiple ways of knowing families and individuals over the life course in various socio-cultural contexts. Power, diversity, and social justice are analyzed through an interdisciplinary and critical approach.

Areas of Study
  • Child or Adolescent Science/Studies - Master's
  • Child or Adolescent Science/Studies - Undergraduate
  • Early Childhood - Undergraduate
  • Family Science/Studies - Doctoral
  • Family Science/Studies - Master's
  • Family Science/Studies - Undergraduate
  • Older Adults (Gerontology) - Undergraduate
CFLE Approved
Last Updated

The Family and Child Studies (M.S.) program is a life-span study of the family from birth to death. This degree program can lead to a certification in Family Life Education from the National Council on Family Relations. The Certified Child and Parenting Specialist credential is also available to those graduates who take the required examination and internships. The Family Life Education Program (B.S.) is the study of the development of children and their families from the prenatal stage throughout the lifespan. The program focuses on interpersonal relationships and developmental tasks of all family members. The program provides three options: Child Development, Marriage and Family, and Gerontology. The Child Development option provides students with a concentration of courses in child development and will strengthen career opportunities by providing students with competencies to work with children and their families. Studies focus specifically about children regarding research supporting the critical need to know how children learn and develop, and how to best meet these needs. Upon completion of the degree, students will be prepared to enter graduate programs with a concentration in Child Development and related areas. Students are prepared to apply for the following certifications: Certified Family Life Educator and Certified Child and Parenting Practitioner. The Marriage and Family option is designed for students who desire to work with families in family life education and/or in family and community service settings. The curriculum has a broad interdisciplinary component including course work in individual development; marital and family systems; professionalism and ethics; and research. Students completing this option are prepared to meet the requirements for Certified Family Life Education national certification and for graduate programs in marriage and family, and related fields. The Gerontology option will provide students with a concentration of courses related to the older adult. Because of the rapid pace at which our society is aging and the high percent of older adults, students will increase their career opportunities as they work with this age in the population. Completion of this option allows the graduate to enter graduate programs in Gerontology and satisfy requirements for the Certified Family Life Educator and other certifications available.

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

The Family Studies and Gerontology program at Mount Saint Vincent University offers two options: (1) Gerontology, which focuses on issues relating to aging in contemporary society, and (2) Family Studies, which encompasses a study of individuals and families across the life course. Students are prepared for a variety of careers in the social welfare and family support sectors, which focus on prevention, support, and community development. The Department offers undergraduate minors and concentrations in (a) family studies, and (b) gerontology, A minor/concentration in Family Studies or Gerontology complements other programs such as sociology, psychology, public policy, and women's studies by providing a focused examination of family or aging issues as well as giving students applied skills (e.g., program planning, advocacy, communication skills, policy development and analysis) that will be beneficial in working with families and aging individuals.

A thesis-based Masters of Arts (M.A.) in Family Studies and Gerontology is also offered. Faculty engage in research related to areas such as unpaid caregiving, caregiving policy, retirement, military families, family life education, qualitative methodology, LGBT families, individuals aging with life-long disabilities, sexuality, division of labour in families, immigrants, and elder abuse.

Areas of Study
  • Family Science/Studies - Master's
  • Family Science/Studies - Undergraduate
  • Older Adults (Gerontology) - Master's
  • Older Adults (Gerontology) - Undergraduate
Last Updated