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HDFS Major Undergraduate Degree

Students majoring in Human Development and Family Studies gain the knowledge and skills that prepare them for careers serving individuals and families across the lifespan. Courses are designed to help students deal with current issues confronting families and children in the nation and the world.

Students have the opportunity to work with internationally recognized faculty on important research projects that can help society better understand human development and family relationships with the ultimate goal of improving the quality of life for individuals and families.

Students are required to complete a practicum experience in agencies that provide hands-on experience so they are prepared to enter the workforce when they graduate. The program has a reputation for producing highly qualified professionals who are employed across the state and nation when the graduate with a bachelor’s degree. Students are also well prepared for graduate school.

Students receive a BS by completing all required courses in the major. To receive a BA, students must also gain proficiency in one or more foreign languages.


Students must choose an emphasis.

  • Family and Community Services: In this research-guided emphasis, students learn to work with families across the lifespan. They develop strong skills in family life education, ethics, professionalism, and program development.
  • Child Development: In this emphasis students learn about social, emotional, intellectual, and physical development and the environments that support optimal growth in these areas. The importance of relationships and early childhood education are also emphasized.
  • Family Finance: This emphasis prepares students to be financial counselors and to help individuals and families make decisions relating to insurance, investing, credit, budgeting, and home ownership.
  • Human Development Lifespan: Students learn about addressing the developmental needs of individuals and families. Through applied experiences students engage with individuals, families, social agencies and organizations.

Admission Requirements

In addition to Utah State University’s admissions requirements, the Human Development and Family Studies program has additional requirements:

  • Freshmen: New freshmen admitted to USU in good standing qualify for admission as pre-majors.
  • Transfer Students: Transfer students and USU students transferring from other majors qualify for the pre-major if they meet USU's general admissions requirements.
  • To be admitted to the major students must complete the following:
    • 24 semester credits
    • Overall cumulative 3.0 GPA
    • HDFS 1500, HDFS 2000, HDFS 2400, and STAT 1040/1045 with a C grade or better

International students have additional admissions requirements.

Career & Employment Settings

  • Family Life Educator (teach community classes—parenting, abuse, finance, life skills)
  • Caseworker (elderly, low-income families, at-risk youth and families, teen parents, unemployed, foster or adoption agencies)
  • Program Director/Coordinator (after-school programs, senior citizen centers, community education, youth programs)
  • Advocate (at-risk youth, families, elderly, victims)
  • Crisis Intervention (work with abuse, neglect, domestic violence, sexual assault, natural disasters)
  • Child Dev Adoption Agencies
  • Child Protective Services
  • Youth Development Programs
  • Drug Treatment Centers Gerontology Programs/Agencies
  • Nonprofit Community Agencies
  • Residential Treatment Programs
  • Child Care Centers Family Service Agencies
  • Government Agencies
  • Recreation Centers
  • Crisis Centers
  • Child Development Consultant (helps families to improve social and psychological functioning)
  • Preschool teacher (Head Start, Montessori)

Advisor Contact

Laura Holley

Laura Holley

Academic Advisor