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Human Development and Family Studies: BS, BA

Human Development and Family Studies

In this program, students 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.


  • 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.

Additional Information:

The Child Development emphasis is only available at the following locations: Logan, Brigham City, and Roosevelt (Uintah basin).

The Family Finance emphasis is only available in Logan.

The Family and Community Services emphasis is available online and throughout the state of Utah.

The Human Development Lifespan emphasis is available online and throughout the state of Utah.

With a degree in Human Development and Family Studies, students may pursue careers in the following areas:

Family and Community Services, Child Development, and Human Development Lifespan Emphases

  • Child care/preschool settings
  • Job coaching, career counseling
  • Head Start programs
  • Social services agencies
  • Drug treatment centers
  • Youth and adult residential care centers
  • Foster care
  • Youth centers
  • Crisis centers
  • Parent education programs
  • Senior citizen centers
  • Long-term care facilities
  • Federal, state, and local agencies serving families and children
  • Family Life Educator

Family Finance Emphasis

  • Consumer credit counseling services
  • Financial counselor or educator
  • Financial planner
  • Credit unions
  • Corporate employee assistance programs
  • Employee benefits counseling firms
  • College financial aid offices
  • Bank loan offices
  • Bankruptcy courts
  • Community housing programs
  • Personal banker
  • Mortgage loan officer
  • Credit counselor
  • Consumer relations coordinator
  • Credit investigator
  • Insurance broker

Career Services provides counseling and information on hundreds of job and internship opportunities and even helps students apply and interview.

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 at least 24 semester credits with a GPA of 3.0 or higher. These credits include specific HDFS prerequisite courses.

International students have additional admissions requirements.

Program Requirements

A criminal background check, including fingerprinting, is required for everyone who completes an HDFS practicum.

Students in the department are required to complete a practicum experience.

Professional Organizations, Honor Societies, and Clubs

Family Science Association: FSA is an independent organization of professionals and students who have joined together to strengthen and enhance the family science profession.

National Council on Family Relations: NCFR is the oldest multidisciplinary family organization in the United States. It is a nonprofit organization of professionals who work in the multi-faceted areas of the family field.

American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy: AAMFT is the professional association for the field of marriage and family therapy. The association leads the way to increasing understanding, research, and education in the field of marriage and family therapy, and ensuring that the public's needs are met by trained practitioners. The AAMFT provides individuals with the tools and resources they need to succeed as marriage and family therapists.

Phi Upsilon Omicron: Phi Upsilon Omicron is a national honor society in family and consumer sciences. Its purposes are to recognize and encourage academic excellence, develop qualities of professional and personal leadership, provide opportunities for service to the profession, and encourage professional and personal commitment to the area of family and consumer sciences.

Student Gerontology Association: The USU SGA is a service club that is open to any student interested in serving or working with the aging community. Students have the opportunity to help with holiday parties and other activities at assisted living centers in the community each semester. Members also meet professionals in aging services who can offer insight into this career field.

Family Finance Club: The family finance club gives students the opportunity to learn about various financial topics and to associate with each other. The club usually has one to two activities per semester.

American Association of Family and Consumer Sciences: For more than 100 years, the American Association of Family and Consumer Sciences has provided leadership and support to professionals whose work assists individuals, families, and communities in making informed decisions about their well-being, relationships, and resources to achieve optimal quality of life.

Labs, Centers, Research

With the second oldest undergraduate research program in the nation, USU offers students a wide range of opportunities to gain hands-on research experience. USU’s Honors Program prepares students for excellent graduate programs by helping them build relationships with professors, participate in research projects, take smaller, more intensive classes, and develop leadership skills.

Adele and Dale Young Child Development Laboratory: This laboratory provides a variety of programs for children birth to 12 years old. Faculty members, graduate students, and undergraduate students conduct research to better understand individual development and family relationships across the life span. They use the information gained through research to better aid the development of social competency skills in the children they serve. Each program in the laboratory is designed to provide children with a wide variety of developmentally appropriate divergent activities, a stimulating multisensory environment, and opportunities for discovery and making choices, interpersonal interactions, and independence-promoting situations.

Center for Persons with Disabilities: The CPD is a nationally recognized research center that joins the expertise of researchers and faculty with community partners to address the most difficult challenges facing persons with disabilities and their families. Research addresses issues that cross fields ranging from biomedicine to education. In clinical experiences, learners join teams of professionals, family members, and individuals with disabilities to deliver services and supports.

Center for the School of the Future: The CSF is a research center dedicated to improving the quality and effectiveness of education by identifying effective educational practices and supporting their dissemination and adoption in local circumstances.

Child Care Resource and Referral: Child Care Resource and Referral provides child care information to parents, including information about selecting the right child care and about financial assistance. It also provides resources to people who are interested in becoming licensed as child care providers.

Dolores Doré Eccles Center for Early Care and Education: This center provides child care for young children of students, staff, and faculty at USU. Students studying early childhood education are able to work with children to provide an emotionally positive, healthy, and nurturing environment, as well as earn academic credit. Students plan developmentally appropriate activities and experiences that enhance each child’s social, emotional, cognitive, language, and physical development.

Early Intervention Research Institute: The EIRI is an interdisciplinary organization committed to investigating and improving policies and practices that support the well-being of at-risk children as well as those with special needs and their families. The institute conducts research as well as provides training and technical assistance at community, state, national, and international levels.

Family Life Center: This center houses two community services providers: family financial counseling and marriage and family therapy. Family financial counseling provides services related to finances and housing. The marriage and family therapy graduate program trains students to become licensed marriage and family therapists. Marriage and family therapy graduate students provide their services to individuals, couples, and families in the community.

SKI*HI Institute: The SKI-HI Institute enhances the lives of young children with special needs, their families, and care givers. The institute’s training and services focus on early intervention and early childhood programming for infants and young children, ages birth to five years, with hearing and vision impairments and other disabilities.



Academic Advising

Laura Holley
Academic Advisor
Office: FL 205A
Phone: 435.797.1530

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Sarah Tulane
Online Major Advising
Office: FL 215
Phone: (435) 797-7479

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