June 22, 2023

‘Research and outreach that impacts lives’

Prepare for a career working with children, adolescents, older adults and families with an NDSU human development and family science degree.

Human development and family science studies the whole human life span, from childhood through old age. Students gain an understanding of the development of children and adults and their interaction in the family within society.

Students in the major have three program options: adult development and aging; child and adolescent development; and family science. Each option can be completed individually or paired with one of the two dual degree offerings from the department.

Undergraduate certificate options in aging studies and family financial planning also are available in conjunction with majors or minors from any area of study.

Recent graduate Ann Reinke earned a dual degree in HDFS and social work through NDSU and a partnership with Minot State University.

“I really liked that I would get two degrees and I would get to focus on how family functions beyond just what social work would cover,” said Reinke, who is from Williston, North Dakota.

The program also offers a dual degree in elementary education in partnership with Valley City State University.

“Our HDFS department stands apart by being able to offer students preparation for a wide range of careers, including social work, elementary teaching, child life specialist, family life educator and professional human services working with children, families or older adults,” said Joel Hektner, professor and department head. “In our innovative dual-degree programs, students earn two bachelor’s degrees in just four years. The foundation in child development for elementary education students and in family science and aging for social work students make these students stand out among their peers as being exceptionally well-prepared with a depth that no other program can match.”

Student organizations for each HDFS major give students a chance to build personal connections with their peers outside of the classroom. Reinke was a member of the College of Human Sciences and Education Ambassadors and the Student Social Work Organization.

“You’ll see people in classes over time and you recognize them, but if you join the same organization as them you actually have a chance to have a conversation and develop a friendship,” she said. “Student organizations get you involved in the community. They get you out in Fargo. They give you something to do. They’re fun.”

Her close relationships with her peers and faculty members also have been a highlight of NDSU’s program.

“It’s a concentrated group of people who care about others,” Reinke said. “I love that you get experiences where you’re connected with professors who break down the material for you in a digestible way that still challenges you. Since they teach classes that focus on being human, they recognize that students are human. I really appreciate that.”

“HDFS faculty are recognized on campus as outstanding instructors who care about their students,” Hektner said. “They also are conducting research and outreach that impacts people’s lives. Any student who wants to have a career helping people live their best life can find a home and like-minded peers and faculty in HDFS.”

Make a difference in the lives of others and apply to NDSU today.

To learn more about Reinke’s NDSU experience and the NDSU human development and family science program, visit the official university YouTube channel.

Start your NDSU experience by completing your application.