Welcome to the department of Human Development and Family Science. The major emphasis in HDFS programs is family and human development over the life span. Students gain an understanding of the development of children and adults and their interaction in the family within society.

Students majoring in HDFS have three options: adult development and aging; child and adolescent development; and family science. Each of these options can be completed by itself or can be paired with another degree in one of our dual degree programs.

Child development can be paired with elementary education, and family science and adult development and aging can be paired with social work. Each of these options can also be combined with a master’s degree program in one of our combined/accelerated master’s programs. Child and adolescent development can be combined with the master’s program in youth development; family science can be combined with the master’s program in family financial planning; and adult development and aging can be combined with the master’s program in gerontology. 

Courses in the program include:

  • Adolescent Development
  • Adult Development and Aging
  • Child Development
  • Diversity and Multiculturalism in Individual and Family Life
  • Children, Families, and Public Policy
  • Personal and Family Finance
  • Issues in Human Sexuality
  • Life Span Human Development
  • Parent-Child Relations
  • Family Dynamics of Aging
  • Couples, Marriages, and Families

Students majoring in HDFS enroll for credit in field experience as a critical part of their program of study. The department offers opportunities to work with children, youth, adolescents, older adults and families in various settings.

Undergraduate Certificates

Human Development and Family Science now offers two undergraduate certificates. Students earn these certificates in conjunction with their majors and minors from any area of study.

Aging Studies

The Aging Studies undergraduate certificate enables students to learn more about current issues that affect adults as they age. 

Family Financial Planning 

This certificate gives students experience in consumer issues, personal and family financial planning, and financial counseling, and are grounded in real-world, hands-on learning opportunities.

Learn more about the HDFS Undergraduate Certificates

Undergraduate Degrees

Bachelor's Degree in Human Development and Family Science: with options in: Child and Adolescent Development, Family Science, Child Development /Elementary Education, Family Science /Social Work and Adult Development and Aging. Undergraduate Degree information.

Graduate Degree- On Campus

Developmental Science at NDSU is an innovative and flexible program with opportunities for both research and teaching with topics in Human Development that span the lifespan in various family, social, and cultural contexts... with research projects locally, regionally, and around the world.

PhD in Developmental Science

Graduate Degrees and Certificates - Online

Our online masters program through GPIDEA has options in:

  • Family Financial Planning
  • Gerontology
  • Youth Development

Masters Degrees

There are options for graduate certificates in:

  • Youth Development
  • Youth Program Management and Evaluation
  • Gerontology
  • Family Financial Planning

Graduate Certificates


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