Field of Study

Career Interest Areas

Career interest areas available at the undergraduate level include:

  • Adolescent Development
  • Adult Development and Aging
  • Child Development
  • Cooperative Extension Service
  • Family and Human Services
  • Family Economics
  • Family Life Education
  • Financial and Consumer Literacy
  • Health Services
  • Hospital Child Life
  • Parenting and Family Life
  • Gerontology

The Program

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. Information on these dual degree programs is on a separate fact sheet. 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. Information on these combined/accelerated degree programs is on a separate sheet.

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.

Career Opportunities

Career directions through HDFS can be divided into two general areas:

Direct Service to Children, Adults and Families – community service worker, outreach worker, parent educator, gerontology outreach, extension agent, or financial counselor to name a few.

Support Service to Children, Adults and Families – program director for nursing or retirement facility, child care director, community and human service worker, consultant in human development, hospital-related services, researcher, child advocate, and family life education are some examples.

Some of the listed careers require a planned minor or a double major. Other careers require preparations beyond the bachelor's degree level. An HDFS degree is excellent preparation for students considering graduate work in counseling, family therapy, child and human development, or as a child life specialist. Study in HDFS provides course work for students interested in careers involving human relations.

Graduates from HDFS are currently employed in a variety of careers. These include extension agent, Head Start program director, child care director, home visitor for Head Start, crisis family counselor, hospital child life specialist, family life educator, developmental disabilities worker, volunteer coordinator, parent support specialist, parent educator, financial counselor and financial planner.

The Facilities

Facilities for the Department of Human Development and Family Science are housed in Evelyn Morrow Lebedeff Hall and the Family Life Center. Included in these buildings are classrooms, conference rooms, research labs, and a child development center serving young children and their families.

Community Setting

The Fargo-Moorhead metropolitan area offers a conducive setting for study. Students have the opportunity to work in a number of community institutions serving children and families. Professionals working with the elderly, child care programs, mental health centers, chemical dependency treatment centers, medical facilities and welfare agencies visit classes and conduct tours to explain their programs for children and families.

Extra-Curricular Opportunities

Students may enhance their involvement in the HDFS area by participating in groups such as the HDFS Club, the North Dakota Association for the Education of Young Children, and the North Dakota Family and Consumer Sciences Association.