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Human Development and Family Science (HDFS)

Study families and human development at Ohio State.

Human Development and Family Science (HDFS) specializes in the understanding of human development and behavior in personal social environments. The Ohio State program is especially focused on intimate and family relationships.

As a student, you'll learn many different perspectives in human development, including:

  • how people develop and adapt to multiple connected factors (e.g. genes, family relationships, school, community and society);
  • why people can only be fully understood when social environments are considered;
  • the origins of human development, behavior and learning; and
  • how to best foster human adaptation through prevention and intervention efforts.

Our faculty members are extremely productive scholars and valuable mentors. They publish in top journals, receive research funding from national organizations and help students do the same.

HDFS Graduate Degree Programs

Doctor of Philosophy in Human Development and Family Science
The PhD program deepens your knowledge about the human condition and the internal and external factors that influence its development. Students also receive intensive training in research methods and statistics and in areas to help guide individual research interests.

Master's Training in Couple and Family Therapy
The master's in human development prepares students with clinical training and education in Couple and Family Therapy. The degree leads students to sit for the national Marriage and Family Therapy exam and obtain a State of Ohio license.

HDFS Undergraduate Degree Programs

Bachelor of Science in Human Development and Family Science
The human development major for undergraduate students teaches you about human and family relationships across a lifespan. It prepares you for careers in human service, non-profit and public service.

Focus your studies in: adolescent/at-risk youth, aging studies, family/community human services, intimacy/sexuality studies, pre-medicine or social policy and population studies.

Associate of Arts in Early Childhood Development and Education
This online associate degree is a child development studies program open to students who do not already have a bachelor's degree. During the program, you will advance your skills to provide high-quality education to children in preschool and childcare settings.

Other Programs

Couples and Family Therapy
An optional curriculum for doctoral students accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Marriage and Family Therapy Education. Heavy emphasis is on research and scholarship than clinical work, readying students to train others to become clinical researchers and scholars.

Obesity Sciences
Learn about obesity sciences from multiple lenses, including how to address this epidemic from biological, psychological, social and relational perspectives.

Quantitative Research Methods
Get advanced training in data analysis and quantitative research to elevate your graduate research programs. You will learn research methods and paradigms as well as complete an independent, advanced quantitative research paper suitable for submission for publication.

Applied Developmental Science in Education
A multidisciplinary field of social science research integrating basic science and developmental theory with applied science on practices, policies and programs. Applied Developmental Science complements students’ experiences in their primary discipline. It helps students explore links among developmental research, practice and policy applications.

Minor in Human Development and Family Science
A Human Development and Family Science minor complements any degree program. It is helpful for students who plan for careers that help children, families or individuals.