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This major is a multidisciplinary program that examines the development of individuals and families across the life span.

This major enables students to prepare for professional, managerial, or scientific roles in health and human services professions, in public and nonprofit agencies, and in business and industry, as well as for advanced professional or graduate study. Students obtain a broad background in individual and family development across the life span.

Courses emphasize biological, psychological, social/cultural, and economic aspects of development. Through course work and undergraduate internships or research projects, students develop skills relevant to career objectives, such as counseling, human assessment, program planning and evaluation, and research.

Only one option is available within this major:

  • Life Span Human Services Option 

The introductory paragraph to each of the options includes a brief list of career opportunities.

LIFE SPAN HUMAN SERVICES OPTION: This option focuses on the acquisition and application of scientific knowledge about development and family functioning across the life span for the purposes of enhancing personal and family development.

Courses emphasize: (1) understanding the biological, psychological, and social development across the life span, and the structuring and functioning of families; (2) understanding basic theoretical and methodological issues; and (3) the development of applied skills in intervention and evaluation, prevention, and in the formulation of social policy.

An approved field experience in a setting that serves children, youth, adults, or the aged is required for this option.

Typical employment settings include preschools, daycare centers, hospital programs for children, youth, and families, institutional and community mental health programs for individuals and families, programs for abused or neglected children and adolescents, women's resource centers, human resources programs, employee assistance programs, nursing homes, area agencies on aging and other community settings for older adults, and public welfare and family service agencies.

Typical postgraduate pursuits of students completing this option include graduate study in human development, family studies, psychology, or sociology, or advanced professional training in psychology, law, behavioral health, counseling or social work.

For the B.S. degree in Human Development and Family Studies, a minimum of 120 credits is required.

Scheduling Recommendation by Semester Standing given like (Sem: 1-2)

(3-4 of these 45 credits are included in the REQUIREMENTS FOR THE MAJOR)
(See description of General Education in front of Bulletin.)

(Included in ELECTIVES or GENERAL EDUCATION course selection)



ELECTIVES: 3-5 credits

(This includes 3-4 credits of General Education GQ courses.)


PRESCRIBED COURSES (Sem: 3-6) (18 credits)[1]
*HD FS 129 (GS) INTRODUCTION TO HUMAN DEVELOPMENT AND FAMILY STUDIES ( 3) Introduction to psychosocial and family development at all stages of the individual and family life cycle.(*lease note: Student may take only one course for General Education credits from HD FS 129 GS or SOC 030 GS.)

HD FS 301 VALUES AND ETHICS IN HEALTH AND HUMAN DEVELOPMENT PROFESSIONS ( 3) Examines bases for choices among values in personal and professional relations in human development processes and supporting services.

HD FS 311 HUMAN DEVELOPMENT AND FAMILY STUDIES INTERVENTIONS ( 3) Survey of individual and family formal and informal intervention efforts; historical and current perspectives and approaches. Prerequisite: HD FS 129

HD FS 312W [35] EMPIRICAL INQUIRY IN HUMAN DEVELOPMENT ( 3) Introduction to the skills involved in critical thinking in general and the methods of empirical inquiry in particular. Open to HD FS majors only. Prerequisite: a grade of C or better required in EDPSY 101 or STAT 200

HD FS 315 [93] (US) FAMILY DEVELOPMENT ( 3) Family functions over the life course; family from a multidisciplinary perspective, emphasizing adaptation and change. Prerequisite: HD FS 129 ; 3 credits of social, behavioral, or human biological sciences

HD FS 418 FAMILY RELATIONSHIPS ( 3) Dynamics of family interaction; effects of parenthood, sibling and intergeneration relationships on family solidarity. Prerequisite: HD FS 312W ; HD FS 315 or HD FS 315W  

ADDITIONAL COURSES(Sem: 1-4)  (12-13 credits)[1]
Select 6 credits from:

HD FS 229 (GS) INFANT AND CHILD DEVELOPMENT ( 3) Theory, research, and methods of social/behavioral/biological sciences related to developmental processes and intervention during infancy and childhood.

HD FS 239 (GS) ADOLESCENT DEVELOPMENT ( 3) Social, behavioral, and biological development and intervention throughout adolescence.

HD FS 249 (GS) ADULT DEVELOPMENT AND AGING ( 3) Physiological, psychological, and social development and intervention from young adulthood through old age. 

Also either (Sem: 1-4):

STAT 200 (GQ) ELEMENTARY STATISTICS ( 4) Descriptive statistics, frequency distributions, probability, binomial and normal distributions, statistical inference, linear regression, and correlation. Prerequisite: 2 units in algebra 


EDPSY 101 (GQ) ANALYSIS AND INTERPRETATION OF STATISTICAL DATA IN EDUCATION ( 3) An introduction to quantitative methods in educational research emphasizing the interpretation of frequently encountered statistical procedures.

Select 3 credits of United States Cultures (US)[92] (Sem: 4-8)



PRESCRIBED COURSES(Sem: 5-8)  (9 credits)[1]
HD FS 411 THE HELPING RELATIONSHIP ( 3) Theory and research related to interpersonal conditions which facilitate personal growth; intensive interpersonal competency training. Prerequisite: HD FS 311 ; HD FS 312W ; or 6 credits in Human Development and Family Studies or psychology

HD FS 414  RESOLVING HUMAN DEVELOPMENT AND FAMILY PROBLEMS ( 3) Strategies for, and roles of professional specialists in, the solution of problems in human development and family functioning. Prerequisite: HD FS 312W ; 6 credits in Human Development and Family Studies or psychology

HD FS 455 DEVELOPMENT AND ADMINISTRATION OF HUMAN SERVICES PROGRAMS ( 3) Fundamentals of program development and administration of human service programs in community settings; emphasis given to program content, strategies, and the overall planning process. Prerequisite: HD FS 302A  

ADDITIONAL COURSES (22-24 credits)(Sem: 5-8) [1]:
Select 3 credits from:

HD FS 428 INFANT DEVELOPMENT ( 3) Conceptual analysis, assessment, and empirical investigation of normal and deviant development, prenatal through first two years of life. Prerequisite: HD FS 229 or PSY 213 ; HD FS 312W

HD FS 429 ADVANCED CHILD DEVELOPMENT ( 3) Processes of development during childhood from birth to adolescence. Emphasis upon theory, method, and empirical research. Prerequisite: HD FS 229 or PSY 213 ; HD FS 312W

HD FS 433 DEVELOPMENTAL TRANSITION TO ADULTHOOD ( 3) Conceptual analysis and empirical investigation of interrelationships between developmental processes during the period of pubertal growth. Prerequisite: HD FS 239 ; HD FS 312W  


HD FS 445 (PSYCH) DEVELOPMENT THROUGHOUT ADULTHOOD ( 3) Effective Date: SP2007 Processes of development and change of behavior from early adulthood through old age, emphasizing theory, method, and empirical research. Prerequisite: PSYCH 100 , PSYCH 200 or STAT 200 , PSYCH 301W , 6 additional credits HD FS, PSYCH, or SOC  

Select 6 credits from 300- or 400-level HD FS courses (Sem: 5-8)

Select 13-15 credits from (a) or (b) (Sem: 5-8):

Approved field practice in a human service setting:

HD FS 490 INTRODUCTION TO INTERNSHIP EXPERIENCE ( 2) Planning and preparation for field experience in human service setting. Analysis of human service system and arrangement of site. Prerequisite: HD FS 312W ; approval by internship coordinator. Prerequisite or concurrent: HD FS 411

HD FS 495A INTERNSHIP: ADVANCED EXPERIENCE ( 8) Full-time, one semester experiential training in human service settings. Open to HD FS majors only. Prerequisite: HD FS 490 , permission of internship coordinator

HD FS 495B INTERNSHIP: ADVANCED PROJECT ( 4) Implementation of internship projects or scholarly paper. Open to HD FS majors only. Prerequisite: or concurrent: HD FS 495A

(b) Approved group project or field practice in human service setting(Sem: 5-8):

HD FS 401 PROJECT PLANNING, IMPLEMENTATION, AND EVALUATION IN THE HUMAN SERVICES ( 3) Effective Date: FA2006 Exercises and activities related to the design, planning, implementation and management, and evaluation of projects and programs in the human services. Prerequisite: HD FS 312W ; approval by internship coordinator. Prerequisite or concurrent: HD FS 411

HD FS 402 HUMAN SERVICES SEMINAR ( 4) Presentations and discussion of contemporary human issues by students and visiting professionals. Prerequisite: HD FS 401

HD FS 495C PROFESSIONAL PRACTICUM IN HUMAN SERVICES ( 6 - 8) Guided professional practicum in human services, usually in the form of a project related to a human services issue. Prerequisite: HD FS 401 or HD FS 490 

Select 12 credits (minimum of 6 credits at the 400 level) in consultation with adviser from University-wide offerings that develop competency in the option (a grade of C or better is required in any HD FS course taken to satisfy this requirement) (Sem: 5-8)

[1] A student enrolled in this major must receive a grade of C or better, as specified in Senate Policy 82-44.
[35] Honors students take HD FS 300H(3) and HD FS 310M(3) (an honors writing-intensive course) but they do not take HD FS 312W(3).
[92] This course is in addition to the 6 credits of United States Cultures and International Cultures.
[93] This course fulfills the University's United States Cultures requirement.

If you are interested, please contact:

Human Development & Family Studies (YEAR 1 & 2 of BS Degree ONLY)
--Dr. William McGuigan-Sharon Hall 309-(724)-983-2914.
-- wmm11@psu.edu

For admissions information, contact the Penn State Shenango Admissions Office at (724) 983-2803.