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Human Development and Family Studies B.S.

17:1
Avg. student to faculty ratio
86%
Of CSU Grads Land Jobs Related to Their Career Plans
95%
Of Online Undergraduate Students Would Choose CSU Again
95%
Of Online Undergraduate Students Would Choose CSU Again
Degree Overview Open Accordion

Gain skills to help individuals and families throughout different stages of life with this online human development degree.

Online human development and family studies degree from CSU

Regardless if you are a first-time freshman, transfer student, or you are interested in pursuing a second bachelor's degree, this highly customizable program can help you achieve your educational and career goals. Through coursework and field experience focused on individual and family development across the lifespan, you will discover how people develop and change, and how family, community, and society affect human development.

Choose a degree concentration

In addition to the core courses in the HDFS degree curriculum, you have five degree concentration choices. You may choose to specialize in one or two of the following concentrations, depending on your career goals:

  • Early childhood professions
  • Leadership and entrepreneurial professions
  • Pre-health professions
  • Prevention and intervention sciences
  • Human development and family studies

Minor in gerontology

Gain a better understanding of the aging process, including the biological, psychological, and social aspects of adult development and aging with an optional gerontology minor. Visit the degree minors page to learn more.

Gain additional qualifications for roles in leadership

You can also choose to pursue Director Qualifications for early childhood centers as part of this degree program. In choosing this option, you will work with your advisor to select electives that help you meet state requirements and prepare you to seek early childhood education credentials upon completion of the coursework.

HDFS graduates are also strong candidates for application to become Certified Family Life Educators, who focus on healthy family functioning within a family systems perspective. They utilize a primarily preventive approach to address societal issues within the context of family.

Regardless of which direction you choose, CSU's online human development and family studies degree will equip you with skills in:

  • Observation
  • Program development and implementation
  • Grant writing
  • Social policy information
  • Working with diverse populations

Build an interdisciplinary foundation

This degree uses research and insight from multiple disciplines to provide you with a broad foundation of knowledge. Understanding key concepts in biology, psychology, sociology, and social work allows you to apply your skills to a variety of human service fields. This human development and family studies (HDFS) program's core curriculum covers topics like:

  • Child, adolescent, and adult development
  • Professional skills development
  • Families and relationships
  • Research methods and program development

CHHS research podcast

Find out how CSU’s research is making an impact by tuning into the CHHS Health and Human Science Matters Podcast, a collection of lively, engaging conversations with members of the college community.

Curriculum Open Accordion

Requirements to Graduate

A minimum of 120 credits are required to complete this degree.
This includes:

  • 42 upper-division (300-400 level) credits
  • 30 upper-division credits completed through Colorado State University

The number of courses needed to complete the program depends on:

Curriculum

Through the coursework and supervised field experience in this program, you learn to identify factors that influence an individual's development through infancy, childhood, adolescence, and adulthood, within the contexts of culture and family. This comprehensive curriculum is immediately career-applicable as it covers a range of topics such as early childhood development, marriage and family relationships, and emotional and language development. You also gain skills in observation, program development and implementation, grant writing, and social policy as these relate to diverse populations of people.

Most courses are offered every semester, including summer, although summer courses are not required. Throughout the program, you are allowed to repeat courses if necessary.

Prerequisites for this program are strictly enforced. Prerequisites must be completed or consent from the instructor must be given prior to registration.

Required Courses

Field Experience (choose one)

In this program, you'll participate in a hands-on, intensive work experience in a setting closely aligned with your career plan and chosen concentration. Your academic advisor will help you determine how many credits you need and the section that will correlate with your concentration.

Your field placement must be taken in conjunction with HDFS 477 and permission is required to enroll. Once you have determined when you will participate with the help of your academic advisor, you can begin the internship application process. The field placement coordinator will contact you after you have completed the internship application to provide placement procurement and registration instructions.

Concentration Coursework — 15 credits

Students must choose at least one, and no more than two, concentrations based on interest and career aspirations. Of the required 15 credits, a minimum of 9 must be HDFS courses. A minimum of 12 credits must be upper-division (300- to 400- level). Courses from one concentration cannot be applied to a second concentration.

You can also choose to pursue a gerontology minor and/or early childhood Director Qualifications. If you are transferring courses into the program or find other CSU courses that are more appropriate to your career goals, please speak to your advisor about substituting courses. Keep in mind that 30 upper division credits must be completed through CSU coursework.

Human Development and Family Studies Concentration Courses

Early Childhood Professions Concentration Courses

Pre-Health Professions Concentration Courses

Prevention and Intervention Science Concentration Courses

Leadership and Entrepreneurial Professions Concentration Courses

Concentrations Open Accordion

Degree concentrations allow you to customize your curriculum based on your career aspirations. As a student in this program*, you must declare a minimum of one concentration, and no more than two. Each concentration, except the HDFS general concentration, will be listed on your transcript as indication of specialized training within the Human Development and Family Studies (HDFS) program. You may choose from the following degree concentrations:

Early Childhood Professions Concentration

Learn to work with children in a variety of settings, including special needs and early childhood careers. This concentration is ideal for first- and second-year students who plan to apply to the competitive early childhood education major during their sophomore year. Coursework features child development classes, and incorporates approaches from several disciplines that focus on education, diversity, and professional skills.

Leadership and Entrepreneurial Professions Concentration

Gain valuable skills and knowledge for careers in businesses that promote individual and family development. This concentration is best suited for those interested in working as directors, managers, or business owners, as well as in legal services. The curriculum provides a comprehensive entrepreneurship education, with coursework in finance, management, marketing, public policy, professional communication, and leadership.

Pre-Health Professions Concentration

Launch your medical career with pre-health coursework that prepares you to work with individuals with disabilities and mental and physical illness, as well as those experiencing death or grief. Students in this pre-health program have gone on to pursue careers as allied health practitioners, occupational therapist, physical therapists, anesthesiologist assistants, child life specialists, chiropractors, dentists, medical doctors, music therapists, podiatrists, speech and language pathologists, and veterinarians, among others.

Prevention and Intervention Sciences Concentration

Prepare for positions in the human services profession such as counselor, educator, or social service provider. This concentration is also an excellent option if you’re seeking a research career in human development and family studies or a related field. Coursework emphasizes evidence-based programs and teaches you how to design and implement community-based prevention and intervention programs, such as early intervention training programs and crisis prevention intervention training.

Human Development and Family Studies Concentration

Broaden your education with the human development and family studies concentration. This general option is available to HDFS majors who are interested in learning about the entire individual or family life cycle rather than specializing in a certain area. The curriculum features psychology and social work courses in addition to HDFS credits, providing a well-rounded and robust education. As part of this concentration, you also have the opportunity to participate in a variety of experiential learning courses and internship opportunities to help you explore your career path and credentialing options.

*All students entering the program in Fall 2015 or later must select at least one (and may add up to two) concentrations.

Degree Minors Open Accordion

Grow your knowledge and focus on a topic that interests you. A degree minor can help you discover new passions and talents, and further specialize your education so you become more marketable to employers. Relevant courses often apply to both major and minor requirements, so a minor can be added without greatly changing your degree plan.

Courses already taken can apply to a minor regardless of when the minor is added to your student record. All minor requirements must be completed prior to graduation.

Undergraduate Minors

Agricultural Business

Build knowledge of production management, financial management, marketing management, international development, and trade through an agricultural lens. To earn the minor, you must complete 21 credits from the following courses:

Required Courses

Select any 15 credits from the following

Anthropology

Get a cross-cultural view of humanity and the broadly conceived dimensions of human behavior. You have the option to focus your anthropology studies on one or more sub-disciplinary divisions, including physical anthropology, archaeology, ethnology, or applied anthropology. To earn the minor, you must complete 22 credits from the following courses:

Business Administration

Computer Science

Add to your knowledge base and feel confident working with fields like computer programming, software development, cyber security, and more.

Required Lower Division Courses

Select one course from the following

Required Upper Division Courses

  • CS courses numbered 300 or above (12 cr.)

Program Total Credits: 24

Please note: Additional Math courses may be required depending on the 300/400 level courses that students choose.

Creative Writing

Explore creative writing in one or more of the following genres: poetry, fiction, or creative nonfiction. In addition to broadening your writing repertoire, gain workshop experience at an advanced level. To earn this minor, you must complete a minimum of 21 credits in courses with E or CO subject codes, with at least 15 upper-division credits.

Required Courses

Select one group from the following

Fiction
Poetry
Nonfiction

Upper-Division Electives

Economics

Gain insight into current socioeconomic problems in the areas of resource allocation, inflation, unemployment, income distribution, environmental degradation, international trade, and monopoly power. This minor prepares you for careers in business management, teaching, government, banking, and public policy. To earn the minor, you must complete 21 credits from the following courses:

Gerontology

Prepare for a variety of careers in gerontology and develop an understanding of the biological, psychological, and social aspects of adult development and aging. This interdisciplinary minor prepares you to fill the need for well-trained professionals to support aging adults, and can be paired with any CSU major.

Required Courses

Electives (3-6 credits)

Global and Environmental Sustainability

Prepare to meet today's pressing environmental challenges with this interdisciplinary minor offered by The School of Global Environmental Sustainability (SoGES). Explore innovative research to understand how to solve problems that arise between humans and the environment. To earn your minor, you must complete 21 credits (12 upper-division credits) from the following courses:

Required Courses

Select one course from each group (A-D)

At least 3 credits must be upper-division (300-400 level). Courses may not satisfy two groups.

Group A: Society and Social Processes (select one)
Group B: Biological and Physical Processes (select one)
Group C: Economy and Profitability (select one)
Group D: Skills (select one)

Upper-Division Elective – select 3 upper-division credits from categories A-D with a subject code not previously taken (3 cr.)

History

Expand the breadth of your knowledge by earning an undergraduate minor in history. Choose from a range of courses based on your interests. This minor may be particularly useful for students who plan to pursue careers in education, public service, government, museums and archives, law, and other professions that require skills in research, writing, and the analysis of information. To earn the history minor, you must complete 21 credits from the following courses. (Note: You must complete at least 12 upper-division credits and 9 lower-division credits).

Select any 9 credits from the following

Select any 12 credits from the following

Horticulture

Growing and managing plants requires you to understand the science and the business of cultivation, and this online bachelor's degree minor emphasizes both. To earn the horticulture minor, you must complete 21 credits from the following courses.

Required courses (14 credits):

Select two courses (for a minimum of 7 credits) from the following:

Interdisciplinary Global Studies

Develop an understanding and appreciation of diverse cultures and peoples with courses in international and global history, politics, languages and cultures, economics, and environmental issues. To earn this minor, you must complete 21 credits from the following courses:

Required Courses

Select four courses below

One course from each category, 12 credits total with at least 9 credits in upper-division (300-400) coursework.

History, Politics, and Society
Languages and Cultures
Economy and Environment

Interdisciplinary Information Science and Technology

This interdisciplinary minor is sponsored by departments in different colleges across CSU: Computer Information Systems, Computer Science, English and Journalism and Media Communication. The program is designed for students seeking a broad foundation in information technology, but not seeking to major in a specific information technology-related field. The program requires 21 credits and is open to students majoring in any field other than computer science, computer information systems, and electrical and computer engineering.

Required Course

Elective Courses

Select any 15 credits from the following

Program Total Credits: 21

Note: Nine credits must be from upper-division courses. A minimum of six credits must be completed from at least two subject codes.

Machine Learning

Media Studies

Understand the role and influence of mass media in American society and other cultures by studying media and film history, criticism, law, ethics, social effects, cultural consequences, and multicultural and international media issues. To earn the minor, you must complete 21 credits from the following courses:

Required Courses

Select any 15 credits from the following

Political Science

Gain a foundation in political theory and prepare for careers in law, teaching in the social sciences, journalism, and public service. To earn the minor, you must complete 21 credits from the following courses:

Required Courses

Select six credits from the following

Select nine credits of upper division classes from the following

Science Communications

The minor in Science Communication is designed to educate highly qualified communicators who have interests in specialized academic disciplines and career fields. Because science often involves complicated research and processes, communicating the results of that work requires special skills. This program is designed to prepare students for a wide range of niche career opportunities in media, corporate communication, science-related industries, and scientific environments.

Required Courses

Select two courses from the following:

Sociology

How to Add a Minor

Please connect with your assigned advisor to request to add a minor. Note that you must apply and be admitted to the University for a bachelor's degree program before you can add a minor to your student record. Once you are admitted, one or more minors may be added to your student record.

Undergraduate Certificates

Spanish for Animal Health and Care

For students interested in working in animal science, veterinary medicine, or related fields, this certificate program teaches intermediate-level Spanish for use in agricultural and animal care settings. Learn to communicate in Spanish about livestock, equine, and small animal breeds, give directions for animal care and handling, issue instructions for safety and drug administration, and more.

Courses

Seed Science and Technology

Prepare for a career as a seed analyst with online courses in seed technology. These courses, led by Colorado State University and supported by three other major universities (Iowa State University, Virginia Tech, and the University of Kentucky) and the Crop Science Society of America, offer a comprehensive overview of seed analysis, a technical skill requiring patience, attention to detail, and a scientific understanding of seed biology. After completion, you will be prepared to complete the examinations to become a Registered Seed Technologist.

Courses

Note: Additional study and testing is required to become a Certified Seed Analyst or Registered Seed Technologist.

Career Opportunities Open Accordion

Explore human development and family studies career options

Human development and family studies is a broad field that can lead to a number of different career opportunities, depending on your interests. Regardless if you are seeking a first-time career or are interested in switching to a new field, this program can help you reach your goals. Potential careers for human development majors include:

  • Early childhood teaching
  • Health professions
  • Long-term care administration
  • Community outreach
  • Human services with families and individuals of any age group
  • Social services
  • Law enforcement and corrections

Lay the groundwork to pursue a counseling career

This bachelor's degree will also provide you with the necessary foundation to pursue further education and credentials. Many people who are interested in pursuing careers in counseling first start out with a HDFS bachelor's degree before going on to graduate programs.

Specialize your studies to fit your goals

To prepare for your specific career aspirations, you will select one or two degree concentrations. This allows you to lay the groundwork for working in specific areas, including early childhood professions, healthcare, counseling and social services, and more.

You also have the option to minor in gerontology. This option prepares you to meet the needs of our aging population and sets you apart as someone with the skills necessary to enter this rewarding, in-demand career field.

If your interests lie in early childhood, you may also consider taking additional coursework to prepare to apply for Director Qualifications upon graduation, opening the door to director or substitute director opportunities in child care centers.

Using skills learned through our core curriculum and personalization options, graduates of the HDFS program work in a variety of human service settings. Early childhood care and education programs, youth services organizations, long-term care centers, and Head Start programs have hired past graduates.

Frequently Asked Questions Open Accordion
What can you do with a degree in human development and family studies?

Earning a degree in human development and family studies can prepare you for a variety of careers in fields including education, research, social services, counseling, and healthcare. By concentrating on a particular area of study, such as early childhood development or gerontology, for example, you can customize your learning experience based on your specific career goals.

What jobs are available with an HDFS degree?

There are several potential career opportunities for professionals with a bachelor’s degree in human development and family studies, including:

  • Early childhood educator
  • Social worker
  • Child welfare specialist
  • Family counselor
  • Healthcare professional
  • Long-term care administrator
  • Occupational therapist
  • Community outreach specialist
  • Human services administrator
Note: Additional licenses, certificates, or education may be required for some jobs.

Can I become a counselor or therapist?

A bachelor’s degree in human development and family studies sets a foundation if you wish to pursue a career as a counselor or therapist. However, if you’d like a career in those fields, you may need to pursue a graduate degree or special certification. You can speak with an academic advisor to get more insight about this.

Can I go to graduate school with this degree?

Yes, this program can give you the foundation you need to pursue a graduate degree.

With this degree can I be licensed as a teacher in public education?

The online HDFS program does not prepare you to take the teacher's licensing exam in Colorado, although it will provide most of the necessary coursework. To become licensed, you can:

What is the difference between psychology and HDFS?

The difference between psychology and human development and family studies becomes clear when examining the coursework for each program. Psychology students primarily study human behavior, thought, cognition, and brain function. HDFS students focus primarily on how individuals and families develop (both mentally and physically). HDFS is an interdisciplinary program that examines the social context of human development over the lifespan of a person. The HDFS bachelor’s program also gives students the opportunity to customize their area of concentration.

What’s the value of earning an HDFS degree versus a psychology degree?

When comparing a psychology bachelor’s degree to an HDFS bachelor’s degree, consider your career goals and how the coursework can provide a relevant foundation of knowledge and skills. In general, an HDFS degree will likely be more valuable to anyone pursuing a career that focuses on both physical and mental human development, e.g. early childhood development or gerontology. A psychology degree will likely be more valuable to anyone pursuing a career that focuses primarily on human behavior, cognition, and mental health.

Do I need previous coursework or experience for this degree?

Students can apply to this program with no previous college credit, or can transfer into this program with 12 credits or more.

How long will it take me to finish the degree?

The amount of time it will take you to complete the degree depends on how many credits you choose to take each semester. Courses are offered in fall, spring, and summer to offer accessibility and flexibility to students. Students commonly take two to three courses each semester.

How much time will I need to dedicate weekly to my studies?

The amount of time you will spend weekly will depend on the amount of coursework you commit to each semester, as well as your learning and studying style. It is recommended to spend at least nine to twelve hours per week on a three-credit course.

Will there be interaction with other students and faculty?

You will collaborate on projects and exchange ideas with fellow classmates through email, chat rooms, and discussion board postings. Faculty are very present in these courses and will provide ongoing support and interactions by providing online office hours and email contact, as well as discussion board postings.

What are the computer requirements for the HDFS program?

Online courses are delivered through Canvas and require a computer and internet access. Learn more about accessing online courses.

Why Choose CSU? Open Accordion

As a student in CSU’s online human development and family studies bachelor’s program, you will receive the same education, learn from the same faculty, and earn the same regionally accredited degree as students on campus. Additionally, you can expect a program that offers:

  • A Full-Lifespan Focus: Our curriculum equips you with skills to help individuals and families throughout the lifespan, from early childhood through older adulthood, thus preparing you for a career in a variety of settings.
  • A Customizable Curriculum: Our program can be tailored to fit your specific interests through the choice of five degree concentrations, a gerontology minor and Director Qualifications coursework.
  • Personal and Professional Applicability: The skills you learn in our program are equally beneficial to your personal and professional life.
  • A Broad Approach: Our well-rounded curriculum incorporates concepts in biology, psychology, sociology, and social work, to provide you with a broad foundation applicable to a variety of human services fields.

Learn more about CSU's rankings and accolades.

Hear from Our Students Open Accordion

Hear what students say about this human development and family studies bachelor's degree, and see how CSU's online programs help them attain their educational goals in the midst of their busy lives.

Austin South

Hear about Austin's experience working in an orphanage in Honduras while studying online, and how his HDFS degree has given him knowledge to draw from to enhance his career.



Chelsee Bruggeling

Find out how participating in the HDFS program provided Chelsee the opportunity to help families and give back to her local community.



Jessica Anglin

Hear Jessica describe the way her human development and family studies degree sets her apart, and establishes her as a professional nanny who has the ability to co-parent.



Bethany Perez

Hear Bethany describe how her HDFS degree has not only helped her professionally as a family care provider, but also as a mother of a child with autism.


How to Apply Open Accordion

Application Deadlines

Fall semester August 1
Spring semester January 1
Summer semester May 1

Start your application online and upload materials directly into the online system. You can save your progress and return any time.

Apply Now

Planning to transfer credits from another college or university? Please review our FAQ page, then complete a Tentative Transfer Evaluation Form to see how your prior credits may transfer.

1 Review Admission Requirements

  • Previous college credit may be transferred into the online human development and family studies bachelor's degree program, and minimum credits required can vary depending on previous coursework completed.
  • 2.0 cumulative GPA (2.5 cumulative GPA preferred) from all coursework previously completed*
  • Satisfy admission requirement in mathematics
  • High school graduation or equivalent

* A 2.0 cumulative GPA for all college work attempted is the threshold for consideration. Applicants who have a cumulative GPA below 2.5 should be prepared to demonstrate academic success in the form of an upward GPA trend and no D/F grades in their most recent terms.

Additional information may be required for international applicants. Please connect with a coach to learn more.

2 Talk with a Student Success Coach

Call or email our student success team to find out if the program is a good fit for your goals. Our coaches are available Monday-Friday to help you find the right program and navigate the application process.

Student Success Coach: Kyle Yates
Phone: (970) 682-7252
Email: kc.yates@colostate.edu

Schedule Time to Talk

3 Complete Online Application

Complete Colorado State University's online undergraduate application and pay the $50 nonrefundable application processing fee (payable online) or waiver (if eligible).

  • First-time Freshman: select the “Freshman” application, then choose Human Development and Family Studies as the program of study.
    • After completing the application process, please contact an H.D.F.S. advisor at 970-491-4947 to ensure your application is for the online program.
  • Transfer students: select "Human Development and Family Studies—online degree program" when choosing major.

Online applications must be submitted before 5 p.m. (Mountain Time) on the deadline date. If you miss the application deadline, you may still register for courses to begin your program of study as a non-degree student. Students seeking Federal financial aid must be admitted prior to enrolling.

4 Apply for Financial Aid (Optional)

Complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid. Use FAFSA code 001350. Additional financial aid information is also available.

5 Check Your Application Status

View your application status at any time to ensure your application checklist is complete or to check on updates.

Admissions decisions are made on a rolling basis and may take up to six weeks during high volume application periods.

Questions? Call (970) 682-7252 or email kc.yates@colostate.edu.

Questions?

We love learning about your goals and answering any questions to help you on your journey.

Kyle Yates
Human Development and Family Studies B.S.
Prospective Student Support Coach
Schedule Time to Talk

Program Details

Courses
Credits
120
Tuition
$476 per credit
Degree Awarded
Bachelor of Science in Human Development and Family Studies
Time Frame
Varies based on intensity of study and previous coursework

Application Deadlines

Fall semester
August 1
Spring semester
January 1
Summer semester
May 1

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