Human Development & Family Science Major


The Bachelor of Science degree in Human Development and Family Science (HDFS) offers an interdisciplinary approach to individual and family development across the lifespan. Students in HDFS receive the knowledge and skills needed to help individuals and families across the lifespan to flourish in a global society. The degree prepares students for a wide range of careers in diverse settings including family and community-based social services, prevention, nonprofit administration, and family and community intervention. Core coursework focuses on development across the lifespan and understanding family relationships, the environments in which individuals live and learn, and the unique strengths and needs of diverse individuals and families. 

Students can complete the Human Development & Family Science major in its entirety at Kent State Stark.


The Human Development and Family Science major comprises the following concentrations. Concentrations marked with an ** can be completed at Kent State Stark.

Case Management for Individuals and Families 
This concentration provides training in needs assessment and the utilization of available public and private resources. Case managers provide assistance to individuals and families by coordinating services and access to resources. Students in this concentration will learn the skills necessary to understand clients' needs and goals, and develop a plan to achieve these goals with the resources and services available to them. Graduates are eligible for securing positions in a wide array of social service agencies.

Child and Youth Development 
This concentration prepares students for working with children and adolescents in non-school settings such as residential treatment, group care, community youth services, foster care and after-school programs. Graduates are able to design and deliver developmentally appropriate programs, preparing children and youth for productive adulthood by emphasizing skills and competency development.

** Family Life Education 
This concentration prepares graduates to develop and implement educational programming for parents, couples, and families in a variety of education and human service settings. Family life educators teach individuals and families effective communication skills, positive self-esteem, parenting skills and healthy interpersonal skills. Graduates are eligible to apply to be certified family life educators (CFLE), a credential granted by the National Council on Family Relations. 

** Gerontology 
This concentration prepares graduates for professional positions in the diverse field of aging, including health and wellness, community-based social services, retirement communities, adult-care centers and nursing homes. The curriculum provides students with a solid understanding of typical age-related changes and how these changes affect a person physiologically, psychologically and socially. According to the U.S. Census, 20 percent of the total population will be 65 or older by 2030. Because of the increasing number of older persons and the fact that people are generally living longer, there is a growing need for people to work in the field of aging.

Human Services 
This concentration is a completer program for students who hold an associate degree in human services. This program prepares graduates for entry-level positions in a variety of human service agencies, including child and family welfare agencies, mental health centers, developmental disability facilities and substance abuse treatment centers.


  • Identify physical, cognitive, emotional and social dimensions of human development and family relationships.
  • Identify reciprocal influences of family, school, work, and community contexts on human development.
  • Identify practical implications of human development and family relationship concepts.
  • Demonstrate an understanding of program development, delivery and evaluation.
  • Access scholarly sources and critically evaluate the quality of empirical research.
  • Demonstrate an understanding of theories, methods and principles of research.
  • Effectively communicate ideas in oral presentations and written papers.
  • Recognize the unique strengths and needs of individuals and families.
  • Apply knowledge of human development and family relationships through involvement with and study of diverse domestic and international populations.
  • Identify opportunities for advanced training in human development and family science and related professions.
  • Identify opportunities for employment in human development and family science and related professions.