Human Development & Family Studies Major

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


The Bachelor of Science degree in Human Development and Family Studies offers an interdisciplinary approach to individual and family development across the lifespan, providing opportunities for students to study how people develop physically, emotionally and socially within the context of the family and society. The program focuses on child and adolescent development, adult development and aging, biological aspects of human development, family studies, intervention research and developmental research methods. Students learn about the stages of development from infancy to adulthood and how to promote healthy family development.


All students in the Human Development & Family Studies major select at least one concentration from the six offered. 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. The curriculum prepares students for provisional national certification as child and youth care professionals.

** 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.

** Nursing Home Administration 
This concentration qualifies students for employment as administrators in long-term care settings, including nursing homes, assisted living facilities and congregate living settings. Graduates will be eligible to sit for the national exam offered through the National Association of Long Term Care Administrator Boards and the state exam offered by the Ohio Board of Examiners of Nursing Home Administrators (BENHA) through the Ohio Department of Health.

Human Development & Family Studies graduates will

  • 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 studies and related professions.
  • Identify opportunities for employment in human development and family studies and related professions.