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2023 Human Development & Family Studies Degree Guide

If you find the idea of studying human relationships, family and public policy fascinating, Human Development & Family Studies (HDFS) could be the major for you.

The main purpose of the program is to understand how people develop and relationships form in society. This is an interdisciplinary program where you will study the cognitive, emotional, social and physical development of people throughout different stages. These changes from conception through death are shaped through family, friends, community, and society. This major deals with practical as well as theoretical knowledge and can be very compelling because of its strong relevance to every person.

Classes you may take when studying HDFS could include: child guidance and parenting, contemporary family issues, multiethnic society, early childhood education, human sexuality, child development, lifespan development, psychology, and sociology.

Concentrations in this major include: Adult Development and Aging, Family Systems, Child Development, Family and Community Services, Child Care and Support Services Management, Developmental Services Worker, Human Development and Family Services.

Human Development & Family Studies Degrees On The Rise

#44 Most Popular Major
42.1k Degrees Awarded
1.1% Increase in Graduates

Human Development & Family Studies was the 44th most popular major in the 2020-2021 school year. Colleges in the United States reported awarding 42,112 degrees in this year alone. This is a difference of 461 over the prior year, a growth of 1.1%.

Our 2023 Best Human Development & Family Studies Schools ranking analyzes 189 of these schools to determine the best overall colleges for human development and family studies students. Continue reading to check out one of our many unbiased rankings of human development programs later in this article.

2023 Best Colleges for Human Development & Family Studies
2023 Overall Best Human Development & Family Studies Colleges >

Best Human Development & Family Studies Schools by Degree

Associate Degrees in Human Development & Family Studies
Bachelor's Degrees in Human Development & Family Studies
Master's Degrees in Human Development & Family Studies
Doctorate Degrees in Human Development & Family Studies

What Are The Requirements For a Degree in Human Development & Family Studies

If you are interested in studying people of all ages and backgrounds, this major will have plenty to interest you. Your classes will help you understand how people behave and react in different circumstances. Many colleges will require you to gain first-hand experience in an internship or co-op. You will experience work in a variety of different settings so you can get a better idea of what to specialize in.

This major requires critical thinking skills that will allow you to analyze an issue from many perspectives. People make decisions as a result of their emotional, social, physical, and intellectual growth. The nature versus nurture debate will be something you cover in depth in both classes and research. Students will have plenty of practice working on their writing while completing research papers, lab work and recording observations from the field.

Students who excel in this field are both curious and caring. You should want to understand human development in order to learn to help others. The knowledge you obtain can help reduce the stress of people going through medical treatment and help ease family worry. You could also work with youth who may not be given ideal situations to grow up in. You should be able to work with others without judging or patronizing.

Human Development Degree Program Entry Requirements

New students will need to have completed high school or a GED program and each school will have their own minimum GPA and SAT/ACT test requirements. Once you obtain your degree, additional human development certifications required to pursue a career in this field.

Human Development & Family Studies Degree Types

There are many different human development degree levels. You can get anything from a in human development and family studies to the highest human development degree, a . The time it takes to complete a human development degree varies depending on the program.

Degree Credit Requirements Typical Program Length
Associate Degree 60-70 credits 2 years
Bachelor’s Degree 120 credits 4 years
Master’s Degree 50-70 credits 1-3 years
Doctorate Program required coursework including thesis or dissertation At least 4 years

A master's degree is the most common level of education achieved by those in careers related to human development, with approximately 20.9% of workers getting one. People currently working in careers related to human development tend obtained the following education levels.

Level of Education Percentage of Workers
High School Diploma 25.4%
Master’s Degree 18.5%
Bachelor’s Degree 14.1%
Associate’s Degree (or other 2-year degree) 11.0%
Doctoral Degree 9.1%

About 51.7% of workers in careers related to human development obtain at least bachelor's degrees. View the chart below to get an idea of what degree level most of those in human development and family studies careers have.


The education level required is different depending on the human development career you are seeking.

Career Opportunities for A Degree In Human Development Graduate

Above Average Number of Jobs
$28.8k Average Starting Salary
10% Growth Job Outlook 2016-26

With a degree in HDFS you have the ability to work in many different settings. The range of occupations you can participate in includes youth services organizations, program coordinator at a community center, educational programs for students of all ages, a job in a health care setting, family and community services, such as a marriage or family therapist, and long-term care facilities. Many students will decide to obtain their master's degree in behavioral or social sciences.

Solid Growth Projected for Human Development Careers

Want a job when you graduate with your human development degree? Human Development & Family Studies careers are expected to grow 9.7% between 2016 and 2026.

The following options are some of the most in-demand careers related to human development and family studies.

Occupation Name Projected Jobs Expected Growth
Childcare Workers 1,300,900 6.9%
Preschool Teachers 528,600 10.5%
Social and Human Service Assistants 453,600 16.4%
Community and Social Service Specialists 113,500 13.2%
Farm and Home Management Advisors 11,200 7.7%

How Much Money Do People With a Human Development Degree Make?

Human Development & Family Studies graduates between 2017-2019 reported earning an average of $28,847 in the 2019-2020 timeframe. Earnings can range from as low as $8,248 to as high as $52,231. As you might expect, salaries for human development graduates vary depending on the level of education that was acquired.


Highest Paid Human Development Careers

Salaries for human development and family studies graduates can vary widely by the occupation you choose as well. The following table shows the top highest paying careers human development grads often go into.

Occupation Name Median Average Salary
Home Economics Professors $77,170
Farm and Home Management Advisors $52,700
Community and Social Service Specialists $46,050
Social and Human Service Assistants $35,830
Preschool Teachers $34,410

Getting Your Human Development & Family Studies Degree

With over 2,371 different human development degree programs to choose from, finding the best fit for you can be a challenge. Fortunately you have come to the right place. We have analyzed all of these schools to come up with hundreds of unbiased human development school rankings to help you with this.

One of 7 majors within the Family, Consumer & Human Sciences area of study, Human Development & Family Studies has other similar majors worth exploring.

Human Development Concentrations

Major Annual Graduates
Child Care Provider/Assistant 20,843
General Human Development & Family Studies 9,497
Child Development 4,641
Child Care & Support Services Management 3,917
Family & Community Services 1,401

View All Human Development Concentrations >

Majors Similar to Human Development

Related Major Annual Graduates
Food, Nutrition & Related Services 4,858
Textile & Apparel Studies 3,313
General Family & Consumer Sciences 2,906
Family & Consumer Economics 1,454
Human Sciences Business Services 704

View All Human Development Related Majors >


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