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Human Development & Family Studies

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2021 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 Decreasing

#41 Most Popular Major
43.7k Degrees Awarded
-1.2% Increase in Graduates

Human Development & Family Studies was the 41st most popular major in the 2018-2019 school year. Colleges in the United States reported awarding 43,687 degrees in this year alone. This 522 less than the prior year, a decrease of 1.2%.

The United States has 716 different schools where you can get a degree in human development and family studies. This year's Best Colleges for Human Development & Family Studies ranking compares 109 of them to identify the best overall programs in the country. Explore this or one of our many other custom human development rankings further below.

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.

Prior Education for a Human Development Program

A high school diploma or equivalent is typically required for most human development degree programs and many students will need a minimum GPA and SAT/ACT score depending on the school. Specific human development careers may require a certain level of degree attainment or additional certifications beyond that.

Human Development & Family Studies Degree Types

There are many different human development degree levels. You can spend many years getting as high as a research / scholarship based doctorate's in human development and family studies to something that takes less time like a associate's. The type of human development degree you choose will determine how long it takes to get your diploma.

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 degree. 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 Human Development Majors

Above Average Number of Jobs
$27k 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 2015-2017 reported earning an average of $26,955 in the 2017-2018 timeframe. Earnings can range from as low as $4,100 to as high as $59,300. 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 5 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 2,401 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.

Study Areas in Human Development & Family Studies

Human Development & Family Studies is one of 8 different types of Family, Consumer & Human Sciences programs to choose from.

Majors Similar to Human Development

Related Major Annual Graduates
Food, Nutrition & Related Services 5,318
General Family & Consumer Sciences 3,753
Textile & Apparel Studies 3,476
Family & Consumer Economics 1,593
Housing 785

View All Human Development Related Majors >


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