Human Development and Family Sciences

Human Development and Family Sciences

Degree Type
Bachelor of Science
Honors Bachelor of Science
Minor: Early Childhood Development and Education
Minor: Human Development and Family Sciences
College of Health


When you understand how individuals and families are influenced, you can help make a community better.   

Students in the human development and family sciences program work with peers and faculty to explore the human lifespan, from early childhood to end of life, and all the phases in between. You’ll examine challenges facing contemporary families and communities — from parenting, poverty, religion, race, social class and sexuality to interpersonal communications.

It’s a journey of self-discovery, and one that gives you tools to help individuals and families live better lives. That’s because whether you focus on the general, early childhood or human services option, you’ll study a variety of disciplines —  psychology, biology, sociology, genetics, education, anthropology, public health and social policy — that give you a broad understanding of what it means to be human.

You will have an impact.

By the time you’re ready to graduate, you’ll be prepared for a career or graduate study in education, early intervention, prevention science, psychology, counseling, social work, social service, or public health and public health policy.


Program Description

Early Childhood Option

The Early Childhood option prepares students to promote lifelong development, learning, and wellbeing of children and families. Through a focus on the early childhood period from prenatal through age 8 years, students examine dynamics among children, families, schools, communities, and cultures that have lasting impacts throughout life. New! The Early Childhood Career Development Program will help you get up to 45 academic credits toward your HDFS degree at no cost.

General HDFS Option

The general option enables you to take an interdisciplinary approach to families and human development across the lifespan within the contexts of school, work and communities.

Human Services Option

The Human Services profession is dedicated to improving the human condition by intervening during crises, preventing future crises, helping people access resources and advocating for change in the systems that affect the lives of those in need.

A total of 180 quarter credits are required to graduate, including 60 upper-division credits. Requirements include:

  1. Baccalaureate core: 48 credits
  2. Human development and family sciences core: 40-46 credits
  3. Option: 22-44 credits
  4. Electives if needed to meet the 180 credits, 60 must be upper division

Degree Guides

HDFS students choose between the following three options:

Early Childhood Option
HDFS Early Childhood Option Degree Guide (PDF)
HDFS Early Childhood Four-Year Plan (PDF)
Program Description

General HDFS Option
HDFS General Option Curriculum Checklist (PDF)
HDFS General Option Four-Year Plan (PDF)

Human Services Option
HDFS Human Services Option Degree Guide (PDF)
HDFS Human Services Option Four-Year Plan (PDF)
Program Description

Transfer Information and Transfer Guides

COCC Transfer Guides (OSU-Cascades)
College of Public Health and Human Sciences - HDFS Transfer Guides
Petition a transfer course for an HDFS major requirement

Using the following course forecast information students will plan ahead and work with their advisor to create and update academic plans.

OSU Course Catalog

OSU Class Search

Human Development and Family Sciences Courses by Term

As an HDFS major, your coursework will take you across the lifespan from early childhood through the end of life, examining the challenges facing contemporary families and communities. Nearly 100% of our student get hands-on experience through internships and service-learning projects with more than 60 agencies and nonprofits in Central Oregon and statewide. You’ll graduate with a broad understanding of what it means to be human, along with tools to help others live better lives.

Mission Statement

The mission of the department of human development and family sciences is to advance and transmit knowledge that improves the well-being of individuals and families across the lifespan.

Human Development and Family Sciences Learning Goals and Objectives

Upon satisfactory completion of the degree students will be able to:

  • Understand the methods by which public health identifies potential causes of population health status, and identifies potential targets for intervention;
  • Describe the fundamental roles of public health and how those roles are operationalized in public health organization, funding, workforce, and regulations;
  • Translate and apply relevant theory and research to practice with individuals, families, and communities
  • Demonstrate an understanding of the ecological contexts in which individuals and families develop.
  • Demonstrate a value for diversity in practice with individuals, families and communities; and
  • Critically evaluate public policy with relevance to individual and family wellbeing.

Human Development and Family Sciences Minor (28-31 credits)

Students minoring in Human Development and Family Sciences will learn how people change across the life course within the contexts of families, schools, and communities. This minor complements other academic degrees such as elementary education, liberal studies, psychology, and social science.

Human Development and Family Sciences Minor Curriculum Checklist

Early Childhood Development and Education Minor (30 credits)

The early childhood development and education minor curriculum is offered through the human development and family sciences program. If you enjoy working with children, families, schools and communities, and want to see children progress in development in positive environments, then our ECDE minor may be for you. For non-HDFS majors only.

Early Childhood Development and Education Minor Curriculum Checklist


    Top-Ranked Program

OSU has the #5 Human Development and Family Sciences program in U.S.

 Nearly 100%

of students participate in internships and service learning

Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

Learn why our differences are our greatest strengths

Intern in the community

Latino Community Association is a key connector with the immigrant community in navigating their new life. As a client services assistant, Marlene Peraza Murguia, Human Development and Family Sciences major, was the first person non-English speakers saw when they walked through the doors of LCA in Redmond. “I feel honored they trusted me to help solve problems.”

Early Childhood career development program

  • Save up to $12,000 in tuition
  • Get up to 45 academic credits toward your HDFS degree at no cost.
  • Work part-time with children while taking classes.
  • Learn from a faculty mentor.
  • Receive valuable career placement advising for a regional teaching position.
  • Build experience to meet Oregon qualifications to be an early learning child care teacher.

Find Early Childhood Career Development program deadlines and application here

Real experience

Nothing brings your classroom studies to life better than an internship, practicum or research experience. With expert faculty researchers, and relationships with more than 60 nonprofit organizations and agencies in the community and around the state, we help you find right-fit experiences where you’ll make meaningful contributions and grow professionally.

Alum Cassie Regimbal at Senior Cener

HDFS Alumna Cassie Regimbal '14, is the executive director of the Council on Aging of Central Oregon. Read her story.

What can I do with my degree?

Human Services Field and Nonprofits: Our communities need people who understand the needs of others, and can help them lead successful lives. You’ll find HDFS graduates working in state and county agencies that help those in need, and leading nonprofit organizations that fill gaps where others can’t.

Teaching: HDFS students make natural teachers, and many of our alumni have been accepted into the OSU-Cascades graduate teaching program and now teach in elementary, middle and high schools.

Counseling: Many HDFS graduates have gone on to the OSU-Cascades graduate counseling program and embarked on careers as clinical counselors or school counselors.


Sample Courses

  • Contemporary Families in the U.S.
  • Human Sexuality
  • Infant and Child Development
  • Families and Poverty
  • General Psychology
  • Adolescent Development
  • Applied Research Methods
  • Family Violence and Neglect
  • Introduction to Sociology
  • Principles of Statistics
  • Adult Development and Aging
  • Technical Writing

Course Listing

Where do HDFS grads work?

  • Bend-La Pine School District
  • Big Brothers Big Sisters
  • Boys and Girls Clubs of Central Oregon
  • Crook County Court Appointed Advocates
  • Deschutes County District Attorney’s Office
  • DHS Aging and People with Disabilities
  • Family Resource Center
  • Jefferson County School District
  • Juniper Ridge Clinic
  • Mosaic Medical
  • Volunteers in Medicine Clinic
  • Warm Springs Early Childhood Education Center


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We're here to help! Future students can connect with an OSU-Cascades admissions advisor for admission and program questions.