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Welcome to the ISU Department of Human Development and Family Studies where your adventure features:

What is HDFS?

Human Development and Family Studies (HDFS) is the science of how individuals and families develop behaviorally, cognitively, economically, emotionally, physically, and socially throughout the lifespan and within various contexts. HDFS emphasizes the application of knowledge and resources to promote positive development and expand human potential as well as the importance of diversity, inclusiveness, and social justice. HDFS takes an interdisciplinary approach to knowledge development and application.

From the very young to the very old, students in human development and family services help populations reach their full potential, despite life’s challenges, such as addiction, abuse, aging, chronic illness, immigration, and special needs.

If you want to help youth, adults, families, or the aging lead a better, more fulfilling life, a degree in HDFS may be your ideal adventure!


Financial counseling and planning is an approved program of excellence!

The Iowa State University financial counseling and planning bachelor’s degree program, which is the only program of its kind in Iowa, is now an approved program of excellence by the Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards.

Great with numbers but want to work with people, too? Visit LoveMoneyLovePeople.com  for the numbers on the Financial Counseling and Planning degree!

HDFS News Stories from the College of Human Sciences

College of Human Sciences students gain workplace readiness skills at etiquette dinner
College of Human Sciences students gained workplace readiness skills at a recent etiquette dinner held in the Joan Bice Underwood Tearoom.
  ISU alum will premiere and discuss her new documentary on campus March 27
Vanessa McNeal, a 2015 Iowa State alumna in child, adult, and family services, will on Monday, March 27 premier her third film on campus. ”The Voiceless” features stories of five men who have experienced sexual violence. The event comes in recognition of Sexual Assault Awareness Month in April.
  Changes to credit reports will benefit college students
Jonathan Fox and other financial experts say many Iowa State students may benefit from changes to credit report criteria, which will take effect this summer.
Human sciences students spend their spring break serving others
Sixteen College of Human Sciences students were among 59 from Iowa State University who spent their spring break doing service projects aimed at helping those in need.
Peterson named to new professorship in early childhood development and education
Carla Peterson, an associate dean of the College of Human Sciences and a professor in human development and family studies, has been named the Nancy Rygg Armbrust Endowed Professor.
Career fair expands options for future educators
Fifty school districts and organizations in nine states will attend Iowa State's third annual Teacher Education Career Fair next Monday. The first of three events to help students prepare will be held tonight.
Positive parenting produces lasting effects at biological level
According to Birdie Shirtcliff, an Iowa State University associate professor in human development and family studies, positive parenting can have a lasting effect at the biological level.
Iowa State research shows power of father figures for building views of husband’s role
New research from Iowa State University shows that black men build their perceptions of a husband’s role from a variety of experiences and examples.
Human sciences students call work with Dance Marathon “life-changing”
Students are taking their passion for helping people to make a difference in the lives of children with life-threatening illnesses, as leaders of this year's Dance Marathon.
Iowa State provides rich training for career working with children
Callie Chambers gained hands-on experience working with children as a Heddleson intern with Human Sciences Extension and Outreach. Today, she works as a teacher with 2-year-olds.