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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

Iowa State University research links racial discrimination, depression
Iowa State University researchers have linked neighborhood-level discrimination and clinical depression in African-American women.
Online training equips child care providers with information about health and safety
About 23,640 Iowa child care providers have received training through an online course by Human Sciences Extension and Outreach.
Hurricane relief with love, from Iowa State
Iowa State and the Aldine school district in Houston have a 27-year partnership and helped one another after Hurricane Harvey.
Iowa State University research sheds light on trends in male alcohol use
A new study from Iowa State University researchers reveals the impact of parent communication on male adolescents' alcohol use.
Sanders, Woods to be featured in 2018 calendar
Eulanda Sanders and Barbara Woods will be featured in the 2018 Women Impacting ISU calendar.
College of Human Sciences to recognize graduating seniors at fall convocation
Iowa State University’s College of Human Sciences will recognize nearly 300 graduating students in a series of events on Dec. 15 and 16.
Iowa State researchers leading initiatives to improve rural health
Iowa State researchers are working to reduce the gap in rural and urban health outcomes.
New overseas programs to help students engage in high-impact learning
Students in the College of Human Sciences will have four additional opportunities to study abroad next summer.
Learning two languages does not limit academic potential for Head Start students
A new Iowa State University study found as dual-language learners gained English proficiency, they had significant growth in cognitive and academic development.
Lee builds resiliency among aging Iowans through relationship research, outreach
Jeong Eun “Jel” Lee leverages the power of relationships to help individuals age well.
  • Contact Information

    2330 Palmer Building
    2222 Osborn Drive
    Ames, IA 50011-1084

    Regular Office Hours 
    M - F: 8:00 am to 5:00 pm
    515-294-6316

  • HDFS Announcements

    Lisa Sharp receives Friend Award for innovative advising in online education:
    Lisa Sharp, an academic adviser for early childhood education students at Iowa State, has been honored for improving advising for distance education students living around the world who are enrolled in a new online bachelor's degree program. Sharp received a 2018 Friend of the Great Plains IDEA Award for improving communication among advisers and students across all seven universities who are working together in the Great Plains Interactive Distance Education Alliance to offer a program that prepares students to work with diverse groups of young children, families, and communities in a global society. The degree program is known by different names at various member universities. Students who enroll through Iowa State work toward the early childcare education and programming degree. More». For more information, contact Carla Peterson or Gayle Luze in human development and family studies at 515-294-4045 or gluze@iastate.edu.

    Rachel Wall, Barb Fuller, Sandra McKinnon, Tera Jordan, Lori Hayungs, Sara Nelson receive ISU Extension and Outreach awards:
    Six extension professionals from the College of Human Sciences were recognized at the Iowa State University Extension and Outreach annual awards conference on March 26, 2018. Rachel Wall, a human sciences specialist in nutrition and wellness, received the Early Career Service Award. Barb Fuller, a human sciences specialist in nutrition and wellness, received the Epsilon Sigma Phi Mid-Career Service Award. Sandra McKinnon, a human sciences specialist in family finance, received the Distinguished Service Award. Tera Jordan, an assistant professor in human development and family studies, received the Excellence in the Scholarship of Community Engagement award. Lori Hayungs, a human sciences specialist in family life, received the Creativity in Service to All Iowans award alongside her northwest Iowa team members Mackenzie DeJong, Rahn Franklin, and Nichol Kleespies. Finally, the 4-H Youth Development team of Sarah Nelson, a postdoctoral research associate in the School of Education, Katie Petersen, Nicole Hanson, and Brenda Welch received the award for Originality and Innovation in Programming. More» For more information, contact Jacy Johnson at 515-294-5672 or jacyjohn@iastate.edu.

    Elyse Christian strives to educate parents about child development

    Elyse Christian looks forward to educating parents on their children's development after she obtains her degree. For now, she enjoys spending time with her husband, reading, and listening to music. More».



    Tahira Hira to be honored for career excellence by University Missouri

    Tahira Hira, a professor emerita in human development and family studies at Iowa State University, will be honored for career excellence by the college from which she earned a Ph.D. Hira will receive the Citation of Merit Award from the University of Missouri's College of Human Environmental Sciences. The award recognizes exemplary service that addresses human needs and enhances individual and family life. Hira will formally receive the award at a reception on Thursday, April 19, on the Missouri campus in Columbia, Mo. More».
    For more information, contact Tahira Hira in human development and family studies attkhira@iastate.edu.



    Landon Calderwood supports expansion of FCCLA to Iowa State

    Landon Calderwood is preparing to be a family and consumer sciences professor after graduation. He enjoys playing the organ, watching Netflix, and hanging out with friends when he isn't focusing on coursework and clubs. More».



    Anlis Mercado shares how she made Iowa State her home away from home

    After graduating, Anlis Mercado wants to work as a guidance counselor for adolescents. Walking around campus, watching Netflix, or reading a good book are ways she unwinds after hours of classes and studying. More».



    Amie Zarling is awarded funding for domestic violence against women research

    Amie Zarling, an assistant professor in human development and family studies, is awarded $391,000 from the Department of Justice's Office on Violence Against Women to conduct a randomized controlled trial of Achieving Change Through Values-Based Behavior (ACTV), her new program for domestic violence offenders. Zarling has worked closely with the Iowa Department of Corrections for over eight years to disseminate ACTV across the state in both community corrections and prisons. She will compare ACTV to a traditional intervention program, which is based on feminist theory and the Duluth Model. The goal of the study is to evaluate each program's ability to reduce participants' verbal, physical, and sexual aggression toward female partners, and the likelihood of reoffending. 
    For more information, contact Amie Zarling in human development and family studies at 515-294-5083 or azarling@iastate.edu.



    Gina Lee attributes career path to her father in student profile

    After earning her master's degree and Ph.D. in gerontology, Gina Lee wants to work at a research institution. More».
    For more information, contact Gina Lee in human development and family studies at ginalee@iastate.edu.



    Lauren Stratton shares gerontology research in student profile

    Lauren Stratton sees herself doing research, programming, and/or policy work for an organization devoted to helping older adults and their caregivers after graduation. More».
    For more information, contact Lauren Stratton in human development and family studies at stratton@iastate.edu.



    Vanessa Kime promotes Academic Program for Excellence in student profile

    Vanessa Kime wants to use her degree in elementary education to teach all over the world. More».
    For more information, contact Vanessa Kime in human development and family studies at vkime@iastate.edu.



  • Job openings

    HDFS invites applications for a full time, Postdoctoral Research Associate focused on policy-relevant research in the areas of early childhood, family poverty, child welfare, and school readiness.

    View all HDFS open positions.

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