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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

Low-income, rural mothers express need for family time outdoors
Kimberly Greder co-authored a new paper that shows low-income, rural mothers desire increased access to family-based outdoor activities.
College of Human Sciences scholarships support students at unpaid internships
Scholarships through the College of Human Sciences ease the financial burden on students interning with organizations unable to provide compensation.
College of Human Sciences graduating seniors to be recognized at ceremonies
The Iowa State University College of Human Sciences will recognize the accomplishments of more than graduating students in a series of events on May 6 and 7.
‘Good cop’ parent not enough to buffer some harmful effects of ‘bad cop’ parent
Research by Thomas Schofield, an assistant professor of human development and family studies, shows harsh parenting may increase a child's risk for poor health and obesity as they age.
Iowa State presents research aimed at equity, awareness, acceptance
Iowa State will receive national recognition at a gathering of 15,000 peers for its efforts to improve the educational conditions of students, families, and communities.
“We Are Survivors” film gives voice to sexual assault survivors
Vanessa McNeal, an Iowa State alumna in human development and family studies, will release a film that gives survivors of sexual violence an opportunity to share their stories.
Support by romantic partner may reduce effects of stress
Research by Jenny Phan, a graduate student in human development and family studies, shows that perceived social support by a romantic partner can minimize the physical impact of stress.
Iowa State prepares students for excellence in financial counseling
Iowa State University's financial counseling and planning program recently received a renewed mark of excellence for high standards in financial counseling preparation.
Increasing the chances of student parents’ success
Keesha Wormely, a 2014 alumna in child, adult, and family services, works to produce better outcomes for the more than 1,000 Iowa State students who are also parents. Quality child care is key, she said.
Study examines how mother affects baby — even before birth
Andrew Dismukes, a doctoral student in human development and family studies, researches how a mother's experiences before and during pregnancy influence her child.