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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 internships aim to secure employment for youth with disabilities
Four youth with disabilities are this fall gaining hands-on work experience through Project SEARCH internships with the Iowa State University College of Human Sciences.
College of Human Sciences students driven by passion to help others
The College of Human Sciences enrolls 4,915 students this fall, contributing to Iowa State University’s eighth consecutive year of record enrollment with 36,660 students.
Fellowship in family health powers Arellanes’ passion for impacting Latino families
Jordan Arellanes, a Dorothy A. Wyant Fellow in Family Health, has a passion for empowering Latino dads and preparing Latino families for their children’s success.
Human Sciences Week to feature new dean, ways to help others
Meet our new dean, learn about living a healthy lifestyle, enjoy cherry pies, and make shoes out of used jeans during the second annual Human Sciences Week, Sept. 26 to 30.
Workshops aim to improve career advancement among graduate students, faculty of color
Five professional development workshops aim to improve career advancement among Iowa State graduate students and faculty of color.
Iowa State University helps couples improve their relationships
Human Sciences Extension and Outreach will soon offer Elevate, a new program that applies a national research-based training model to help couples have healthier relationships.
‘Boomerang dads’ have positive effect on daughters’ mental health
New Iowa State research shows that fathers who leave and come back — also known as boomerang dads — lower the risk of depression for their daughters.
Iowa State University shifts focus to children in domestic violence cases
An Iowa State University initiative is making a difference for thousands of domestic violence cases across the state by placing the focus on children's safety and needs.
4-H alums credit youth program with launching human sciences careers
For a number of 4-H alumni, a commitment to community service and a desire to use skills developed in 4-H led them to pursue human sciences careers.
Harsh parenting, food insecurity predicts obesity for young women
A new Iowa State study suggests when the teen years include prolonged periods of food insecurity and harsh parenting, females are prone to early adulthood obesity.
  • 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

    HDFS alum Margaret Fitzgerald named dean at North Dakota State University

    Margaret Fitzgerald, who earned a Ph.D. in human development and family studies from Iowa State University in 1997, has been named dean of the College of Human Development and Education at North Dakota State University. Fitzgerald had served as interim dean of the college while the national search was underway. More».



    Associate dean Carla Peterson named the Nancy Rygg Armbrust Professor in Early Childhood Development and Education

    Carla Peterson, an associate dean in the College of Human Sciences, has been named the new Nancy Rygg Armbrust Professor in Early Childhood Development and Education. This professorship runs from August 2016 to May 2019. Armbrust is a 1973 graduate in food science and human nutrition. She is the retired vice president of education and community relations for Schreiber Foods. More».



    ISU Child Development Laboratory School achieves 5-star rating

    Iowa State's Child Development Laboratory School once again achieved a 5-Star rating through the Iowa Department of Human Services Quality Rating System. It has been a 5-Star program since 2010. The ISU Child Development Laboratory School offers full-day, year-round programs for infants, toddlers, and preschoolers while serving as an exemplary early childhood education model for ISU students preparing to be early childhood teachers, administrators, and child and family specialists. More».



    Iowa State's Kelly Koch finishes among top 10 in Miss America pageant

    Kelly Koch, a junior in child, adult, and family services, competed as Miss Iowa 2017 in the Miss America pageant. She finished in the top 10. The Des Moines Register on Monday featured Koch in an article highlighting her success. She is passionate about service and is a dancer for the Iowa State dance team. Koch is currently taking time off from her studies to focus on her role as Miss Iowa. More».



    Iowa Public Radio interviews Cassandra Dorius on new "boomerang dads" study

    Dorius, an assistant professor in human development and family studies, said researchers were surprised by their new findings. The original hypothesis was that boomerang fathering would create an unstable environment, which would negatively impact children. However, Dorius and her fellow researchers found a parental reconciliation benefits a daughter’s mental health, though not a son's. More».



    HDFS alum Jerry McKim wins national Eternal Flame Award

    Jerry McKim, a 1990 and 1993 Iowa State University graduate in human development and family studies, was one of five national recipients of the Eternal Flame Award for significant achievement in serving the home energy assistance community. McKim has spoken out and fought for low-income energy consumers for more than 20 years. He has been the Iowa Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) director for the last 19 years, where he has overseen the expenditure of more than $900 million for low-income Iowa utility customers. His efforts include testifying on several occasions before the full U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions in support of LIHEAP, developing and conducting a survey of LIHEAP recipients that ultimately led to a report that focused national attention on the consequences of unaffordable energy on low-income citizens, and intervening in various dockets before the Iowa Utilities Board on behalf of low-income consumers. The award is bestowed by the National Energy Assistance Directors' Association. More».



    Brianna Routh wins best student poster at Cambio de Colores

    Routh, a graduate research assistant in human development and family studies, presented at Cambio de Colores. Her poster showed the association between rural, low-income Latino parent relationships and household size in relation to children's nutrition behavior. The results indicate that researchers and practitioners must understand broader family relationships and cultural influences when exploring and addressing individual nutrition behaviors. Kimberly Greder, associate professor in human development and family studies, presented alongside Routh at this year's conference. More».



    HDFS graduate student Leslie Dooley wins Kappa Omicron Nu fellowship

    Dooley, a graduate student in human development and family studies, was on June 16 named the winner of Kappa Omicron Nu's 2016-2017 Eileen C. Maddex Master's Fellowship. The award, in the amount of $2,000, recognizes Dooley's outstanding scholarship and potential for professional leadership in the human sciences.



    Pamela White, Barbara Woods, Ashley Garrin receive awards at Iowa Family and Consumer Sciences Educators conference

    Pamela White, dean and Dean's Chair of the College of Human Sciences, received the public service award at this year's Iowa Family and Consumer Sciences Educators conference. Barbara Woods in Human Sciences Extension and Outreach received the distinguished service award. And Ashley Garrin received the University Student Award. More».



    HDFS student Kelly Koch crowned Miss Iowa

    Congratulations to Iowa State University student Kelly Koch of Waukee, a junior in child, adult, and family services, for being crowned Miss Iowa last weekend! She will represent Iowa in the Miss America pageant, Sept. 11 in Atlantic City. More».



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