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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 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.
College of Human Sciences and departmental scholarship recipients recognized
The College of Human Sciences celebrated student scholarship recipients and donors at its annual scholarship recognition event.
Award-winning Iowa State research, outreach poised to combat opioid misuse, other health challenges
Iowa State researchers are battling America’s health challenges, including opioid misuse, through award-winning outreach initiatives.
Laboratory School increases child wellness, education with local foods
An ISU Child Development Laboratory School initiative is bringing more locally grown food to the school’s children.
Midlife depression may stem from tension with mothers and siblings, Iowa State study finds
A new study led by Megan Gilligan found that tension with our mothers and siblings is associated with symptoms of depression.
Lohman named associate dean for research and graduate education in Iowa State University College of Human Sciences
Brenda Lohman will serve as associate dean for research and graduate education in the College of Human Sciences, effective Oct. 1.
Lee draws economic insights from US tax, health care policy
Daeyong Lee uses data related to consumers’ health care decisions to peer into families’ financial stability.