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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 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.
New book features Iowa State leaders in family and consumer sciences
At least 15 Iowa State University leaders are featured in a new book that recognizes those who have made significant contributions to the field of family and consumer sciences.
Bad behavior may not be a result of bad parenting, but a lack of common language
New research from Iowa State University suggests that a language barrier can have negative consequences for adolescent self-control and aggressive behavior.
Iowa State students shine in internships across the nation
More than 300 College of Human Sciences students are interning with organizations in Iowa and across the globe. Fourteen of the college's 15 majors require an internship to help students gain work experience.
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.
  • Contact Information

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

    Regular Office Hours 
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    515-294-6316

  • HDFS Announcements

    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».



    HDFS student Brianna Hatfield meets Gov. Terry Branstad as part of her internship

    Hatfield, a senior in child, adult, and family services, is interning this summer with the Child and Family Policy Center's Every Child Counts in Des Moines, which aims to make Iowa children a priority for policy action by providing advocacy tools on important child policy issues. On June 21, Brianna met Gov. Terry Branstad at the signing of the proclamation for Children's Mental Health Month. More».



    New report highlights research by Brianna Routh, Kimberly Greder, Brenda Lohman, and Tricia Neppl

    The article, titled "Associations Between Mental Health and Obesity," joins other research studies in the National Council on Family Relations Report. The summer 2016 issue focuses on families and obesity. More».



    Kimberly Greder shares biggest issues facing today's working dads via WalletHub.com

    In the post, which lists Iowa among the top 10 states for working dads, Greder suggests ways in which working dads can find balance between career and family. She also offers budget-saving tips for men looking to get fit and stay healthy. More».



    Alum Ashley Bauer, students Kelly Ridenour, Kayley Ihle receive awards at Iowa Family and Consumer Sciences Educators conference

    Ashley Bauer, a recent graduate in family and consumer sciences education and studies, was named FCS student of the year at the Iowa Family and Consumer Sciences Educators conference, which wraps up today in Cedar Falls. FCEdS seniors Kelly Ridenour and Kaley Jo Ihle received scholarships at the conference. In addition, former Iowa State FCEdS program coordinator Lisa Stange received the 2015-2016 Best Award for investing in the profession and community.



    WalletHub features Cynthia Fletcher in financial literacy post

    Fletcher, a professor in human development and family studies, shares that it is important for employers to assure that employees receive information and products that are unbiased and in their best interest. However, given wage stagnation and other pressures, financial literacy programs should not be implemented in lieu of salary increases. More».



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