Human Development and Family Science, BS

An IUP student works with children in an outdoor setting.

This unique program is the only one of its kind in the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education. Its comprehensive curriculum will train you for a wide range of positions that address all aspects of child and family life, from early intervention to counseling at-risk adolescents.

When you choose to major in HDFS at IUP, you become dedicated to understanding human development as it relates to social interaction and behavior. You'll learn how to find solutions for major issues facing children, youth, and families today. Take engaging courses such as: Child Development, Marriage and Family, Family Issues, Infant and Toddler Mental Health, Techniques of Parent Education, and more. 

A student vounteer from IUP helps a senior citizen play bingo at a senior centerCareer Opportunities Projected to Grow

Human service careers cover a variety of opportunities, such as community education, mental and behavioral health support, early care and education, adoption services, and foster care services. You can also become an instructor in adult educational programs, a family caseworker, a life-skills educator, a crisis counselor, or a child life specialist. Community service agencies on the local, state, and national levels need your skills and dedication.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Handbook for 2016–26, employment is expected to grow by 16 percent for social workers, social and human service assistants, and community educators. It also forecasts that jobs for preschool and childcare center directors will increase by 11 percent. Though these figures change over time, growth is expected at more than the average rate in the next few years.

Our graduates work across the country in social work, education, and health-related positions. Some Southwestern Pennsylvania employers include Justice Works, the Children's Institute of Pittsburgh, the Children's Home of Pittsburgh, the YMCA, Wesley Family Services, Head Start, and private early childhood education (such as Goddard, Kindercare, and CMU Cyert).

Hands-on Experience Puts What You Learn into Action

One of the strengths of our program is the opportunity for direct experience with children, youth, and families. Throughout your studies, you'll be working directly with children, either in the on-campus preschool or in other community settings. In addition, you'll complete volunteer work with human service agencies to prepare you for your chosen field.