Human Development and Family Science Major If you're interested in interpersonal dynamics and the development of people within the context of their families and society, the Human Development and Family Science major may be for you.
What is Human Development & Family Science?
HDFS is a course of study that focuses on the development of the individual in the context of family and society, with particular attention to interpersonal dynamics.
Students majoring in Human Development and Family Science take a series of core courses that provide a foundation for understanding the complex issues related to families. Our curriculum covers the family life cycle, human development from conception to old age, the individual sub-systems within the family, as well as the family and its relationship with the external environment and other social systems.
Key Content Areas
Courtship and Marriage
Family Processes such as communication, decision making, and problem solving
Family Life Education Methodology
Family Resource Management
Students in human development and family science develop an in depth understanding of human development from conception until death. Students are required to take four development courses (Child, Adolescent, and Adult Development, along with one aging course that examines development in late adulthood). In these four courses students study emotional, social, personality, language, cognitive, and physical development over the entire lifespan. Students are exposed to major theories and theorist of development, such as Erikson, Freud, Piaget, Levinson, Hall, Kohlberg (check spelling) and attachment theory, in addition to other theories such as behavioral theories, ecological models, and family systems theory.
(Course catalog and major brochure include PDF files. Click here for the Adobe® PDF Reader®)
Provisional Certified Family Life Educator Designation
Human Development & Family Science graduates are eligible to become provisionally certified as a Family Life Educator (CFLE) through the National Council on Family Relations without having to take the CFLE Exam. CFLE’s incorporate a preventative and educational approach to individual and family issues. They seek to strengthen family life through a family perspective. Learn more about the CFLE Designation.
Transferable Skills Students who complete the HDFS major acquire a number of transferable professional and research skills, some of which are listed below.
Professional Poster Design and Construction
Use of Assessment Tools
Critical Analysis Skills
Ability to Work in a Team
Tolerance and Open-Mindedness
Genogram Construction (i.e. family mapping)
Conflict Resolution / Mediation
For a more thorough consideration of this topic, please read Dr. Hamon & Dr. Boyd-Soisson’s article, “Helping Family Science Students Make Themselves More Marketable: Identifying and Developing the Skills Employers Want." Article as a PDF File.
Questions? Contact Dr. Raeann Hamon, the Department Chair
(717) 796-1800, ext. 2850
Or, check out our Student Blogs (Coming Soon)
How to Apply
To apply for admission to Messiah College, simply call and request an application at 1-800-233-4220 or apply online! Open House dates and major-specific events are scheduled throughout the year. Students may arrange for a variety of visit options to suit their interests and schedule.