Human Development and Family Science (B.A.)

Human Development and Family Sciences Major

School of Business, Education and Social Sciences

Department of Human Development and Family Sciences


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 at Messiah College may be for you.

Are you fascinated by the complexities of human development and family dynamics? If you are, Messiah College’s human development and family science (HDFS) major—affirmed by the National Council on Family Relations’ (NCFR)—is for you. 

As an HDFS major at Messiah College, you’ll learn how to strengthen individuals and families by studying interpersonal and marital relationships, parenting, human sexuality, and family dynamics and intervention. You’ll take that knowledge to the streets—interning at human service agencies, observing children at the College’s Early Childhood Center, and even presenting with faculty at regional and national conferences.

You’ll develop marketable skills sought by today’s employers such as interpersonal and communication skills, interviewing, assessment, basic counseling skills, family-life education program development and delivery capabilities that will fully prepare you for a rewarding career in human service areas, within family agencies, churches, schools, and community-based social services, or even graduate school.  

As a Human Development and Family Sciences major at Messiah College, you’ll be able to:

  • Take courses in human sexuality, marital relationships, childhood development, aging, community services, and family intervention.
  • Choose from a wide range of minors such as children and youth services, gerontology, gender studies, multicultural families, and pre-marriage and family therapy, or minors outside the department such as Bible, business, communication, early childhood education, music, counseling and Christian education. 
  • Gain practical experience by interning at a group home for children, foster care or pregnancy center, retirement community, or a variety of other types of services agencies for individuals and families.
  • Spend a semester studying abroad in places such as Greece, England, Africa, India, or Thailand or join faculty on three-week cross-cultural courses to destinations like the Bahamas, Spain, Philadelphia, Costa Rica, and Korea.
  • Join the Messiah College Council on Family Relations (MCCFR) – a student professional organization affiliated with the National Council on Family Relations.
  • Attend a professional conference, and even co-present papers with faculty.
  • Develop an independent study program in an area of human development and family science that particularly interests you.
  • Network with others at a department retreat, alumni career panel or (as appropriate) through the "Men of Human Development and Family Science (HDFS)" group.
  • Become a member of the Open Houses and Diplomat Program, where select students attend college preview days/open houses and share information about the department with prospective students.
  • Earn a Smith Scholar internship, which allows qualified students to work in apprentice relationships with faculty members.
  • Learn about children by observing at the campus Early Learning Center (ELC).

Major Requirements:

PDF Course Listing

Minor:


Human Development and Family Science Photo

Messiah College was the first Christian liberal arts college to offer a Human Development and Family Sciences major, and it remains one of few such programs available in the country.

Department of Human Development and Family Science
Learn more about this department
Through a special agreement, our on-campus Early Learning Center (ELC) provides a professional setting for students to discreetly observe the interactions of children who attend the ELC.
Faculty areas of specialization include: Infant care, breastfeeding practices, families in later life, intergenerational relationships, mate selection, family science pedagogy, professional issues in family science, family life in the Bahamas, child development, social emotional development in young children, attachment related topics, family influences on adolescents' social competence, rituals and adolescents' transition to adulthood across cultures, and marriage and family therapy.
Faculty regularly publishes and presents at conferences.
Since 2004, nine scholar intern grants have been awarded to students in this department.
Study abroad in encouraged and students frequently join faculty on three-week cross-cultural courses to destinations like the Bahamas, Spain, Costa Rica, and Korea regularly publishes and presents at conferences.
Faculty values mentoring and building relationships the students, aiding their professional development.