Human Development and Family Science at Messiah College
If you're interested in enhancing the well-being of individuals and families throughout the lifespan, 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 focusing on relationships, human development and families through courses such as 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 Learning 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.
Human development and family science major distinctives
As a Human Development and Family Science 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, disability and family wellness, and pre-marriage and family therapy, or minors outside the department such as Bible, business, communication, early childhood education, music, counseling and Christian education.
- Spend a semester studying abroad.
- 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 Early Learning Center (ELC) on campus.
Career options for human development and family science majors
As a graduate of the human development and family science program, students are equipped to secure positions such as:
- Child life specialist
- Case manager
- Foster care or adoption workers
- Early intervention specialist
- Geriatric care
Internship opportunities for human development and family science majors
Messiah’s nationally recognized internship program places students in a variety of human development and family science internships. A few examples include:
- Adoption agencies
- Parenting education agencies
- Childcare centers/preschools
- Residential treatment facilities
- Retirement communities
Learn more about the Department of Human Development and Family Science
The Department of Human Development and Family Science is housed in the School of Business, Education and Social Sciences. Learn more about the Department of Human Development and Family Science by visiting our website, or check out some of the distinctives below.
- All students learn how to observe children in our NAEYC-accredited Early Learning Center.
- 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, Latino families, and marriage and family therapy.
- Faculty regularly publishes and presents at conferences.
- Faculty often involved students in research or in co-authoring pieces in various publications.
- Since 2004, nine scholar intern grants have been awarded to students in this department.
- Study abroad is encouraged and students frequently join faculty on three-week cross-cultural courses to destinations like the Bahamas, Malaysia, Kenya and Jamaica.
- Faculty values mentoring and building relationships with students, aiding their professional development.