Woman working with a family

Bachelor of Science in
Human Development and Family Studies

Program Summary

Learn how individuals develop from birth to old age, how families and communities influence these processes, and how to apply this knowledge to develop interventions that improve people’s lives through hands-on course work in this online Bachelor of Science degree program.
How To Apply
Apply by March 15 to start May 15

How To Apply 

Costs and Financial Aid

120 Credits $620/$664 per credit

Costs and Financial Aid 

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Achieve Your Career Goals with an Online Degree in Human Development and Family Studies 

The nation's population of older adults is growing. Family dynamics are changing with increased need for child care and family services. Social problems are affecting more and more people. Additional stress on children and adults is leading to school, work, and relationship issues. There is a strong and growing demand for professionals with the training and expertise to help improve people's lives.

The online Bachelor of Science in Human Development and Family Studies (HD FS) degree with an option in Life Span Human Services from Penn State can help you learn how individuals change from birth to old age, how families and communities influence these processes, and how to apply this knowledge in order to develop, implement, and evaluate interventions designed to improve people's lives.

Why a Human Development and Family Studies Degree Online at Penn State?

Education with Purpose — Pursue a degree that interests you and allows you to help make lives better along the way. Learn how to make a difference by advocating for new social policies and programs or developing new models to prevent and treat social, emotional, and behavioral problems. In addition, you can gain practical, transferable skills that will prepare you to interact with a wide variety of people throughout your career.

Flexibility — The online courses provide the flexibility and convenience to study around your schedule. Skip the lengthy commute time without sacrificing beneficial interactions with your knowledgeable, caring faculty. Learn from the experiences of your fellow classmates without leaving the comfort of your home.

Comprehensive Curriculum — You will have the opportunity to study a wide range of human services and diverse populations while gaining an understanding of human development across the life span and the influences of the family and the community on development. You can learn how people change in response to their surroundings — within families, schools, communities, and the work place. And you can explore how evidence-based interventions improve lives.

Solid Foundation — You have the option of starting the bachelor's program immediately, or you can choose to earn the Associate in Science in Human Development and Family Studies first. The credits earned in the associate degree may be applied toward the Bachelor of Science in HD FS at Penn State. Use this credential to set yourself apart on the career ladder as you pursue your education goals.

Applied Learning — This may be an online degree program, but preparing for a human services career requires experience working in the field with real people. HD FS students complete an internship at a human service organization in their community. Real-world experience will help you build professional networks, establish references, and reflect on what you have learned in the classroom.

Who Should Apply?

If you are looking for a way to achieve your career goals while helping to improve the well-being and health of individuals and communities, then this degree program is for you. It is an ideal choice if you are just beginning to earn a degree in the human-service field — or if you already have academic credits or an associate degree in the field.

Career Opportunities for Graduates

The well-rounded curriculum can give you the basis you need to become a leader in human services, working in various organizations such as:

  • preschools, summer camps, and after-school programs
  • marriage and family counseling centers
  • youth and family service organizations
  • elder care and services agencies
  • drug and alcohol treatment centers
  • health care facilities
  • nonprofit organizations
  • human resource departments
  • public relations agencies

As a graduate of the bachelor's degree in HD FS, you could be qualified to work with children, youth, and families, as well as adults through a wide range of career paths to:

  • oversee treatment and interventions
  • plan, organize, implement, manage, and coordinate programs
  • supervise the operations of various centers
  • provide leadership for projects
  • work directly with children, older adults, and families

In addition, this degree is an excellent way to prepare for graduate school or advanced clinical training in the social, behavioral, and health sciences.

Online Education at Penn State

Penn State has a history of 100+ years of distance education and more than two decades of experience in online learning. We create an online learning environment that offers you the same quality education our residential students experience in a face-to-face setting. Learn more about Penn State World Campus.

Penn State World Campus Student

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