Bachelor of Science in Human Development and Family Studies

A student of human development studies on campus

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 (HDFS) 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 enhance your professional credentials by achieving important milestones along the way. For example, you could earn the Undergraduate Certificate in Children, Youth, and Family Services, the Undergraduate Certificate in Adult Development and Aging Services, or the Associate in Science in Human Development and Family Studies first. The credits earned in the associate degree and these certificates may be applied toward the bachelor of science in HDFS at Penn State. Use these credentials to set yourself apart on the career ladder as you pursue your education goals.

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 HDFS, you could be qualified to work with children, youth, and families, as well as adults 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 a decade 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.