Human Development and Family Studies Major B.S.

HDFS Outdoor Class
Human Development and Family Studies Major B.S.

Program Overview

What is human development and family studies?

As a human development and family studies major at UNH, you’ll learn to promote the health and well-being of children, adults and families through research, teaching and service. The program curriculum embraces diversity and emphasizes service excellence and innovation, preparing you for a variety of in-demand careers in education, social services and healthcare. Three separate concentrations allow students to focus on early childhood development and education, family support or lifespan development.

Why study human development and family studies at UNH?

As a major public research university, UNH emphasizes hands-on experience and research opportunities. Students in the human development and family studies program have multiple opportunities to put theory into practice through the Child Study and Development Center, Family Connections Center and Marriage and Family Therapy Center. Students in the Child Development Concentration may apply to the Early Childhood Education Teaching Preparation Program, while students in the Family Support Concentration are encouraged to pursue provisional status as a Certified Family Life Educator, preparing them to work in areas such as social services, health services, family support and youth programs.

Potential careers 

  • Child and family support specialist 
  • Child care director 
  • Cooperative extension specialist 
  • Family intervention case manager 
  • Family life educator 
  • Family policy analyst 
  • Human rights advocate 
  • Parent educator 
  • Public school teacher 
  • Youth development program director

Contact

Erin H. Sharp

Associate Professor
Phone: (603) 862-2151
Office: Human Development & Family Studies, Pettee Hall Rm 213, Durham, NH 03824
Department of Human Development & Family Studies
Pettee Hall, 55 College Road
Durham, NH 03824
Phone: (603) 862-5021

Curriculum & Requirements

The mission of the Department of Human Development and Family Studies is to support the well-being of individuals and families through research, teaching, and service.  The department is committed to acknowledging and supporting diversity, to providing an educational environment that stresses excellence and innovation, and to developing exemplary programs serving both students and the larger community.

The bachelor of science degree in human development and family studies has three concentrations.  Each specialization has entry-level criteria and specific course requirements. All require close consultation with a faculty advisor.

  • Child Development/Early Childhood Education Teaching Preparation
  • Family Support/Provisional Certified Family Life Educator
  • Lifespan Development

The department offers two optional year-long internships, which students can apply for during their junior year.  The child development concentration offers students an early childhood teacher preparation internship, and the family support and lifespan concentrations offer the family internship, which is required for Certified Family Life Educators (CFLE).

Major Requirements

Core courses required of each human development and family studies concentrations are:

HDFS 525Human Development4
HDFS 545Intimate Relationships and Families4
Select a minimum of 36 Human Development and Family Studies credits, with 8 or more credits at the 700 level required36
Select a senior capstone experience 12
Select 20 credits of supporting coursework in consultation with adviser 220
Select an undergraduate statistics course4
Total Credits70

Candidates for a degree must satisfy all of the University Discovery requirements in addition to satisfying the requirements of their human development and family studies concentration.

Concentrations:

Family Support/Provisional CFLE Concentration
Lifespan Development Concentration
Child Development Concentration

Family Support/Provisional CFLE Concentration

This concentration is intended for students interested in working with children, adolescents, adults, and families. Students in the family support concentration develop knowledge and skills to prepare them to provide individual and family support, direct services, and family life education and programs.

Family Internship

In the family internship (HDFS 782 Family Internship), students will apply knowledge gained from their academic studies in a supervised environment. The internship involves a commitment of sixteen hours per week for two semesters, plus a 2-credit seminar (HDFS 792 Family Internship Seminar), which meets every other week for a full academic year. Some internship sites may require additional applications or a criminal background check before placement is finalized. Arrangements for criminal background checks are the responsibility of the student and the requesting organization, not the Department of Human Development and Family Studies. Students apply for the internship during the spring semester of their junior year. Internship applicants must have completed 20 credits of departmental coursework prior to their senior year. Internship courses (HDFS 782 Family Internship/HDFS 792 Family Internship Seminar) count toward the 20 credits required in supporting courses

Certified Family Life Educator

Students in the family support concentration who are accepted to the family internship are encouraged to apply for provisional status as a Certified Family Life Educator (CFLE). Family life educators work in a variety of settings including social services, health services, child care, family support, youth programs, parent education, junior and senior high schools, and universities and colleges. The CFLE certification provides an individual with expertise in a broad range of issues that constitute family life education and increases their professional credibility by validating their education and experience. The National Council on Family Relations (NCFR) has approved the Department of Human Development and Family Studies’ family support program as meeting the standards and criteria required for CFLE certification. Students may apply to NCFR for provisional CFLE designation upon completion of required coursework. (See marked courses in the table below.) Upon meeting additional requirements listed on the NCFR website, students can apply for full certification after graduation.

Requirements for the Family Support Concentration

HDFS 525Human Development 14
HDFS 545Intimate Relationships and Families 14
HDFS 641Parenting Across the Life Span4
HDFS 746Human Sexuality 14
HDFS 757Race, Class, Gender, and Families (capstone) 14
HDFS 760Family Programs and Policies 14
HDFS 794Families and the Law 14
or HDFS 776 Children, Adolescents and the Law
Select one of the following statistics courses:4
PSYC 402
Statistics in Psychology
SOC 502
Statistics
HHS #540
Statistics for Health and Human Service Professionals
Select one course from each of the following groups:8
Group I:
HDFS 623
Developmental Perspectives on Infancy and Early Childhood
HDFS 624
Developmental Perspectives on Adolescence and Early Adulthood
HDFS 625
Adult Development and Aging
Group II:
HDFS 553
Personal and Family Finance for Family Life Professionals
HDFS 586
Families at Risk
Total Credits40

Supporting Courses

Supporting courses are intended to provide an individualized component of the HDFS curriculum. Because HDFS is interdisciplinary, this allows students to explore related areas that contribute to their academic and professional goals. Therefore, supporting courses may be any course that meets all the following criteria:

  1. 500-level or above
  2. Relates to the study of individuals or families
  3. Eight HDFS credits may also be used as supporting courses as long they are not required for the student’s concentration
  4. Contributes to the student’s goals and/or academic interests
  5. Approved by an HDFS adviser

Courses that meet these criteria are non-required HDFS, psychology, sociology, social work, women’s studies, education, and communication sciences and disorders.

Lifespan Development Concentration

This concentration is intended for students with a broad interest in working with families. The lifespan development concentration provides knowledge about specific life stages of individuals within the context of family systems with a focus on system dynamics, diverse family systems, gender, and cultural differences. This plan of study is designed particularly for those expecting to attend graduate school and those who desire a general background in lifespan development and family dynamics.

Requirements for the Lifespan Development Concentration

HDFS 525Human Development4
HDFS 545Intimate Relationships and Families4
HDFS 623Developmental Perspectives on Infancy and Early Childhood4
HDFS 624Developmental Perspectives on Adolescence and Early Adulthood4
HDFS 625Adult Development and Aging4
HDFS 641Parenting Across the Life Span4
HDFS 746Human Sexuality4
HDFS 757Race, Class, Gender, and Families (Capstone)4
HDFS 794Families and the Law 14
or HDFS 776 Children, Adolescents and the Law
Select one of the following statistics courses:4
PSYC 402
Statistics in Psychology
SOC 502
Statistics
HHS #540
Statistics for Health and Human Service Professionals
Total Credits40

Supporting Courses—Lifespan Development

Supporting courses are intended to provide an individualized component of the HDFS curriculum. Because HDFS is interdisciplinary, this allows students to explore related areas that contribute to their academic and professional goals. Therefore, supporting courses may be any course that meets all the following criteria:

  1. 500-level or above
  2. Relates to the study of individuals or families
  3. Eight HDFS credits may also be used as supporting courses as long they are not required for the student's concentration.
  4. Contributes to the student's goals and/or academic interests
  5. Approved by an HDFS adviser

Courses that meet these criteria are non-required HDFS, psychology, sociology, social work, women’s studies, education, and communication sciences and disorders.

Child Development Concentration

This concentration is intended for students who have a broad interest in working with children ranging in age from birth to age eight. The child development concentration has four major foci: child development, teaching methodology and curriculum development, developmentally appropriate learning environments for young children, and home-school-community relations.

Requirements for the Child Development Concentration

HDFS 525Human Development4
HDFS 545Intimate Relationships and Families4
HDFS 623Developmental Perspectives on Infancy and Early Childhood4
HDFS 635Teaching and Learning in Early Childhood Settings4
HDFS 709Child Development Internship4
HDFS 734Curriculum for Young Children4
HDFS 743Families, Schools, and Community4
HDFS 771Observation and Assessment of Young Children4
Select one additional HDFS Course 500 or above4
Select one of the following statistics courses:4
PSYC 402
Statistics in Psychology
SOC 502
Statistics
HHS #540
Statistics for Health and Human Service Professionals
Total Credits40

Supporting Courses—Child Development

Supporting courses are intended to provide an individualized component of the HDFS curriculum. Because HDFS is interdisciplinary, this allows students to explore related areas that contribute to their academic and professional goals. Therefore, supporting courses may be any course that meets all the following criteria:

  1. 500-level or above
  2. Relates to the study of individuals or families
  3. Eight (8) HDFS credits may also be used as supporting courses as long they are not required for the student's concentration.
  4. Contributes to the student's goals and/or academic interests
  5. Approved by an HDFS adviser

Courses that meet these criteria are non-required HDFS, psychology, sociology, social work, women’s studies, education, and communication sciences and disorders.

Child Development: Prekindergarten—Third Grade Teacher Preparation Program

The Early Childhood Education P-3 Teacher Preparation (P-3) program prepares students for a career in teaching young children. Course work for this program is designed to maximize in-classroom mentorship and to provide a broad range of exposure across the prekindergarten to 3rd-grade levels. This competitive program within the child development specialization in the Human Development and Family Studies Department is approved by the New Hampshire State Board of Education.

Requirements and instructions for the application process for this program are detailed below. Students who wish to be considered for the P-3 Program must indicate their interest at the time of application to the major so that an appropriate plan of study can be arranged.

Application Requirements

Juniors in the child development concentration who have maintained a minimum overall GPA of 3.2, and a departmental GPA of 3.2 are eligible to apply. Please note that this is a competitive program with limited enrollment. Those accepted into the program must maintain this level of achievement throughout the program. Students must be prepared to have their own transportation for off-campus placements as needed.

Applications are available through the department website http://chhs.unh.edu/hdfs/undergraduate-forms and are due by March 1st of each year. Completed applications will be reviewed by the child development faculty. Admission decisions will be made by mid-March. Provisional admission may be given to those who have not yet taken and passed the Praxis Core Academic Skills for Educators test (or who have not received approval from the New Hampshire Department of Education for a Praxis Core Waiver Request) at the time of application in mid-February. Final admission will be given pending the submission of a passing Praxis core test score (or approved waiver) by the last day of final exams at the end of the junior year.

A Note about Obtaining State Teacher Certification

For detailed information about the State of New Hampshire Department of Education Certification requirements, please visit http://education.nh.gov/certification/documents/edtestinginfo.pdf.

Although students may graduate from UNH with a bachelor's degree in Human Development and Family Studies, without the required set of passing test scores, and having completed the P-3 coursework along with all student teaching requirements, they will not be eligible to apply for the New Hampshire State Teaching Certification. This is a state of New Hampshire requirement; not a condition for graduation from UNH. In order to fulfill a teaching contract with a public school district, a prospective teacher must be certified by the state in which he/she is to be employed.

In addition to the Praxis core, all P-3 teacher program candidates are expected to take the Praxis II for Education of Young Children (5024) and the New Hampshire Foundations of Reading test prior to graduation.

Prekindergarten to 3rd grade (P-3) Internship Course Descriptions

P-3 Internship Course HDFS 785 Seminar for Student Teachers is a fall semester seminar-based course intended to prepare students, as teacher candidates, for the student teaching experience in the spring semester. This course emphasizes students' continued development as learners, researchers, and collaborators. Discussions and projects focus on the ways in which these three roles are developed within the classroom and school community. Students meet as a cohort in weekly/bi-weekly seminars on campus.  Students should expect to spend a minimum of five hours per week in their assigned classroom (60+ hours). Other expectations for this course include, but not limited to, preparing a resume observing at other sites, attending professional conferences, starting a professional portfolio to document their achievement of professional teaching standards, completing additional assignments and readings.

HDFS 786 Seminar for Student Teachers and HDFS 788 Student Teaching Young Children provide the student teaching experience in the spring semester of the senior year. Students should expect to spend a minimum of twenty-five hours per week (a minimum of 325+ hours total) in their assigned classrooms, gradually assuming increasing teaching responsibilities, culminating in the assumption of two to three lead-teaching weeks. Additional hours outside of actual classroom/program operation hours are expected for meeting and planning with cooperating teachers, preparing for teaching, and attending parent conferences and other school functions, as well as attending professional conferences. Seminars provide continued opportunity for reflection on students' development as teacher candidates, reflecting on classroom practices, identifying teaching strengths and weaknesses, and planning their first professional appointment as teachers of young learners. Students should be prepared to meet weekly after school hours, and to complete and present their professional portfolio to faculty and related professionals in the field.

Requirements for Child Development Concentration P-3 Program
HDFS 525Human Development4
HDFS 545Intimate Relationships and Families4
HDFS 623Developmental Perspectives on Infancy and Early Childhood4
HDFS 635Teaching and Learning in Early Childhood Settings (56 classroom hours)4
HDFS 709Child Development Internship (140 classroom hours)4
HDFS 734Curriculum for Young Children4
HDFS 743Families, Schools, and Community4
HDFS 771Observation and Assessment of Young Children4
HDFS 785Seminar for Student Teachers ( - Fall Semester)2
HDFS 786Seminar for Student Teachers ( - Spring Semester)2
HDFS 788Student Teaching Young Children ( - Spring Semester)8
Select one of the following statistics courses:4
PSYC 402
Statistics in Psychology
SOC 502
Statistics
HHS #540
Statistics for Health and Human Service Professionals
Additional Requirements for the P-3 Program
EDUC 500Exploring Teaching4
MATH 601Exploring Mathematics for Teachers I4
EDUC 741Exploring Mathematics with Young Children4
EDUC 706Introduction to Reading in the Elementary School4
EDUC 760Introduction to Young Children with Special Needs4
or EDUC 751A Educating Exceptional Learners: Elementary
EDUC 703MTeaching Elementary Social Studies4
EDUC 703FTeaching Elementary School Science4
Total Credits76

Explore Program Details

Honors in Major for the HDFS Department offers students the opportunity to undertake an in-depth study of issues related to the health and well-being of individuals and families. The program emphasizes student-led, individualized curricula and encourages the formation of working relationships between students and faculty.

Honor in Major can be pursued without participating in the University Honors Program or completing Discovery Honors requirements. To learn more University Honors, visit the University Honor Program website . Students, however, must still complete all HDFS requirements for their concentration.

Student’s interested in pursuing Honor in Major need to schedule a meeting with the Honor’s Program Liaison, Dr. Kimberly Nesbitt. While applications must be submitted before the end of Spring semester of the Junior year, students are encouraged to apply early to allow maximum flexibility in completing program requirements.

GPA Requirements for Honors in Major

Honors in Major for HDFS is open all undergraduates in all department concentrations; however, students are required to maintain an overall grade-point average of 3.40 and a 3.40 grade-point average in the major.

Honors in Major Courses

Students must successfully complete sixteen (16) credits of honors in HDFS at the 600 level or above. Of those sixteen credits, only one course may be chosen from the 600 level, while three must be chosen from the 700 level. The 700-level coursework must include 4 credits (across two semesters) of HDFS 799 – Honors Senior Thesis. HDFS honors courses require independent work, readings, and meetings with the course instructor not required of other students enrolled in the course.

Honors Thesis

Students must successfully complete four credits of HDFS 799 – Honors Senior Thesis. HDFS 799 is a two-credit course that is taken pass/fail over both semesters of the student’s senior year. As part of the thesis process, honors candidates must present a proposal to their faculty advisors that includes active student participation in original research. Once their research is completed, honors students must present their findings at a seminar (typically the UNH Undergraduate Research Conference ) and submit a written thesis to their faculty advisor.

Learn more about Honors in Major: 

Contact Information

For more information, contact:
Dr. Kimberly Nesbitt
Honors Program Liaison
Phone: (603) 862-2159
Email: kimberly.nesbitt@unh.edu

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