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Scenes from the Department of Human Development and Family Studies

Why HDF at URI?

Human Development and Family Studies (HDF) scholars examine how we develop from birth through old age with a particular emphasis on how family and community settings improve quality of life throughout the lifespan.

Professionals in this field provide assistance to individuals and families through a variety of services and settings that include early childhood education programs, youth programs, colleges and universities, personal financial counseling, family therapy, senior centers, and long term care facilities.

Program Strengths

  • Faculty are committed to student development
  • Small classes
  • Classes are offered on two campuses (Kingston and Providence)
  • Opportunities for the direct observation of young children at the department's two child development centers
  • Study abroad programs with academic credit
  • Multiple field experiences throughout the program to help in securing that first job

Applied Focus in Service Learning

A unique characteristic of our program is that it provides students with direct hands on experience involving a gradual exposure to the HDF professional world. Students begin in their first semester of studies by learning about career opportunities in human development. Mid-way through their studies students select two early field experience options that match their interest in a specific developmental phase(s) of the life span such as adolescence, young children, or adults. Course work is integrated with hands on experience in a setting that involves professional activities for that specific age group. During their final year students conclude their professional preparation with an intensive senior field experience that includes a seminar focused on applying and integrating theory to professional practice.

CAREERS: What can I do with an HDF degree?

Professional preparation in HDF results in outstanding success in rates of employment. Health and Human Services continues to rank highly among growth industries nationally. Many of our graduates are now experienced leaders in educational, human service, and clinical settings.

Learn more about career opportunities available to graduates

Not Sure?

If you're still not sure HDF is the right option for you, register for one of our courses and take a closer look. Below are some courses we recommend. You can start with any of these - they do not need to be taken in sequence.

  • HDF 200: Life Span Development I
    Physical, social, cognitive, and emotional growth and development of young children within the family and varied cultural settings. Review of contemporary issues and their relevance for social policy.
  • HDF 201: Life Span Development II
    Physical, social, cognitive, and emotional growth and development from adolescence to senescence. Attention to varied cultural settings and relevant social policy.
  • HDF 230: Marriage and Family Relationships
    Male-female and other close relationships in courtship and family systems as influenced by personality and culture in a changing society. Professional and functional orientation.