Human Development & Family Sciences

The Human Development and Family Sciences (HDFS) concentration prepares students for employment in a variety of roles across many human service fields such as child care professionals, social service workers in child and family agencies, advocates for youth and adolescents, parent educators, crisis and support service providers, facilitators of adult adjustment, and Cooperative Extension specialists. 

The HDFS Promise:

Human Development and Family Sciences opens doors of opportunity for students to work with people, the diverse families and communities in which people are embedded, and for students to further their education in graduate school.

HDFS What, How and Why:

  • What: The mission of the HDFS program at the University of Arkansas is to promote human well-being across the lifespan through evidence-based teaching and research that focuses on vulnerable population in diverse social and cultural contexts.
  • How:  HDFS offers traditional, on-line and hands-on experiences for students desiring to improve the well-being of people and families through service, advocacy and research.
  • Why: HDFS takes a multidisciplinary approach to education and research focused on human development and families providing students with a well-rounded perspective to promote human well-being across diverse social contexts and culture

Why Choose Human Development and Family Sciences at the University of Arkansas?

  • HDFS faculty are committed to providing evidence-based instruction on human-development across the entire lifespan and about families.
  • HDFS faculty are active and engaged researchers promoting research with undergraduate and graduate students.
  • HDFS faculty are committed to instruction and research that values people and families in vulnerable populations and in diverse social and cultural contexts.
  • HDFS faculty strive to increase students understanding, acceptance, communication and cultural competence to better work with people and families across a wide-range of backgrounds and cultures.
  • HDFS offer courses taught in traditional classrooms and online, as well as opportunities for hands-on experiences through internships, service-learning courses, honors courses and opportunities for study abroad.

Students selecting the thesis option also will be prepared for further graduate study at the doctoral level. A non-thesis focus area in Gerontology is available in this program in partnership with Great Plains Idea and can be completed 100 percent online.

HDFS 5403:  Family Theories and Methods 

HDFS 5423: Theories of Human Development

HDFS 5433: Advanced Studies in Child Development

HDFS 5773: Advanced Studies in Family Sciences

HDFS 5413: Adult Development

HDFS 5453: Aging in the Family

HDFS 5473: Cognitive Health

HDFS 5483: Creativity and Aging

HDFS 5493: Environments and Aging

HDFS 5803: Gender and Aging

HDFS 5813: Gerontechnology

HDFS 5823: Mental Health and Aging

HDFS 5843: Physical Health and Nutrition in Aging

HDFS 5853: Policy and Aging

HDFS 5873: Seminar in Long Term Care

Other courses are available to fill these requirements. An advisor will recommend the best courses to meet your professional goals and degree requirements.

Graduate-level Statistics Courses (3 hours required): 

EDFD 6403: Education Statistics & Data Processing

ESRM 5393: Statistics in Education & Health Professions

ESRM 6403: Educational Statistics & Data Processing

AGST 5023: Principles of Experimentation*

PLSC 5913: Research Methods in Political Science

*offered online

Research Methods Courses (3 hours required):

HESC 5463/AGED 5463 Research Methodology in Social Sciences

ESRM 5013: Research Methods in Education*

*Prerequisite to ESRM 6403

Because our students are often working professionals with busy lifestyles, we offer 2 flexible options for completing this degree:

Thesis Track:

  • On campus
  • 30 hours total
  • 12 hours HDFS core courses
  • 3 hours statistics
  • 3 hours research methods
  • 6 hours approved electives
  • 6 hours thesis & defense to pass program

Non-Thesis Track:

  • 100% online
  • 30 hours
  • 12 hours HDFS or Gerontology core classes
  • 3 hours statistics
  • 3 hours research methods
  • 12 hours elective
  • Oral and written exam to pass program

Program Contact:

Weiyi Ma, Ph.D.
Associate Professor, HDFS

Amanda Terrell, Ph.D.
Graduate Coordinator

Program at a Glance

Combination of online and on-campus courses

2-3 year program completion, depending on student pace

GRE optional

Students can enroll in fall or spring

A cumulative GPA of 2.85 or higher for graduation

Non-thesis option is not available to students on assistantship

Work with HDFS faculty at Arkansas' flagship research university.

Grant and conference opportunities

Competitive assistantships for qualified students

Affiliate of Great Plains Idea Consortium

Global Campus Website

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