University of Vermont

2011-12 Online Catalogue

Human Development and Family Studies (Bachelor of Science)


The Human Development and Family Studies program examines the ways people grow and develop, form relationships and families, and learn to cope with the common and uncommon events of life.

Students learn basic and applied concepts of human development and acquire skills in working with individuals and families of different ages and backgrounds in a variety of settings. Field experience is required of all students.

Human Development and Family Studies is also available as a major concentration for students in the Early Childhood Education, Early Childhood Special Education, Elementary, and Physical Education licensure programs, and as a minor primarily for students outside of the College of Education and Social Services.

General Requirements

Specific Requirements

Students in the Human Development and Family Studies program complete a total of 120 credits which include General Education requirements in Behavioral and Social Sciences, Communication Skills, Humanities, Physical and Biological Sciences and Diversity. They also enroll in a sequence of courses and field experiences designed to provide a comprehensive understanding of individual and family development across the life span. These courses are arranged in two blocks: the introductory core and the advanced core.

The introductory core in Human Development and Family Studies involves three components. The first, Introduction to Human Development and Family Studies and Academic Service-Learning, provides students an introduction to the topics pursued in the major, how they relate to everyday life settings, how knowledge in the discipline is gained, and the types of skills necessary to both acquire and use this knowledge. The second component in the introductory core is a course covering individual development across the entire life span. Students learn what is typical of individuals at different points in their lives and the various factors, such as gender and social class, that influence development. The third component in the introductory core is a two-semester course dealing with the impact of families and other social institutions such as the school system on individual development. A course on Human Relations and Sexuality completes the introductory core.

The advanced core in Human Development and Family Studies consists of a series of advanced seminars and a field experience. All majors take seminars in Developmental Theory and Family Ecosystems. Four additional advanced seminars must be selected in consultation with an advisor. The field experience requires 15 to 20 hours per week. Students choose a placement from a variety of public and private local agencies. Field placement sites have included museums, the court system, battered women's shelters, centers for abused and neglected children, city and state government agencies, group homes, rehabilitation centers, local business and industry, childcare settings, hospitals, senior-citizen centers, and other human service agencies.

A typical, but not all-inclusive, program outline follows:


Course Credits
Fall Spring
HDFS 001 - Intro to HDFS and Academic Services-Learning 3
HDFS 005 - Human Development 3
General Education Courses 6 6
Electives 3 3
Diversity Course 3
HDFS 060 - Family Context of Development 3
Total 15 15
Sophomore Year
Course Term
Fall Spring
HDFS 161 - Social Context of Development 3
Diversity Course 3
General Education Courses 6 9
Electives 3 6
HDFS 065 - Human Relationships & Sexuality 3
Total 15 18
Junior Year
Course Term
Fall Spring
HDFS Adv Seminar 3 3
General Education Courses 6 3
Electives 6 9
Total 15 15
Senior Year
Course Term
Fall Spring
HDFS 289 - Theories of Human Development 3
HDFS 296 - Field Experience 6
Electives 3 9
HDFS 260 - Family Ecosystem 3
HDFS Adv Seminar 3
Total 12 15



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