The Human Development and Family Studies program is part of the School of Applied Human Development in the BGSU College of Education & Human Development  

  • Minor Available
  • Bachelors Available
  • Minor Available
  • Bachelors Available

Human Development and Family Studies

Help strengthen individuals and families throughout their lifespans. Collaborative group work, active learning, community engagement and study abroad opportunities prepare you for careers in diverse settings. Among the popular paths are community-based education, prevention, advocacy, case management, program coordination, program development, respite care, recreation, fund development, direct service and social support.

During your junior year, you will complete a professional development course leading to a senior-year capstone internship experience. You are encouraged to work closely with faculty through undergraduate teaching assistantships and undergraduate research projects to complement curricular experiences. Many students receive Center for Undergraduate Research and Scholarship (CURS) funding.

Quality classroom experiences

Integrated in the HDFS curriculum are community engagement experiences. Each semester the professional network event, Developing Connections, creates one-on-one opportunities for you to connect and explore career tracks. Pre-internship students participate in on-site internship interviews, while internship students present their capstone experience. Professionals and alumni offer advice to excel in the field and recruit for interns and entry-level positions.

Stand Out in courses like

  • Family Interaction
  • Listening Post
  • Family Diversity
  • Cultural Explorations in Italy
  • Family Life Programming


This curriculum focuses on Human Development (HD) and Family Studies (FS). You are encouraged to select a life stage (birth – very old age) for career specialization through development-oriented courses. Family Studies(FS) content focuses on the nuances of family life, including communication processes and internal dynamics, support, resources, family roles, diversity, structures and policy. The intersection between life stage and content area create career direction and specialization. Upon graduation, you are eligible for provisional Certified Family Life Educator status based on curriculum approval by the National Council on Family Relations.

“Belong to a supportive cohort: Over 300 majors, 100+ minors and faculty advisors with real-world experience who want to help you succeed.”

Internships and Careers

In a typical year, HDFS interns contribute more than 17,000 hours of work to local organizations (United Way, Children’s Resource Center), national organizations (Adopt America Network, American Red Cross), and international organizations based on student career goals.

Our graduates have accepted positions in community outreach, youth development, family and community development agencies, child life, public and private agencies, long-term care and assisted living facilities, early intervention, and family life education.

About one-third of HDFS graduates pursue graduate degrees with the most common being counseling, child life specialist, college student personnel, physical/occupational therapy, and gerontology.

Average Starting Salary & BGSU Placement Rate

Community and Social Service Specialist $46,770*

96% of Human Development and Family Studies graduates report they're employed, in graduate school or starting a business within six months of graduation

(BGSU data compiled from students who completed the related questions on the graduation survey.)

GO FAR in your career

  • Family life educator
  • Community outreach
  • Human and social services

Close to 10,000 individuals have been heard through the Listening Post

College of Education and Human Development logo white
The Human Development and Family Science program is part of the School of Applied Human Development in the BGSU College of Education & Human Development 

Learning Outcomes

Upon completion of the baccalaureate degree, students in Human Development and Family Studies are expected to:

  • Demonstrate substantive knowledge in life-span human development and family studies that is based on the most current research and theory and that emphasizes important ecological, systemic, and contextual factors;
  • Show understanding of the importance of developing collaborative partnerships to serve the needs of children, families, and individuals across the life-span;
  • Articulate and demonstrate professional ethics and conduct in all work with agencies, families, children, and individuals;
  • Understand and appreciate multiple aspects of diversity of individuals, families, cultures, and communities;
  • Demonstrate critical and reflective thinking as well as analytic abilities, facility in oral and written communication, and management skills;
  • Understand the impact of public and private policies at multiple levels on children, families, education, and the professions involved with children, families, and individuals across the life-span.

Bowling Green State University [BGSU] is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.  BGSU has been accredited by the Higher Learning Commission since 01/01/1916. The most recent reaffirmation of accreditation was received in 2012 - 2013. Questions should be directed to the Office of Institutional Effectiveness.

The Human Development and Family Studies program is accredited by National Council on Family Relations and is in good standing.

More information on accreditation

Bowling Green State University programs leading to licensure, certification and/or endorsement, whether delivered online, face-to-face or in a blended format, satisfy the academic requirements for those credentials set forth by the State of Ohio.

Requirements for licensure, certification and/or endorsement eligibility vary greatly from one profession to another and from state to state. The Human Development and Family Studies program does not lead to professional licensure.

Under the Higher Education Act Title IV disclosure requirements, an institution must provide current and prospective students with information about each of its programs that prepares students for gainful employment in a recognized occupation.

The Human Development and Family Studies program is not a recognized occupation that requires a Gainful Employment disclosure.

*Source: O*NET Program, sponsored by the U.S. Department of Labor/Employment and Training Administration(USDOL/ETA) through a grant to the North Carolina Department of Commerce.

Updated: 06/27/2024 09:52AM