Human Development and Family Studies (HDFS)

hdfsHuman Development and Family Studies (HDFS) is the only discipline and professional field with a primary focus on the family. The HDFS program area is concerned with the study of human development across the lifespan, the dynamics of family relationships, and the conditions of family and community. The ecological contexts of family, school, and community are emphasized to prepare graduates to effectively serve individuals and families.

The Human Development and Family Studies program is a four-year program that meets the National Council on Family Relations criteria for the Certified Family Life Educator (CFLE) and results in a Bachelor’s Degree in Human Development and Family Studies. Upon graduation, you will be eligible for CFLE designation.


The HDFS program at BGSU has academic program approval from the National Council on Family Relations (NCFR) ( Upon graduation from the HDFS program, students are eligible for Certified Family Life Educator designation ( NCFR sponsors the only program approval to certify family life educators. The objective of family life education is to enrich and improve the lives of families through a strengths-based perspective in 10 content areas including: families in society, internal dynamics of families, human growth and development across the lifespan, human sexuality, interpersonal relationships, family resource management, parent education, family law and public policy, professional ethics, and family life education methodology. 


HDFS is a program area in the School of Family and Consumer Sciences (SFCS) in the College of Education and Human Development (EDHD). SFCS (  is a multidisciplinary school that is dedicated to communicating, advancing, and applying knowledge that fosters the well-being of individuals and families. The disciplines within the School emphasize interactions among human beings within the contexts of where they live and work. 

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 science 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.

Accreditation and/or Program/Cluster Review

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. For more information, click here.

Professional Licensure (If applicable)

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.

Gainful Employment (If applicable)

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.