Degree considerations for students in human development and family science

The Falk College’s Department of Human Development and Family Science (HDFS) at Syracuse University prepares students to work in specific settings, providing a solid foundation of children and families across the life span through a bachelor of science degree. Students will learn about the social, emotional, and physical development of children while studying relationships within families and in other social contexts, such as schools, workplaces and faith communities.

When considering a career path in human development and family science-related fields, the following information is helpful:

  • A bachelor’s degree is sufficient for entry-level positions.
  • Advanced degrees are essential for clinical and therapeutic counseling positions, education/special education.
  • A master’s degree or Ph.D. is often needed for administrative and supervisory positions.
  • A Ph.D. is required for college teaching and advanced research positions, as well as education-focused careers (i.e., teacher, speech pathologist).
  • Additional or specialized training may qualify you for higher paying, more responsible positions.

Human Development and Family Science, BS

The 124 credit B.S. degree program in human development and family science provides students with a broad foundation covering a range of issues focusing on the healthy development of children and families. In addition to liberal arts courses, students are expected to complete 15 credits of Program Requirements and 18-24 credits in a specialty track (decided on in the second semester of the sophomore year). Each track prepares students to work in specific settings.

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Inclusive Early Childhood Special Education, BS

This B.S. degree program is a dual program between the School of Education and the David B. Falk College of Sport and Human Dynamics – with the School of Education as the home school. This program provides you with the professional background and a solid core of liberal arts distribution and concentration coursework. A cornerstone of the program is the extensive and varied series of field experiences it offers, coordinating coursework with fieldwork in the schools as early as the first year of study.

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Applied Human Development and Family Science, MA

The Master of Arts (M.A.) degree in Applied Human Development and Family Science (HDFS) is a 30-credit program designed to meet the goals of individuals who seek to work in applied settings such as service agencies and non-governmental organizations (NGOs). Increasingly a broad background in the discipline of human development and family science, program evaluation, administrative skills, and an appreciation for working with diverse client communities has become essential for those working in organizations.

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Human Development and Family Science, MS

The Master of Science degree (M.S.) in human development and family science (HDFS) is a 30-credit degree program designed to meet the goals of individuals who seek to work in research settings or wish to pursue advanced graduate study. M.S. students gain a deep understanding of human development across the lifespan, family processes, and community-family interrelationships across various cultural and societal contexts.

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Human Development and Family Science, PhD

The Ph.D. program in Human Development and Family Science (HDFS) is a 72-credit degree program that provides students with an in-depth understanding of the familial, societal, and cultural factors that shape human development and family relationships. A primary focus is on scientific inquiry and research methodology employed in the field of human development and family science and in related disciplines such as education, psychology, social sciences, and women’s studies.

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Child and Family Policy Studies Minor

The Child and Family Policy Studies Minor is an interdisciplinary minor that gives students the opportunity to study the development, evaluation, and delivery of public policy programs. This minor provides useful skills and experiences for students who go on to pursue careers in public policies and government programming and who want to apply their understanding of child and family development in a variety of policy related sectors as well as in private sectors. This minor is open to all HDFS Majors and Non-Majors.

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Gerontology Interdisciplinary Minor

The interdisciplinary minor in gerontology provides an opportunity for students to focus academic work on the older population. It requires the completion of 18 credits, 12 of them above the 300 level. To be admitted to the program, students submit a Declaration of Minor form to their faculty advisor, the minor coordinator, and their home college dean’s office.

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Human Development and Family Science Minor

The human development and family science minor provides students with a broad foundation covering a range of issues focusing on the healthy development of children and families. This minor provides knowledge and skills that can be applied to real world settings across different settings such as families, schools, work places, hospitals within the United States and internationally. Provides students with the tools necessary for working with children and families in cross cultural settings. This minor is open to Non-HDFS Majors.

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Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies Minor

Mindfulness and contemplative practice are experiential modes of learning and self-inquiry. Contemplative practices are widely varied and include various forms of meditation, focused thought, writing, creative/performing arts, and yoga. Mindfulness and contemplative practices can foster greater empathy and communication skills, improve focus and attention, reduce stress, and enhance creativity and general wellbeing. Given these advantages, these skills are of growing interest to researchers and practitioners from diverse fields. The purpose of this minor is to provide students with a fundamental understanding of mindfulness and contemplative study and practice, and opportunities to cultivate these skills in their courses and apply them in their communities. There is a particular emphasis on the role of mindfulness in children and youth, as these practices contribute to an individual’s growth across multiple developmental domains. This minor would be of interest to students in the Child Life Specialist track in Human Development and Family Science, as well as to those in other social sciences, health sciences and education.

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