BS in Human Development and Family Science

Degree Program Description

The Human Development and Family Science program is developed from a foundation of human development and family science courses. It is essential for the student working with children, adolescents or adults to understand and to be able to maximize the resources offered by the family. It is equally important for the student concerned with the quality of family life to recognize the intricate spiral of changing needs in the growing individual.

Major Program Requirements

A students must choose an emphasis area and complete a minimum of 120 credit hours to receive the degree. 

Majors in all of the emphasis areas in HDFS must complete the core courses below and additional course requirements (including General Education courses and Requirements in Related Areas) specific to each emphasis area. Requirements for each emphasis area are listed on their respective catalog pages: Child Development and Education, Child Life Specialist, Early Childhood Education in a Mobile Society, and Family and Lifespan Development.

Students must achieve a grade of C (2.0) in all HDFS courses taken to meet degree requirements.

Major Program Requirements16
H_D_FS 1600Foundations of Family Science 13
H_D_FS 2200Research Methods in Human Development and Family Science 23
H_D_FS 2300Multicultural Study of Children and Families3
H_D_FS 2400WPrinciples of Human Development - Writing Intensive 34
or H_D_FS 2400 Principles of Human Development
H_D_FS 3150WChild Development 4-8 (Early Childhood) - Writing Intensive3

Child Development Laboratory Courses such as H_D_FS 3500, H_D_FS 3700, and H_D_FS 4971 have pre/co-requisites and require the consent of the instructor. Because enrollment may be limited, students must see the assigned HDFS academic advisor to be placed on an enrollment permission list. Students in the Family and Lifespan Development emphasis may substitute another practicum experience with consent of department advisor.

In addition to the required core courses listed above, the degree program is completed with courses selected from within the department, from other areas in the College of Education, and from the social sciences and allied professional fields such as education, recreation, business and health. For some students, courses in the arts, humanities, or biological sciences may be appropriate.

Background Checks, Health Screenings and Other Required Elements:

It is essential that HDFS majors develop professional relationships with vulnerable populations, thus during the course of the degree program, and prior to beginning any practical or clinical education experience, students may be required to:

  • pass multiple criminal background checks
  • pass mandatory drug screens
  • pass other qualification checks required by the practical or clinical education sites
  • provide proof of health insurance coverage
  • provide proof of required immunizations
  • provide proof of student professional liability insurance coverage

The student is responsible for all costs incurred with these requirements. Failure to provide appropriate documentation, or pass required checks prior to the beginning of practical or clinical experiences may result in dismissal from the degree program in HDFS.

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Semester Plan

The BS in Human Development and Family Science has emphasis areas in Child Development and Education, Child Life Specialist, Early Childhood Education in a Mobile Society, and Family and Lifespan Development.  Please see the individual emphasis area pages for semester plans specific to the emphasis area.

Degree Audit

The degree audit is an automated report reflecting a student’s academic progress toward the completion of a degree. 

MU students can request a degree audit by logging in to myDegreePlanner.  Students may also access myDegreePlanner via myZou, in the Student Center, click on the Academic Progress Tile, then select Request Degree Audit. The audit automatically pulls in the student’s MU course work, transfer courses and courses in progress.  This is available to current students, admitted students, and those who last attended less than three terms ago.

Past MU students can request a degree audit by contacting the Academic Advising Unit of the division in which they were last enrolled at MU. For contact information, go to

Prospective students, can access a preliminary MU degree audit via Information on the college credits already earned will have to be manually entered before it can be evaluated against current degree requirements.

For additional details on degree audits, go to

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Major and Career Exploration

The University of Missouri has many resources to assist you in exploring majors and career possibilities.  For guidance, visit the Majors and Careers website or view specific resources below.

  • If you are considering a change of major or are exploring multiple majors, schedule an appointment with an advisor in the Discovery Center by calling (573)884-9700 or through MU Connect Discovery Center service in you success network.

  • If you have decided on a major, visit an academic advisor in the School or College that you are interested in to discuss the process of declaring the major

  • If you would like to learn more about your career interests, abilities, values and talents, visit the MU Career Center.  No Appointment is necessary to explore career options with one of our staff members.

For additional major and career exploration resources, visit Major & Career Exploration in the catalog.

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