Human Development and Family Science (HDFS) - George Mason University
Graduate School of Education - George Mason University

Our Graduate School of Education is the alma mater for one third of teachers and administrators in Northern Virginia’s world-class school systems. Each year, more than 3,000 graduate students enroll in our innovative academic programs, which include advanced study for teachers and school leaders, instructional design and technology, and a renowned PhD in Education program that is among the largest in the country.


School of Recreation, Health, and Tourism - George Mason University

The School of Recreation, Health, and Tourism (SRHT) offers exciting, career-ready majors in dynamic fields such as athletic training, tourism and events management, health and physical education, kinesiology, sport management, and recreation management. SRHT features renowned faculty, cutting-edge research, six laboratories and centers, and a diverse student body of more than 1,000 undergraduate and graduate students each year. Each major requires one or more internship or clinical experiences, ensuring that students graduate not just with a transcript but with a resume that demonstrates their professional aptitude and skills.

Human Development and Family Science Degree Options

The Human Development and Family Science degree prepares students to effectively engage with family development through the lifespan in a variety of service settings and professions.

Graduates will have a strong interdisciplinary foundation in the Human Development and Family Science (HDFS) field and competencies in 10 areas as established by the National Council on Family Relations, including: internal dynamics of relationships and families; human growth and development; family-and community-based program planning, implementation, and evaluation; social policies and laws affecting families; family diversity; research methodology; and professional ethics as they relate to the HDFS field.

The Human Development and Family Science degree program prepares students to critically analyze complex family issues, advocate for families in schools, communities, and in the policy arena, and address social-structural factors contributing to and influencing family functioning, health, and well-being (e.g., poverty and wealth inequality, immigration and illegalization, family homelessness, incarceration, family violence, and discrimination and structural violence such as racism, nationalism, or hetero-sexism). Students are required to complete a 6-credit internship and integrate research training with service fieldwork. Such an experience is a critical component of HDFS student development and will further prepare our students for graduate education and diverse careers in the human development and family science field.

The Human Development and Family Science major offers five concentrations from which to choose as well as a highly relevant and contemporary 15 credit minor designed especially for students who are interested in how individuals develop and how to improve the quality of life for families and communities.

BA - Human Development and Family Science Major Options

Minor - Human Development and Family Science

The HDFS program is a joint academic degree program sponsored by the College of Education and Human Development (CEHD) and the College of Humanities and Social Sciences (CHSS).