HDFS Major & Courses

About the major

Human Development and Family Sciences (HDFS) majors develop knowledge and experience about individuals and families through observation, interaction, research and writing. Our curriculum offers students a solid background in statistics, as well as the physical sciences, and provides opportunities for students to implement skills they have mastered through a required practicum course.

Find more about HDFS undergraduate study

Options for Focus

Human development and family sciences (HDFS) majors have several options for focus in their studies.

  • Early Childhood is a specialization designed to provide the necessary foundation for further study or a career in working with young children in applied settings. This is Human Development and Family Sciences, option 1.

  • Human Development involves the study of development across the lifespan. Three key courses are child development, adolescent development and adult development. This is Human Development and Family Sciences, option 2.

  • Families and Personal Relationships involves the study of the formation and maintenance of close relationships, especially couple and family relationships. This is Human Development and Family Sciences, option 3.

  • Families and Society involves the study of the family and its interactions with larger societal systems, such as the economy, work and school, the media, public policy, and government. This is Human Development and Family Sciences, option 4.

Students may also opt for HDFS honors (option 5) or to take an advanced program of study with honors (option 6), or for a B.S.A. degree. For more options, please see All Undergraduate Programs.

All about HDFS at UT Austin

Courses HDFS Students Take

Get a sense for some of the courses that many of our majors take below. A more complete list for each catalog may be found when you search for your degree option by the year of entry or catalog.

Entry-Level Requirements

Natural Sciences students declare a degree and a major after receiving passing grades in key courses. For HDFS, these are typically:

  • Math or Statistics: Differential Calculus for Science (M 408N) or Foundations of Data Analysis (SDS 302F)
  • Human Development and Family Sciences: Family Relationships (HDF 304); Child Development Lecture / Lab (HDF 313 / HDF 113L); Research Methods (HDF 315L)
Examples of Courses

Students take additional courses in the major and other disciplines, such as:

  • Principles of Chemistry
  • Introductory Biology
  • Psychology and other Social Sciences
  • Fundamentals of Nutrition
  • Ethical, Philosophy & Professional Development