Human Development and Family Studies

Human Development & Family Studies

This program offers an interdisciplinary lifespan approach to the study of children, youth and families. It encompasses specialty areas in preschool teaching, childcare, administration, youth studies, family services, child life, consumer economics, human sciences teacher education and extension. Students develop an awareness of trends, issues and public policy affecting families and analyze factors that influence cognitive, emotional, social, and physical development in the contexts of culture and family. Graduates enter diverse public and private sectors which focus on enabling children and families to function effectively in today's complex society. The Human Development and Family Studies undergraduate program has been approved by the National Council on Family Relations (NCFR) as meeting the Standards and Criteria for the Provisional Certified Family Life Educator (CFLE). For information about how to apply for the designation, contact your Human Sciences advisor.


Students concentrate in one of four areas.

Child Studies

Child Life Specialists work with children in a hospital setting. The role of a Child Life Specialist is to provide normalizing and coping play experiences, establish therapeutic relationships with children and families, and present developmentally appropriate information about medical procedures and interventions. Preschool graduates can work with infants, toddlers, 3- and 4-year-olds, kindergarten. HDFS students who complete an internship in a preschool setting may take the Praxis I and II exams.  After graduation, one may apply for a Pre-K–K teaching license in Mississippi.

Youth Studies

The Youth Studies curriculum prepares students to understand and work effectively with children and adolescents, ages 10-18, in a variety of settings. The program provides students with a comprehensive view of the needs and developmental characteristics of youths, as well as the challenges facing today’s youths. Emphasis is placed on understanding how youth development does not occur in isolation but is situated in, and affected by, contexts such as relationships, family, neighborhood/community, school, culture, the economy, and society. Youth Studies students gain valuable real-world experience through a required field experience course and an internship. Students are also able to develop specific areas of specialization to fit their career interests by choosing from a generous variety of focus area courses.

The Youth Studies program is unique in that students are given the opportunity to gain valuable real-world experience through a required field experience course and an internship. Students are also able to develop specific areas of specialization to fit their career interests by choosing from a generous variety of focus area courses.

Family Studies

The Family Studies program helps students discover, verify, and apply knowledge about the family. Family Studies students gain valuable real-world experience through a required field experience course and an internship, and graduates are able to receive provisional certification through the National Council on Family Relations as Certified Family Life Educators, recognizing their competence in a broad range of ten family-related content areas. They are prepared to address societal issues including economics, education, work-family issues, parenting, sexuality, gender, substance abuse, domestic violence, unemployment, debt, and child abuse within the context of the family. Graduates can work in a variety of governmental, non-profit, religious, and private agencies.

FCS Teacher Education

The FCS Teacher Education prepares graduates to teach diverse populations: children, youth, adults, people with disabilities, the elderly, business professionals, and others. The teaching program is integrated and interdisplinary and involves the ability to teach about problem solving and critical thinking, parenting skills, relationship skills, wellness and nutrition, clothing selection, time management, job skills and money management.


Gerontology Minor/Certificate

A minor in Gerontology is available at the undergraduate level. For graduate students, a Certificate in Gerontology is offered. Gerontology is the study of aging and late life potential from the perspective of many disciplines. Students learn strategies for enhancing the quality of life and life expectancy. No matter what your area of study, a Gerontology minor or Certificate may make you more marketable to a future employer. Increased life expectancy means more opportunities for careers with older Americans. It is projected that the number of Americans over the age of 65 will double by 2030. This population increase is expected to result in greater demand for services and professionals trained to meet the special needs of the older adult. If you want to capitalize on some of the opportunities this presents for your future career, consider the Gerontology minor/Certification.


Students may apply for university, college and departmental scholarships through one application. You can find the scholarship application once you logon to myState. Under the banner tab, select Financial Aid and Scholarships. The application is listed as Submit/Revise General Scholarship Application (16/17).

Scholarship deadline is February 15, 2016.

Transfer Students

Students may transfer to Mississippi State University from regionally accredited community, junior or senior colleges for any period of enrollment, provided they have earned a 2.0 GPA (as computed by Mississippi State University) on all college courses attempted as well as earned a 2.0 GPA on the 30-hours of core courses. Transfer students should look at the transfer course equivalent guide to determine which courses will transfer.


  • Early Interventionist
  • Child Care Center Owner/Director
  • Preschool Teacher
  • Child Advocate
  • Parent Educator
  • Early Head Start Teacher
  • 4-H Professionals
  • Youth Organization Professionals (Scouts, Boys and Girls Clubs, church youth groups)
  • Youth Program Administrators
  • Juvenile Probation Officers
  • Adolescent Services Coordinators
  • Human Services Worker
  • Case Worker/Case Manager
  • Drug and Alcohol Program Counselor
  • Director of Volunteers
  • Intake Counselor
  • Family Life Counselor
  • Extension Service Employee
  • Gerontology Professional
Mississippi State University

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