Our Human Development & Family Studies Degree Program

Undergraduate Program

Next Start Date: 
August 23, 2021

    The major in Human Development and Family Studies (HDFS) draws from multiple disciplines and is designed for students who are intrigued by human nature and the forces that help shape it. HDFS majors will study how people develop physically, emotionally, and socially across their lifespans and in the context of family and society. Graduates will be prepared to serve individuals and families in a variety of settings, attend graduate programs in a variety of fields or conduct research in non-academic or academic settings.

    HDFS is a well-known area of study at large universities but it is less common at small colleges. Being an HDFS major at Columbia College provides students the opportunity to study human development in a variety of contexts but within the structure of small class settings. Students will have the opportunity for in-depth discussion in class as well as opportunities to partner with organizations in the community.

    Columbia College is one of only a few schools in South Carolina to offer a major in HDFS. 


    • Students will have the opportunity to tailor their course work to their interests by choosing elective courses most related to their career goals.

    • Students also have the option to choose their senior capstone experience either by conducting a senior research project or completing a senior internship.

    • The HDFS program has established partnerships with numerous organizations in the community which allows students the opportunity to learn outside of the classroom.

    After Graduation

    Career Opportunities

    Completion of this degree qualifies you for graduate study in law or social work as well as a variety of professional positions in law, health care, therapy, ministry, or child life settings. You could also pursue positions with: 

    • Department of Juvenile Justice
    • South Carolina State Department of Social Services
    • Richland County Department of Social Services
    • Richland County Guardian Ad Litem/Victims Advocates

    Experience with different family dynamics prepares students for a number of professional options such as:

    • Family Service Coordinator
    • Parent Educator
    • Child Life Specialist (with additional training)
    • Research Coordinator
    • Nonprofit services for children and families

    Service-Learning Placements

    Our students have gone on to serve at the following organizations. 

    • Palmetto AIDS Life Support Services
    • The Benefit Bank
    • The Sickle Cell Association
    • YMCA Boys and Girls Club of the Midlands
    • The Nurturing Center Co-operative Ministries
    • Camp Rise Above EdVenture
    • Children’s Museum
    • Harvest Hope Food Bank
    • Children’s Garden
    • Ronald McDonald House
    • Richland County First Steps
    • Bright Start
    • Richland County Sheriff's Office
    • Family Promise of the Midlands 

    Human Development & Family Studies Area of Study

    Major Requirements