Our Human Development & Family Studies Degree Program

Undergraduate Program

Next Start Date: 
August 24, 2020

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
  • School/Home Liaison
  • 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 

  • SOC 151—Introductory Sociology | 3 hrs
  • BIO 105—Human Biology | 4 hrs -OR-
  • BIO 130—Human Anatomy and Physiology | 4 hrs
  • SOC 268/SOWK 268—Ethnic and Minority Groups | 3 hrs
  • HDFS 101—Introduction to Human Development and Family Studies | 3 hrs
  • HDFS 205—Theories of Human Development | 3 hrs
  • HDFS 221—Family Development | 3 hrs
  • HDFS 320—Interventions for Children and Families | 3 hrs
  • HDFS 480—Senior Internship | 3 hrs -OR-
  • HDFS 494—Senior Research | 3 hrs
  • PSY 300—Statistics for Behavioral Science | 3 hrs
  • PSY 303—Lifespan Development | 3 hrs
  • PSY 349—Research Methods in Behavioral Science | 3 hrs

Human Development & Family Studies majors can choose nine hours of the following courses. 

  • HDFS 301—Infant and Child Development | 3 hrs
  • HDFS 305—Adolescent Development | 3 hrs
  • HDFS 315—Development in Emerging Adulthood | 3 hrs
  • HDFS 316—Parent Education (SL) | 3 hrs
  • HDFS 318—Adult Development and Aging | 3 hrs