Human Development and Family Science

The Department of Human Development and Family Science (HDFS) is a premier academic program dedicated to the discovery, integration and application of knowledge to enhance the resilience of diverse individuals and relationships. The department prepares students to work with individuals, couples and families. The department's primary focus is on integrative approaches to developing and maintaining individual and family resilience. The distinguishing feature of HDFS is the interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary integration of instruction, research and application between and among human development, family science, gerontology, early childhood education, and marriage and family therapy.

Committed to enhancing the quality of life of individuals and families by maximizing resilience and reducing risk, the Department of Human Development and Family Science provides a dynamic environment for life-long learners through engagement in:

  • instruction that fosters creative and critical thinking for individuals in their professional and personal lives;
  • research that contributes to the discovery of knowledge and understanding of human development and family relationships; and
  • application of knowledge that is responsive to and informed by constituents' needs.

The department offers undergraduate programs in early childhood education, early child care and development (online), child and family services, and family and consumer sciences education. Each of these programs emphasizes integration of theory, research, policy and practice.

Criteria for undergraduate students wishing to transfer into HDFS include a required minimum retention grade-point average.

Hours Completed Minimum GPA Requirement
Less than 31 hours 2.00
31-45 hours 2.25
Over 45 hours 2.50

The early childhood education (ECE) teacher certification program provides professional preparation for individuals to teach infants through third grade. This option provides a foundation in child development to prepare students to design, implement and evaluate developmentally appropriate curricula for young children.

An early childhood education (ECE) certificate is required to teach pre-kindergarten through third grade in Oklahoma public schools. All students completing the early childhood education option must meet Oklahoma State University and Oklahoma professional education requirements.

The early childcare and development (ECCD) program is 100% online and prepares students to work in early childhood settings with young children. Early Child Care and Development specialists create environments that are healthy, respectful, supportive and challenging for each child. Specialists design, implement, and evaluate experiences that promote positive development in young children.

Graduates are qualified to work in a variety of programs that offer early care and education such as infant and toddler programs, preschool programs, childcare centers and homes, military child development/care centers, before and after school programs, Head Start programs and related organizations.

The child and family services (CFS) program prepares individuals for careers in providing services and leadership to children, youth, adults and their families. The course content focuses on individual development, family dynamics, family life education, policy, management, and professional skills in the context of the community. Career opportunities are in public and private social services agencies, policy and advocacy centers, and in business and industry.

The CFS program also provides education for individuals planning to continue their education in graduate programs, medical school, law school or other specialized graduate programs. The curriculum focuses on developing skills in critical thinking, scientific investigation, and written and oral communication. Students are prepared for advanced education in such areas as family therapy, child life, medicine, physical therapy, law and psychology. This option provides flexibility to accommodate the student's particular area of interest or to meet prerequisites for a professional school.

The family and consumer sciences education (FACSED) program prepares individuals to provide comprehensive knowledge and skills that will help individuals, families and communities make informed, healthy, research-based and practical decisions to improve their well-being, society and the economy. Two paths are available for career preparation: one for Cooperative Extension Services and one for secondary school instruction. In both, FACSED students take specialized coursework in apparel design and production, family science, hospitality management, housing and interior design, human (including child) development, nutritional sciences, parenting, resource management, textiles and educator preparation so they are equipped to work in educational settings where they will have a significant impact on the lives of others. A semester-long internship or student teaching experience during the senior year in an outstanding program completes the undergraduate university preparation. Upon graduation, students meet the employment requirements for the Oklahoma Cooperative Extension Service and/or the teacher certification requirements for the Oklahoma State Department of Education, depending on which option was chosen. The job market remains strong for both careers in Oklahoma and throughout the nation.

The BS degree in HDFS requires a minimum of 124 semester credit hours. The online BS in ECCD requires 120 semester credit hours. Minors in child development, gerontology, and human services are also available in the department; information on requirements may be obtained from the HDFS department office or the Patricia Kain Knaub Center for Student Success. Articulation agreements between Oklahoma State University and Tulsa Community College and between Oklahoma State University and Northern Oklahoma College provide for a transition toward a baccalaureate degree in human development and family science. 

Further information may be found at