Mission. The Department of Human Development and Family Studies is a multidisciplinary department that applies contextual and systemic frameworks to the study of individual development and relationship processes across the life span through research, teaching and service.
The Department of Human Development and Family Studies (HDFS) offers a wide range
of courses in the areas of early childhood, human development, interpersonal relations,
and family studies. Graduates of the department may enter a variety of human services
vocations and/or pursue graduate studies. Students interested only in selected aspects
may elect to minor in the department curriculum or they may choose electives while
pursuing another major course of study.
From a foundation of research and theory, this degree focuses on development across the life span (prenatal to late adulthood) in the context of couple, marriage, family, and peer relationships. This program focuses on intrapersonal (e.g., personality, cognition), interpersonal (e.g., relationship conflict, self-disclosure), and societal (e.g., race-ethnicity, class) forces as they affect personal and family well-being.
Many courses offer perspectives on interpersonal and family behavior through development of the infant, child, adolescent, young adult (courtship, early marriage), middle-aged adult (divorce-remarriage, parenthood), and older adult (widowhood, grandparenthood). Some courses also focus on important social issues that affect individual and family functioning (e.g., violence). Courses at the upper-division level provide professional training for students seeking employment in such diverse occupations as family life educator, extension service specialist, probation officer, child development specialist, or child care administrator.
With respect to certifications, students may choose courses in HDFS for career certifications such as Child Care Director, Child Life Specialist, Certified Family Life Educator, EC and FCSE Post-Baccalaureate Teacher Certification, etc. See an advisor for specific courses.
Service-research skills are also enhanced by opportunities to observe and interact with infants, toddlers, and young children in the Child Development Research Center and TTU Early Head Start. The centers are accredited by the National Association for the Education of Young Children. Students will be required to pass a background check. Supervised experiences with community groups provide opportunities for interaction with older children, adolescents, couples, families, and elderly adults. These experiences assist students in understanding developmental stages of human behavior and interpersonal relations as they occur in family or group care settings.
Undergraduate students may want to focus in one or more of the following areas in which courses are offered in the department:
Enrollment in the department is based on a 2.5 GPA. To continue enrolling in human development and family studies courses, students must maintain a GPA that meets or exceeds this standard. In addition, transfer students must have a 2.5 GPA. Students with a lower GPA may be provisionally admitted or continue to enroll in courses if a petition is submitted to the department and approved by the chairperson's office.
Minor in Human Development and Family Studies. A student may minor in Human Development and Family Studies by completing 18 hours of HDFS coursework, 9 hours of which must be upper-level. Courses for this minor should be finalized and approved in conjunction with the student's major and minor advisors.
The Bachelor of Science in Early Childhood prepares professionals to work with children from infancy through sixth grade. A strong emphasis in child development provides the foundation for understanding the child as an individual within the context of the family, the peer group, and school settings.
The program meets current Texas requirements for teacher certification and is accredited by the State Board for Educator Certification and the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP). State teacher certification is granted from early childhood through the sixth grade. See an academic advisor for updated certification requirements that may occur from recent legislative mandates. Admission to teacher certification is competitive and is based on not less than a 2.75 overall GPA. Students seeking teacher certification must meet all requirements outlined in the College of Education section of this catalog. To be recommended for certification, graduates must achieve satisfactory performance on the TExES, an examination prescribed by the State Board of Education.
The university is implementing a new teacher education program that includes a full year of student teaching (two semesters of the senior year) for students beginning their teacher education program in spring 2013 or later. Students wishing to obtain teacher certification should consult with the department's undergraduate advisor.
The department offers master's and doctoral degrees (including a post-baccalaureate Ph.D. option) in human development and family studies (HDFS), as well as a minor in cross-cultural studies (see below). These research-oriented programs require a thesis and dissertation, respectively, and prepare students for careers as university faculty, full-time researchers, medical school faculty, and human service providers. Applicants should contact the department concerning admissions requirements, programs of study, and financial assistance. Admission to a graduate degree program requires the recommendation of the department and the Graduate School. The department also offers master's degrees and graduate certificates in gerontology and youth development through its membership in the Great Plains Interactive Distance Education Alliance, a multiple-university association with online graduate programs.
Faculty research interests in the HDFS department are broad and multidisciplinary, creating many areas of specialization. Individual development research includes participants across the lifespan as well as within multiple domains of development (e.g., social, emotional, and cognitive). Special emphasis is placed on exploring development in context (e.g., cultural, ecological), measuring brain function using fMRI, and understanding developmental problems and solutions. Relationship process research includes inter-generational family relationships (ranging from infant-parent dyads to adult children and their elderly parents), close relationships (e.g., intimate and marital relationships), social interactions, and family issues (e.g., impact of work and stress on families). The department also specializes in research on theory, statistical methods and analyses, Hispanic and other ethnic studies, and issues specific to rural populations.
Master of Science in HDFS. Students in the HDFS master's program take two theories courses (Theories of Human Development and Family Theories), research methods, introduction to statistics, and a colloquium in HDFS. All students are required to complete a research-based thesis and at least 6 hours of thesis research. Beyond these requirements, about half of the hours in the program (17 of 36) are electives, so students may tailor the program to their own needs and interests.
Great Plains IDEA Master of Science in HDFS with a Specialization in Gerontology.The department is a member of the Great Plains Interactive Distance Education Alliance (Great Plains IDEA), a multiple-university association with online graduate programs. Through this organization, the department offers a master's degree in HDFS with a specialization in gerontology. The master's concentration requires a total of 36 hours comprised of eight core courses and four elective courses. The universities that are part of the gerontology program include Iowa State University, Kansas State University, North Dakota State University, Oklahoma State University, University of Missouri–Columbia, University of Arkansas, and Texas Tech University. This program is designed to prepare professionals who are either working directly with older people or involved in education and research related to aging adults.
Great Plains IDEA Master of Science in HDFS with a Specialization in Youth Development. Through the Great Plains IDEA, the department offers an online master's degree in HDFS with a specialization in youth development. The 36-hour master's degree includes 28 credit hours of coursework and 8 hours of either a practicum, project or thesis. All courses are taught by distance and in collaboration with the following participating Great Plains IDEA institutions: Kansas State University, Michigan State University, University of Nebraska–Lincoln, and Texas Tech University. Once admitted to a home institution, students can take courses from any of the institutions with credit applied toward the appropriate degree The Great Plains IDEA youth development program is designed to prepare professionals who are working directly with adolescents and young adults or are involved in education and research related to youth.
Students in the Doctor of Philosophy in Human Development and Family Studies program also complete the master's program requirements. In recognition of the methodological and statistical sophistication of the field, they take three additional quantitative statistics courses and a qualitative methods course. In recognition of a likely future career as college faculty, they spend two semesters in a college teaching practicum. Students are also required to (1) take the lead on a research project (the 7000 project) prior to becoming a doctoral candidate and (2) complete a dissertation with at least 12 hours of dissertation research. Nearly half of the hours in the doctoral program (39 of 84 hours) are electives. This allows students to define their own area of specialization. At least nine courses must be related to their specialization, and up to five courses may be taken outside of the HDFS department. Up to 30 transfer hours may be applied toward doctoral program requirements upon approval of the student's committee and the Graduate School.
Noteworthy features of many graduate students' degree programs include the following:
The 15-credit-hour graduate minor in cross-cultural studies (CCS) is designed to provide fundamental competencies on multicultural and international/transnational issues affecting diverse populations as well as core principles of human development and socio-political change from a global perspective. The CCS graduate minor is supported by a multidisciplinary curriculum geared toward enhancing cross-cultural knowledge, skills, leadership, and lifetime professional success in a broad variety of traditional and non-traditional career paths. The CCS minor is offered to all master's and doctoral students in the university system as well as non-traditional students seeking to enhance their professional expertise by incorporating a cross-cultural dimension to their programs of study.
The core courses (9 credit hours) included in the CCS minor are designed to provide students with a comprehensive, in-depth exploration of culture and how arguments about cultural diversity, ethnicity, and race are constructed, substantiated, and used across disciplines. The courses encourage critical thinking and analytical reasoning to develop an in-depth understanding of practical applications of cross-cultural theoretical frameworks and methodologies (qualitative-quantitative) from a multidisciplinary perspective. The courses also evaluate the significance of cross-cultural knowledge and the main challenges and issues experienced by professionals across fields in today's multicultural society.
Requirements for the minor are as follows:
HDFS 5353 Foundations of Cross-Cultural Studies (3)
HDFS 5311 Socialization Processes and Addiction (3)
HDFS 5353 Cross-Cultural Research Methods (3)
Contact: Dr. Elizabeth Trejos-Castillo, Associate Professor of Human Development and Family Studies; email@example.com
Gerontology. The Graduate Certificate in Gerontology 15-hour inter-institutional program offered through the Great Plains Interactive Distance Education Alliance, a consortium of seven universities. The program is designed to prepare professionals who are either working directly with older people or are involved in education or research related to aging adults. The web-based courses are comprised of two core courses and three electives offered by universities participating in Great Plains IDEA.
Youth Development Specialist. The Graduate Certificate in Youth Development Specialist is designed to assist youth professionals to train individuals in the second decade of life with the skills necessary for a successful transition into adulthood. The target audience is professionals who are either working directly with adolescents and young adults or are involved in education and research related to youth. Great Plains IDEA is the only alliance of public universities to offer a youth specialist certificate completely online. The program addresses the need for advanced education in youth issues and does so through a strengths-based curriculum.
Youth Program Management and Evaluation. The Graduate Certificate in Youth Program Management and Evaluation is designed to prepare professionals who are either working directly with adolescents and young adults or are involved in education and research related to youth. Few graduate programs exist that focus solely on the second decade of life, and Great Plains IDEA is the only alliance of public universities to offer this type of certificate completely online. The certificate is designed to assist youth professionals to develop and apply resources for successful implementation and management of youth-serving organizations. The program addresses the need for advanced education based on research and policy for optimal youth outcomes through a strengths-based curriculum.
Professors: Bell, Caldera, Hart, O'Boyle, Reifman, Scott
Associate Professors: Colwell, Cong, Fitzpatrick, McCarty, Mulsow, Niehuis, Sharp, Trejos
Assistant Professors: Chae, Oh, Weiser
Instructors: Johnson, Shine, Ziegner