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The Bachelor of Science in Human Development and Family Sciences (HDFS) focuses on the study of human development, individuals in a family context, relationships, and well-being within the family and the broader social, economic, community, and governmental environment. Academic and research programs are organized into five streams:

  • Early Childhood
  • Human Development
  • Families and Personal Relationships
  • Families and Society
  • Human Development and Family Sciences Honors

Regardless of which stream you choose, all HDFS majors have the opportunity to enhance their education through research and observation. Because the HDFS program is housed in the College of Natural Sciences, all HDFS students will develop a strong foundation in math and science.

Students who study HDFS will be prepared for careers in human services, public policy, advanced research and graduate school.

Declare This Major

Step 1: Internal transfer students must apply to the College of Natural Sciences prior to completing 60 hours or four long semesters at UT. Applications are due to the College of Natural Sciences in the spring. Learn more about the college's internal transfer requirements.

Step 2: Once accepted into the College of Natural Sciences, all students will start as entry-level human development and family sciences majors until they successfully complete the entry-level requirements.

Prospective University of Texas at Austin students should visit to learn about the application process and how to declare a major.

Required Courses

For information on required courses, students can view the human development and family sciences degree plans for each track.


Regardless of a student's track or course work, all diplomas read human development and family sciences. All tracks require students to take nine hours of approved support coursework outside of the major. It is recommended that these courses be geared toward the student's future career goals and objectives. All tracks also require a research and/or applied practicum, with some students opting to do both. Departmental Honors as well as special honors programs are available for HDFS majors.

Students choose between five tracks:

  • Option I: Early Childhood
  • Option II: Human Development
  • Option III: Families and Personal Relationships
  • Option IV: Families and Society
  • Option V: Human Development and Family Sciences Honors (Dean's Scholars)


An HDFS student is people-focused and has a strong appreciation for science. She/he recognizes the importance family and personal relationships play in individuals' lives and is fascinated by the complexity of human relationships.

Many HDFS students conduct research as undergraduates. Learn how you can get involved in the UT research community.


Students in the human development and family sciences major develop:

  • Knowledge and understanding about family dynamics and human development
  • Observation skills of children and families
  • Research methods
  • Excellent preparation for graduate training, health professions, and fields involving work with children, families, and adults