Spring trees bloom outside of the Family Studies Building.

The Department of Human Development & Family Sciences (HDFS) focuses its research, teaching, and public engagement on a multidisciplinary understanding of 1) healthy development and wellbeing of individuals and families over the lifespan, 2) interactions and processes within families, and 3) individuals and families in societal and cultural contexts. We are committed to excellence in research, teaching, and public engagement through our core values of individualized mentoring, innovation and leadership, diversity and equity, and applied/translational science.

The Department of Human Development and Family Sciences (HDFS) recognizes that higher education systems have historically operated to preclude equity and undermined a sense of belonging for many students, staff, and faculty. We are committed to diversity, equity, inclusion, and justice (DEIJ). We value and welcome diversity in all its forms including but not limited to race, ethnicity, gender and sexual identity and expression, age, culture, health, disability, nationality, immigration status, immigrant background, language, religion, spirituality, and socio-economic status. As scholars, educators, and service providers in an interdisciplinary department, we have a responsibility to identify and acknowledge historical and current injustices that minoritized individuals and families face and advocate for change in and outside of our department.

a) Together, we pledge to foster an equitable and inclusive department for all of its members by:

    1. cultivating a departmental culture in which all minoritized students, faculty, and staff feel safe, valued, and free of the burdens placed on them because of their group membership,
    2. identifying and revising existing, and/or developing new policies, practices, and priorities that reflect our departmental commitment to DEIJ.

b) We will ensure the values of DEIJ remain a priority through ongoing initiatives in the HDFS Strategic Plan.

c) As a department, we will continue to demonstrate and strengthen our commitment to diversity, equity, inclusion, and justice through our research, teaching, mentoring, and service activities—acting as a model for our university, state, region, and nation.

To maintain and deepen the department’s commitment to diversity, equity, inclusion, and justice, we have established a departmental DEIJ committee of faculty, staff, graduate and undergraduate students. The committee meets monthly throughout the academic year and reviews existing, and proposes new policies, practices, and departmental priorities. The committee works with the departmental strategic planning process to advocate that DEIJ principles are woven into all aspects of research, teaching and service.

Areas of Study

Faculty, graduate students, and undergraduate students are actively engaged in the following inter-related areas of study:

  • Child and Adolescent Development
  • Adulthood, Aging, and Gerontology
  • Couples, Parents, and Families
  • Health, Wellbeing, and Prevention
  • Diversity and Culture

Undergraduate students receive a Bachelor of Arts degree in HDFS. The HDFS major is offered at the main campus in Storrs, and at regional campuses in Hartford, Stamford, and Waterbury. Learn more about our HDFS Undergraduate program and our Honors Scholar Program.

Graduate students can earn a PhD and/or a Master’s Degree in HDFS. Learn more about areas of specialization within the Graduate program.

The Department is home to the following centers:

HDFS Faculty are also involved in other centers across the University, including the Institute for Collaboration on Health, Intervention, and Policy (InCHIP), and the Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity.

HDFS is in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences (CLAS), which is home to 24 departments spanning the life, physical, and social sciences, and the humanities. The College forms the academic core of learning and research at UConn, empowering students with broad knowledge, transferable skills, and an ability to think critically about important issues.

The University of Connecticut is ranked the best public university in New England and among the Top 20 public universities in the U.S.