B.S. Human Development and Family Studies

Unique online degree combines customized instruction and outreach to prepare you for a meaningful career in human development and family life.
Degree Type Bachelor of Science
CAREERS AND SALARY Annual Employment Report
Delivery Online

UW-Stout's online Bachelor of Science degree in Human Development and Family Studies (HDFS) is an interdisciplinary major focusing on the development of individuals across the lifespan, within the context of family and culture. If you're committed to living or working away from campus the program's multidisciplinary approach will provide you with both a broad perspective and specialized knowledge.

Enhanced Online Learning

  • Courses delivered 100% online by award-winning faculty
  • Consistent Fall, Spring, and Summer program course offerings
  • Support from Adult Student Services Coordinators and Distance Librarians
  • Efficient transferability of credits
  • Proven preparation for graduate school

Our experienced full-time faculty have created a flexible and enhanced online learning environment that fits your schedule with full time and part time options. The program's coursework is designed for a wide range of students including individuals with an associate’s degree or equivalent who wish to increase professional potential by earning a bachelor’s degree in HDFS.  


Program Overview

View program plans, credit requirements and course descriptions.


Our flexible customized instruction is designed for adult learners who are beginning their professional journey and transfer students who are wishing to advance their professional opportunities. The excellent transferability of credits assists you in completing your degree in a timely manner.

What We Offer

  • An established and highly reputable program
  • Award-winning instructors
  • Applied learning opportunities
  • Professional networking opportunities
  • Excellent employment in the field
  • Proven preparation for graduate school

Our goal is to foster positive sensitivity to the needs of families and their members through the lenses of relationships, culture, gender, age, and life stage, among others. UW-Stout's Human Development and Family Studies program has a strong, established reputation of preparing our graduates to work in a variety of human service related areas.

"I was undeclared my freshmen year and then stumbled upon Human Development and Family Studies. I couldn't believe I had the opportunity to study familial relations, child development, and policies regarding families. I met so many amazing people and learned information that directly relates to my personal life. And we applied theories to situations in the working world."

-- Cyan Bower
B.S. Human Development and Family Studies

Use the Request Information form to receive a program summary and learn more about the Bachelor of Science degree in Human Development and Family Studies.

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Value for Your Money

Customized Instruction at UW Stout can be described as programs that are designed with the adult learner in mind. If you're comparing UW-Stout's online degree customized instruction (CI) tuition to our competitors, keep in mind:

  • Customized instruction tuition rate includes the textbook rental fee.
  • There are no additional university-based semester or technology fees.
  • Students in customized instruction programs pay the same rate of tuition regardless if Wisconsin residents, out-of-state or international participants.

There’s more to value than just tuition. UW Stout also provides:

  • Program Director – faculty with discipline expertise.
  • Student Services adviser – one point of contact, providing support to students for each program.
  • Course sequences and matrices – know what courses are offered when so you can plan ahead.
  • Courses and programs may be stackable for use in another program.
  • Courses are flexible and convenient for working professionals.

Other universities will present costs and value differently - make sure you're comparing apples to apples.

Ranked the Fifth Best Human Development Degree Program

In 2021, BestValueSchools.org ranked Stout's BS HDFS program fifth in the best Human Development programs.


To apply for the on-campus and online Bachelor of Science degree in Human Development and Family Studies, you need to apply to UW-Stout.

Financial Aid

Students who are attending another institution, but are planning to receive their degree from UW-Stout, may be eligible to receive aid from UW‐Stout. In these cases, UW‐Stout is considered the Home Institution and the other campus is considered the Visiting Institution.Transfer Students

Note: When filling out the application form, be sure to make a note in the student comment section that you intend to apply to the "online program." 

Program Objectives

Upon completing the B.S. HDFS program, students will be able to:

  • Demonstrate professional competence in educational, civic, and career settings.
  • Integrate knowledge of family dynamics to enhance relational functioning.
  • Demonstrate cultural competence, inclusive of multiple aspects and intersections of diversity within a historical and social context.
  • Integrate understanding of the developmental processes in individuals across the lifespan, based on physical, social, emotional, cognitive, moral, and personality aspects within an ecological framework.
  • Critique social scientific knowledge as applied to families and human development.
  • Evaluate the impacts among and between societal institutions and families.
  • Demonstrate personal and interpersonal growth.
  • Demonstrate competent communication skills.

Our program is designed for students ranging from incoming freshmen who are beginning their professional journey to transfer students who are wishing to advance their professional opportunities. The excellent transferability of credits assists transfer students in completing their degree in a timely manner.

Career Opportunities

An academic study, service learning opportunities, and experiential learning with a senior internship prepare graduates for positions in a number of areas, such as:

  • Human service agencies
  • Residential treatment programs and group homes
  • Afterschool/youth mentoring programs
  • Probation and corrections facilities
  • Rehabilitation centers
  • Older adult activity and living centers
  • Aging and disability services
  • Human resources management
  • Family resource centers
  • Youth summer camps
  • Child care facilities
  • Public/family policy and advocacy
  • Research 

The program also serves as an excellent foundation for graduate school in disciplines including:

  • Marriage and Family Therapy
  • Social Work
  • Alcohol and Drug Counseling
  • Mental Health Counseling
  • School Counseling
  • Student Personnel
  • Health and Wellness
  • Family Science
HDFS Advisory Board

2020 HDFS Advisory Board

Cyan Bower HDFS Alum  
Kevin  Doll CEHHHS/HDFS  
Kayle Fox HDFS Student  
Jeremy  Hernandez Professional in the Field Alpha House Group Home
Skylar Kitchner HDFS Alum  
Tina  Lee CACHSS/Applied Social Science Program Director  
Candice Maier HDFS Assistant Professor  
Kimmery Newsom Program Director  
Genevieve Sabala Director - Social Work Certificate  
Robert  Salt CEHHHS Dean  
Angie Scott HDFS Alum/Professional in the Field Dunn County Dept. of Human Services
Bethanne  Shriner Program Director - online  
Janine  Thull First Year Advisor - UWStout Advisement Center  
Julia Tronnier HDFS Stout Online  

Human Development and Family Studies

All Human Development and Family Studies News

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First-generation graduates share tips, advice with first-year students

Professor receives national award for research on gender stereotypes in heterosexual relationships

Maier’s dissertation explores ways therapists can help couples build supportive relationships

McNair Scholars Program provides first-generation students resources for greater opportunities

Student, recent alum thankful for support; university to hold first-generation celebration Nov. 8.