Human Development and Family Studies

School of Health and Human Sciences


Interested in making life better for people? So are we! Welcome to the Human Development & Family Studies Department website. We hope that you will learn a bit about what we do from this website, but more than that, we hope that you will see a place where you might connect and become involved! 

Our department has three primary missions:
1. to educate students, our community, and others across the country about human development—how people change over time, and how important contexts, especially families, influence development;
2. to generate new knowledge about how children, adolescents, adults, and older adults develop, and how their relationships and experiences impact development;
3. to apply knowledge generated from research to improve the lives of individuals and families across the state of North Carolina and beyond.
With over 600 undergraduates and over 70 graduate students, our Department offers the following programs:

Bachelors degrees in three areas: Children, Youth and Family Development, Birth through Kindergarten Teacher Education, and Early Care and Education Birth through Kindergarten

Birth through Kindergarten Graduate programs including two Post Baccalaureate Certificates and a Masters of Education degree

Masters of Science and Doctorate of Philosophy degrees which prepare students for a range of research-oriented careers in Human Development & Family Studies

Faculty in HDFS at UNCG are top notch scholars who have funded research projects which range from our collaborative role in the National Research Center on Hispanic Children and Families, to a NICHD-funded study of obesity in very young children, to the North Carolina Rated License Assessment Project which rates the quality of child care centers in North Carolina. A hallmark of our research is that it is multi-disciplinary, collaborative and can be applied to “real world” issues. The Department’s strength is enhanced by recently housing the editorships of two major family studies journals (Journal of Marriage and Family and Family Relations) as well as the Journal of Early Childhood Teacher Education. Furthermore, our Ph.D. program is the only one of its kind in the state of North Carolina, and is known nationally and internationally as one of the premier HDFS programs in the country.

Integrated within all of our scholarly and educational programs is a focus on diversity, with attention to understanding and meeting the needs of oppressed and vulnerable individuals and families. We value and actively promote an inclusive community with visible and meaningful representation of diversity in all aspects of our work.


Catherine Scott-Little, Ph.D.
Interim Department Chair, UNCG HDFS Department