Study Life

Promoting healthy development across the lifespan

Even in our rapidly changing times, the human life cycle remains constant—each phase of life with its own challenges and opportunities. Human Development and Family Science (HDF) examines this amazing process.

As an HDF major at URI, you study the science of caring. You learn how people grow, develop, and change over time—and how family relationships impact human development. You discover strategies that promote healthy development across the lifespan. You engage in fieldwork experiences in a variety of human service settings. And, whether your focus is on children, families, adolescents, or older adults, URI’s HDF program will prepare you for meaningful professional work in the human services, providing you with the knowledge and skills you need to enhance the quality of life in individuals, families, and communities.

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Highlights of the HDF major

On-Site Coaching

Experiential education

HDF has the greatest proportion of experiential education opportunities within the College of Health Sciences. Students engage in service learning in a variety of human service settings through field experiences including the capstone senior internship.

Student doing research

Research experience

HDF majors have the opportunity to gain hands-on experience working with faculty in their research into range of human development and family science areas. This experience is a invaluable benefit, especially for those students interested in pursuing graduate school.


HDF as a double major

Did you know that the Human Development and Family Science major is an excellent complementary double major with most other disciplines at URI? Learn more about how double majoring in HDF may be a great option for you.

HDF will teach you the foundations for how to care for others, how to convey empathy, how to help people thrive, grow and be resilient, how to advocate for those who need help, and how to promote physical and mental health and well-being.
Sue Adams, chairperson, Department of Human Development and Family Science