Human Development and Family Sciences (B.S.)

Why Study Human Development and Family Sciences at NIU?

Human Development and Family Sciences program prepares you to work as a professional serving families and individuals. You’ll learn about human development and the influences they have on each other during all life stages. There are three emphases, all which provide a foundation for graduate study.

Our School of Family and Consumer Sciences participates in an interdisciplinary major in early childhood studies and an interdisciplinary minor in gerontology.

Emphasis 1: Family and Individual Development

This emphasis provides career enhancement if you have prior work experience with individuals and/or families, or plan to pursue a career in secondary education or higher education in family and child studies and related fields. You’re advised to take classes in this emphasis if you plan to pursue advanced degrees in related fields with a research focus rather than a service focus.

Emphasis 2: Family Social Services

This emphasis is for you if you seek entry-level employment in family service, family life education, mental health or community welfare agencies which serve primarily older children, adolescents, adults, couples and/or the elderly. If you’re planning to pursue an advanced degree in social work, family and child studies, marriage and family therapy, and related fields, you should take classes in this emphasis.

Emphasis 3: Child Development

This emphasis provides preparation for professionals who serve infants, toddlers, and young children and their parents in parent-child programs, both home- and community-based; in programs for parents and expectant parents; in child-life program, early intervention and early childhood education; and in leadership/advocacy positions.


Careers with a Human Development and Family Sciences Degree

As a student in the Family & Child Studies program at NIU, you’ll have many career options upon graduation. Our alumni find jobs working with children, adults, families and seniors in a variety of industries including healthcare, social services and nonprofits.

Human Development and Family Sciences Faculty

Our Human Development and Family Sciences includes professors and instructors passionate not only about teaching but about research as well. 


Hands-on Learning Opportunities

All three emphases in the Family and Child Studies major prepare you to work as professionals serving families and children, as well as provide a foundation for graduate study. To enhance your experience, many of our students are members of several student organizations, including:

  • The NIU Student Council on Family Relations (NIUSCFR)
  • The Northern Illinois Association for the Education of Young Children