Human Development and Family Sciences

Chair’s Welcome

Bahira Trask speaking at a conferenceHuman Development and Family Sciences: Learning and Research for the new Millennium

Welcome to the Department of Human Development and Family Sciences. As the Chair of the department, I am honored and delighted to introduce you to our highly successful, cutting-edge program.

Our department prepares undergraduate and graduate students to solve some of the most pressing, contemporary social issues facing individuals, families and communities. Students who come into this field are generally motivated by their desire to help people and “to make a difference in our world.” They prepare for professional careers in Human Services, Human Relations Administration, and Early Childhood Education through a mixture of academic coursework and applied learning experiences. Our students can engage in undergraduate research, participate in service learning opportunities and partake in the study abroad coursework, student teaching placements and internships.

As you peruse our website, you will see that every member of our department is committed to addressing the critical social issues of our time that affect citizens around the world. Our nationally and internationally renowned faculty don’t limit their expertise to lab-based research: instead, they work in local and global communities and bring their experiences to the classroom on a daily basis. By working in close, mentored relationships with faculty, our undergraduate and graduate students alike gain valuable experiences that allow them to professionalize and become life-long learners, practitioners and scholars.

All of this applied learning pays off: over 95% of our students find meaningful, paid employment after graduating or continue on to top-tier graduate schools around the country.

Our field is also exceedingly relevant: according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, jobs in the helping professions are projected to grow by 15 percent – a much faster rate than is average for other occupations. Not surprisingly, we are one of the fastest growing social sciences departments at the university and our undergraduate majors are ranked in the top 20 at UD.

Embedded curricular experiences in combination with the faculty’s world class scholarship makes HDFS the model of a future oriented interdisciplinary, applied field. We conduct translational research that makes a difference in people’s lives, we are out in our communities affecting change, and we educate the global citizen of tomorrow.

We have a wonderful department – should you decide to join us, you will very much enjoy getting to know and work with our students, staff, and faculty!

Bahira Trask

Chair, Department of Human Development and Family Sciences


Department Overview

HDFS is an interdisciplinary academic unit within the College of Education and Human Development with approximately 500 undergraduate students, 42 graduate students and 28 faculty members.

Our faculty and students serves to meet the needs of individuals across the lifespan. In addition to coursework, our College provides centers for training and research right here on campus, including a Laboratory Preschool, an Early Learning Center, the Delaware Institute for Excellence in Early Childhood, the access to other centers and resources at and around UD.

Facts about HDFS (Fall 2023):

  • Early Childhood Education Majors: 156
  • Human Services Majors: 186
  • Human Relations Administration: 83
  • HDFS Minors: 201
  • M.S. Candidates: 11
  • Ph.D. Candidates: 31
  • Faculty Members: 28

The University of Delaware is an equal opportunity/affirmative action employer and Title IX institution. For the University’s complete non-discrimination statement, please visit