BA in Human Development and Family Science

The Human Development and Family Science (HDFS) program focuses to educate students through quality instruction and experiential learning in lifespan human development and family science by fostering critical thinking and the research, communication, and career-ready skills that prepare them to become professionals in service to individuals and families.

Catalog Year: 2024-2025

Banner Code: LA-BA-HDFS

This degree prepares its graduates to use family-centered and strengths-based approaches to support the health and well-being of individuals and families in diverse communities. Graduates will have a strong interdisciplinary foundation in the HDFS field and competencies in 10 areas as established by the National Council on Family Relations, including:

  • internal dynamics of relationships and families
  • human growth and development
  • family-and community-based program planning, implementation, and evaluation
  • social policies and laws affecting families
  • family diversity
  • research methodology
  • professional ethics as related to the HDFS field

The HDFS curriculum prepares students to effectively engage with families across the lifespan and in a variety of service settings and professions, from early childhood education and care to family law and policy advocacy.

Our program prepares students to critically analyze complex family issues, advocate for families in schools, communities, and in the policy arena, and address social-structural factors contributing to and influencing family functioning, health, and well-being (e.g., poverty and wealth inequality, immigration and illegalization, family homelessness, incarceration, family violence, and discrimination and structural violence such as racism, nationalism, or heterosexism). Students are required to complete an internship and integrate research training with service fieldwork. Such an experience is a critical component of HDFS student development and will further prepare our students for graduate education and diverse careers in the human development and family science field.

The University Catalog is the authoritative source for information on program requirements and courses. The Schedule of Classes is the authoritative source for information on classes scheduled for this semester. See the Schedule for the most up-to-date information and see Patriot web to register for classes. Requirements may be different for earlier catalog years. See the University Catalog archives.

Formerly (E1-BA-HDFS)

Degree Requirements

Total credits: 120

Core Courses in the Major

HDFS 200 Individual and Family Development (Mason Core) 3
PSYC 211 Lifespan Development (Mason Core) 3
HDFS 300 Individual and Family Services Delivery 3
INTS 321 Parent-Child Relations (Mason Core) 4
HDFS 480 Special Topics in Human Development and Family Science 3-4
HDFS 498 Internship and Analysis in Human Development and Family Science 3
HDFS 499 Advanced Internship and Analysis in Human Development and Family Science (Mason Core) 3
Select one course from the following: 3-4
Research for Social Change (Mason Core)
Research Methods in Psychology (Mason Core)
Methods and Logic of Inquiry (Mason Core)
Select one course from the following: 3-4
Advanced Family Processes (Mason Core)
Issues in Family Relationships (Mason Core)
Contemporary Families and Intimate Relationships
Psychology of Intimate Relationships
Select one course from the following: 3
Family Financial Literacy and Resource Management
The Hospitalized Child and Family
Therapeutic Benefits of Play
Family Law and Public Policy
Total Credits 31-34
Major Elective Choices 12
Elective choices follow career and professional interests. Elective courses are suggested by advisors and mentors and approved by the Academic Program Coordinator. See below for areas of focus.
Families and Individuals Across the Life Span
BIOL 124
Human Anatomy and Physiology I
Family and Health Communication
Delinquency and the Juvenile Justice System
Law and Justice around the World (Mason Core)
ECED 402
Foundations of Language and Literacy for Diverse Young Learners, Birth-Age 5
ECED 403
Inclusive Curriculum for Young Learners: Planning Instruction and Guidance
ECED 405
Introduction to Early Childhood Special Education
ECED 406
Medical and Developmental Aspects of Disabilities of Diverse Young Learners
ECED 422
Developing Language, Literacy, and Communication of Diverse Infants and Toddlers
ECED 423
Early Intervention for Infants Toddlers with Disabilities: Collaborative Consultative Approaches
EDSE 203
Disability in American Culture (Mason Core)
ELED 258
Children's Literature for Teaching in Diverse Settings (Mason Core)
Health Care Delivery in the United States
Assisted Living/Senior Housing Management and Philosophy
Introduction to Health Services Research
The Hospitalized Child and Family
HEAL 220
Dimensions of Mental Health
HEAL 310
Drugs and Health
HEAL 327
Women's Health
HEAL 331
Men's Health
HEAL 351
Relationship Health
HEAL 372
Health Communication
Violence, Gender, and Sexuality
Images and Experiences of Childhood: Social Construct, Literature, and Film
Conflict, Trauma and Healing
Introduction to Childhood Studies (Mason Core)
Issues in Family Relationships (Mason Core)
Contemporary Youth Studies (Mason Core)
Women and Leadership
Contemporary Health: Intersections in Science and Society (Mason Core)
Social Justice Education (Mason Core)
NUTR 295
Introduction to Nutrition (Mason Core)
Social Psychology (Mason Core)
Principles of Learning (Mason Core)
Child Development
Adolescent Development
Cognitive Psychology
Psychology of Gender
Applied Cross-Cultural Psychology (Mason Core)
Behavior Disorders of Childhood
Psychological Factors in Aging
Death, Dying, and Grieving
Psychology of Intimate Relationships
Sociology of Delinquency
Race and Ethnicity in a Changing World (Mason Core)
Contemporary Families and Intimate Relationships
Sociology of Deviance
Contemporary Gender Relations (Mason Core)
Youth Culture and Society (Mason Core)
Sociology of Health, Illness, and Disability
Child and Family Welfare
Introduction to Gerontology
Current Issues in Women and Gender Studies
Women and Work
Family Advocacy
Family and Health Communication
EDSE 203
Disability in American Culture (Mason Core)
Introduction to Public Health
Health Behavior Theories
Health and Disease
Health Promotion and Education
Social Determinants of Health
Health Care Delivery in the United States
Introduction to Health Services Research
HEAL 110
Personal Health
HEAL 220
Dimensions of Mental Health
HEAL 230
Introduction to Health Behavior (Mason Core)
HEAL 310
Drugs and Health
HEAL 325
Human Sexuality
HEAL 327
Women's Health
HEAL 331
Men's Health
HEAL 351
Relationship Health
HEAL 372
Health Communication
Conflict, Trauma and Healing
Issues in Family Relationships (Mason Core)
Contemporary Health: Intersections in Science and Society (Mason Core)
NUTR 422
Nutrition throughout the Life Cycle
Applied Cross-Cultural Psychology (Mason Core)
Death, Dying, and Grieving
Psychology of Intimate Relationships
Race and Ethnicity in a Changing World (Mason Core)
Contemporary Families and Intimate Relationships
Social Inequality (Mason Core)
Sociology of Health, Illness, and Disability
Current Issues in Women and Gender Studies
Research and Policy
Introduction to Law and Society
Law and Justice around the World (Mason Core)
Health Ethics, Leadership, and Advocacy
GOVT 301
Public Law and the Judicial Process
GOVT 318
Interest Groups, Lobbying, and the Political Process
GOVT 364
Public Policy Making
GOVT 366
Public Policy Analysis
GOVT 407
Law and Society
GOVT 414
Politics of Race and Gender
GOVT 427
Feminist Political Thought
GOVT 445
Human Rights
Health Care Delivery in the United States
Healthcare Law
Introduction to Health Care Politics and Policy
Introduction to Health Services Research
Issues in Family Relationships (Mason Core)
Social Justice Consciousness and Action
Social Justice and Human Rights (Mason Core)
Women and Leadership
Psychology of Gender
Applied Cross-Cultural Psychology (Mason Core)
Psychology of Intimate Relationships
Race and Ethnicity in a Changing World (Mason Core)
Contemporary Families and Intimate Relationships
Qualitative Research Methods
Contemporary Gender Relations (Mason Core)
Social Inequality (Mason Core)
Changing Social Policies and Systems
Legal and Ethical Issues in Human Services
Introductory Statistics I (Mason Core)
Introductory Statistics II

Writing Intensive Requirement

The university requires all students to complete at least one courses designated "writing intensive" in their majors at the 300 level or above. Students majoring in human development and family science may fulfill this requirement by successfully completing INTS 321 Parent-Child Relations (Mason Core).

Upper Level Requirement

Students seeking a bachelor's degree must apply at least 45 credits of upper-level courses (numbered 300 or above) toward graduation requirements.

Additional Electives

Any remaining credits may be completed with elective courses to bring the degree total to 120.

College Level Requirements for the BA Degree

In addition to the Mason Core program, students pursuing a BA degree must complete the coursework below. Except where expressly prohibited, a course used to fulfill a college level requirement may also be used simultaneously to satisfy other requirements (Mason Core requirements or requirements for the major).

Philosophy or Religious Studies
Select 3 credits from the following: 3
PHIL 1
1

Note that the following courses may not be used to fulfill this requirement:

  • PHIL 323 Classical Western Political Theory 
  • PHIL 324 Modern Western Political Theory 
  • PHIL 327 Contemporary Western Political Theory 
  • PHIL 393 Humanities College to Career 
  • PHIL 460 Senior Seminar in Philosophy, Politics, and Economics


Additionally, PHIL 253RELI 235RELI 333, and RELI 339 cannot be used to fulfill both the philosophy/religious studies requirement and the Mason Core literature requirement.

Social and Behavioral Sciences
Select 3 credits of social and behavioral sciences from the following (additional to the Mason Core social and behavioral sciences requirement) 1 3
ANTH
CRIM
ECON
GOVT
HIST 2
LING
PSYC
SOCI
Or choose from the following GGS courses:
Major World Regions (Mason Core)
Human Geography (Mason Core)
Introduction to Geoinformation Technologies
Political Geography (Mason Core)
Geography of Resource Conservation (Mason Core)
GGS 304
Population Geography (Mason Core)
GGS 305
Economic Geography
Urban Geography
Geography of the United States
Geography of Latin America
Geography of Europe
Geography of North Africa and the Middle East
Geography of Eastern Europe and Russia
Urban Planning
Geography of Virginia
1

The two courses used to fulfill the combined college and Mason Core requirements must be from different disciplines in the social and behavioral sciences. 

2

HIST 100 and HIST 125 may not be used to fulfill this requirement.

Foreign Language
Intermediate-level proficiency in one foreign language, fulfilled by: 1
Or achieving a satisfactory score on an approved proficiency test
Or completing the following ASL three course sequence:
EDSE 115
American Sign Language (ASL) I
EDSE 116
American Sign Language (ASL) II
EDSE 219
American Sign Language (ASL) III
1

Students who are already proficient in a second language may be eligible for a waiver of this requirement. Additional information on waivers can be found at the Office of Undergraduate Academic Affairs.

Non-Western Culture

Select 3 credits of an approved course in the study of a non-Western culture (additional to the Mason Core requirement in global understanding)

Select 3 credits (additional to Mason Core Global Understanding requirement) 1
ANTH 114 Introduction to Cultural Anthropology (Mason Core) 3
ANTH 300 Civilizations 3
ANTH 302 Peoples and Cultures of Latin America (Mason Core) 3
ANTH 307 Ancient Mesoamerica (Mason Core) 3
ANTH 308 Peoples and Cultures of the Middle East (Mason Core) 3
ANTH 309 Peoples and Cultures of India (Mason Core) 3
ANTH 313 Myth, Magic, and Mind (Mason Core) 3
ANTH 314 Zombies 3
ANTH 317 East Asian Cultures 3
ANTH 330 Peoples and Cultures of Selected Regions: Non-Western 3
ANTH 332 Cross-Cultural Perspectives on Globalization (Mason Core) 3
ANTH 381 Medical Anthropology 3
ANTH 396 Issues in Anthropology: Social Sciences (Mason Core) 3
ARAB 360 Topics in Arabic Cultural Production 3
ARAB 365 Black and Minority Cultures in Arabic Literature (Mason Core) 3
ARAB 420 Survey of Arabic Literature 3
ARAB 440 Topics in Arabic Religious Thought and Texts (Mason Core) 3
ARTH 203 Survey of Asian Art (Mason Core) 3
ARTH 204 Survey of Latin American Art (Mason Core) 3
ARTH 206 Survey of African Art (Mason Core) 3
ARTH 317 The Black Pharaohs: Art and Archaeology of Ancient Nubia (Mason Core) 3
ARTH 318 Art and Archaeology of Ancient Egypt 3
ARTH 319 Art and Archaeology of the Ancient Near East (Mason Core) 3
ARTH 320 Art of the Islamic World (Mason Core) 3
ARTH 382 Arts of India (Mason Core) 3
ARTH 383 Arts of Southeast Asia (Mason Core) 3
ARTH 384 Arts of China (Mason Core) 3
ARTH 385 Arts of Japan (Mason Core) 3
ARTH 482 RS: Advanced Studies in Asian Art (Mason Core) 3
CHIN 318 Introduction to Classical Chinese (Mason Core) 3
CHIN 320 Contemporary Chinese Film 3
CHIN 325 Major Chinese Writers (Mason Core) 3
CHIN 470 Special Topics in Chinese Studies 3
DANC 118 Global Dance Perspectives I (Mason Core) 3
ECON 361 Economic Development of Latin America (Mason Core) 3
ECON 362 African Economic Development (Mason Core) 3
FREN 454 Topics in Caribbean Francophone Literature and Culture 3
GGS 101 Major World Regions (Mason Core) 3
GGS 316 Geography of Latin America 3
GGS 317 Geography of China (Mason Core) 3
GGS 325 Geography of North Africa and the Middle East 3
GGS 399 Select Topics in GGS 3
GOVT 332 Politics of the Middle East and North Africa 3
GOVT 333 Politics of East Asia 3
GOVT 338 Politics of Eurasia 3
GOVT 340 Central Asian Politics 3
GOVT 341 Chinese Foreign Policy 3
GOVT 345 Islam and Politics 3
GOVT 433 Political Economy of East Asia 3
HIST 251 Survey of East Asian History (Mason Core) 3
HIST 252 Survey of East Asian History (Mason Core) 3
HIST 261 Survey of African History (Mason Core) 3
HIST 262 Survey of African History (Mason Core) 3
HIST 271 Survey of Latin American History (Mason Core) 3
HIST 272 Survey of Latin American History (Mason Core) 3
HIST 281 Survey of Middle Eastern Civilization (Mason Core) 3
HIST 282 Survey of Middle Eastern Civilization (Mason Core) 3
HIST 326 Stalinism 3
HIST 327 The Soviet Union and Russia Since World War II 3
HIST 328 Rise of Russia (Mason Core) 3
HIST 329 Modern Russia and the Soviet Union (Mason Core) 3
HIST 353 History of Traditional China 3
HIST 354 Modern China (Mason Core) 3
HIST 356 Modern Japan (Mason Core) 3
HIST 357 Postwar Japan (Mason Core) 3
HIST 358 Post-1949 China (Mason Core) 3
HIST 360 History of South Africa (Mason Core) 3
HIST 364 Revolution in Latin America (Mason Core) 3
HIST 365 Conquest and Colonization in Latin America (Mason Core) 3
HIST 366 Comparative Slavery 3
HIST 377 The Vietnam War (Mason Core) 3
HIST 384 Global History of Christianity (Mason Core) 3
HIST 387 Topics in Global History (Mason Core) 3-6
HIST 461 Arab-Israeli Conflict 3
HIST 462 Women in Islamic Society (Mason Core) 3
HIST 465 The Middle East in the 20th Century 3
JAPA 310 Japanese Culture in a Global World (Mason Core) 3
JAPA 340 Topics in Japanese Literature (Mason Core) 3
JAPA 380 Japan in Motion 3
KORE 300 Korean Culture and Society 3
KORE 320 Korean Popular Culture in a Global World 3
KORE 385 Introduction to Korean Linguistics 3
MUSI 103 Musics of the World (Mason Core) 3
RELI 211 Introduction to Religions of the "West" (Mason Core) 3
RELI 212 Introduction to Religions of Asia (Mason Core) 3
RELI 312 Islam (Mason Core) 3
RELI 313 Hinduism (Mason Core) 3
RELI 314 Chinese Philosophies and Religious Traditions 3
RELI 315 Buddhism (Mason Core) 3
RELI 317 Daoism 3
RELI 318 Korean Philosophy and Religions 3
RELI 338 Qur'an and Hadith 3
RELI 342 Comparative Study of Mysticism 3
RELI 344 Muhammad: Life and Legacy 3
RELI 358 Islamic Thought (Mason Core) 3
RELI 367 Islamic Law, Society, and Ethics 3
RELI 368 Islam, Democracy, and Human Rights (Mason Core) 3
RELI 384 Global History of Christianity (Mason Core) 3
RELI 490 Comparative Study of Religions (Mason Core) 3
RUSS 353 Russian Civilization (Mason Core) 3
RUSS 354 Contemporary Post-Soviet Life (Mason Core) 3
WMST 407 Transnational Sexualities 3
1

A course used to fulfill the Mason Core global understanding requirement may not be simultaneously used to satisfy this college-level requirement. A course used to fulfill this requirement may be used simultaneously to fulfill any other requirements (Mason Core requirements, college-level requirements, or requirements for the major). Additional information on waivers can be found at the Office of Undergraduate Academic Affairs.

 Mason Core

Some Mason Core requirements may already be fulfilled by the major requirements listed above. Students are strongly encouraged to consult their advisors to ensure they fulfill all remaining Mason Core requirements.

Students who have completed the following credentials are eligible for a waiver of the Foundation and Exploration (lower level) requirement categories. The Integration category (upper level) is not waived under this policy. See Admissions for more information. 

  • VCCS Uniform Certificate of General Studies
  • VCCS or Richard Bland Associate of Science (A.S.), Associate of Arts (A.A.), Associate of Arts and Sciences (A.A.&S.), or Associate of Fine Arts (A.F.A.)
Foundation Requirements
Written Communication (lower-level) 3
Oral Communication 3
Quantitative Reasoning 3
Information Technology and Computing 3
Exploration Requirements
Arts 3
Global Contexts 3
Global History 3
Literature 3
Natural Science 7
Social and Behavioral Sciences 3
Just Societies (optional) 1
Integration Requirements
Written Communication (upper-level) 3
Writing Intensive 2 3
Mason Apex 3 3
Total Credits 40
1

In addition to covering content related to the designated category, Exploration level courses marked with a Just Societies "flag" are specifically designed to help students learn how to interact effectively with others from all walks of life, including those with backgrounds and beliefs that differ from their own. Courses marked with the Just Societies flag are available for students starting in Fall 2024. Students admitted prior to the Fall of 2025 are not required to take courses with a Just Societies flag but may wish to do so to increase their knowledge and skills in this important area. Students interested in this approach to completing their Mason Core Exploration Requirements should work closely wiht their advisor to identify the appropriate Just Societies-flagged courses.

2

Most programs include the writing-intensive course designated for the major as part of the major requirements; this course is therefore not counted towards the total required for Mason Core.

3

Minimum 3 credits required.