Minor in Human Development and Family Science (CHSS)

Enhance your college experience with this 15-credit minor! Undergraduates at George Mason University have the option to declare a minor in Human Development & Family Science (HDFS)

This highly relevant and contemporary minor is a 15-credit interdisciplinary program designed especially for students who are interested in how individuals develop and how to improve the quality of life for families and communities. You’ll explore the psychological, social, cultural, and biological development of individuals from conception through adulthood and aging, within the contexts of their families, communities, and the broader society.

The minor is an excellent complement to many majors at Mason. And, because it is offered as a collaboration between the College of Education and Human Development (CEHD) and the College of Humanities and Social Sciences (CHSS), you’ll have the opportunity to learn from outstanding faculty from both colleges who are dedicated to teaching and involved in cutting-edge research.

Career Connections

Over the next decade, social and human service jobs are expected to rank among the most rapidly growing fields! By minoring in HDFS, you’ll gain background knowledge applicable to a wide range of career settings, such as the following:

  • social service and mental health agencies
  • government and nonprofit agencies
  • public welfare groups and family and community service agencies
  • early childhood care and education, youth organizations, and schools
  • healthcare centers, hospitals, senior centers, and long-term care facilities
  • juvenile and adult corrections
  • family policy advocacy groups

The multifaceted nature of this minor means you’ll gain a fuller understanding of the factors that influence human development and activity and will be better prepared to succeed in an increasingly diverse and complex society.

The HDFS minor is also an excellent foundation for graduate study in family studies, family therapy, law, psychology, sociology, social work, health, human resources, and related fields.

Academic Overview

This 15-credit interdisciplinary minor is available to all Mason undergraduate students and provides background knowledge in human development and family science, specifically addressing how children and adults develop within the contexts of their families, communities and society. Eight credits must be unique to the minor.

  • In addition to the core courses, students complete three courses, at least one from each component area (development and diversity). To reflect the interdisciplinary nature of the HDFS minor, two courses must have prefixes from disciplines outside of your major area of study (e.g., for PSYC majors, two courses must come from CEHD prefixes: ATEP, ECED, EDUC, HEAL, PHED; for ECED majors, two courses must come from CHSS prefixes: ANTH, NCLC, PSYC, SOCI).
  • At least eight of the credits must be applied only to this minor and may not be used to fulfill requirements for a major, concentration, an undergraduate certificate, or another minor.
  • At least six credits in the minor must be completed at George Mason University
    Students must achieve a minimum 2.00 GPA in courses applied to the minor.

The Human Development and Family Science Minor is a joint program with coursework selected from both the College of Education and Human Development (CEHD) and the College of Humanities and Social Sciences (CHSS).

Students may elect a minor program of study by submitting a completed Minor Declaration Undergraduate Form (http://registrar.gmu.edu/forms).


All students have opportunities to

  • conduct independent research
  • engage in globally-related activities through coursework and language study at Mason and abroad
  • participate in many forms of public service
  • prepare for their future careers through internships, career-focused minors and other college-to-career activities


Childhood Family Aging Psychology