About HDFS

Welcome to the Department of Human Development and Family Science (HDFS) at the University of Missouri. The University of Missouri is a comprehensive research-intensive land-grant university and the first public university established west of the Mississippi River. We are proud of the long and storied traditions at Mizzou, and our department is a strong entity within the university and the College of Human Environmental Sciences.

As human beings, we learn and develop throughout the lifespan, and we do so through interactions with family members, teachers, schools, peers, social media, and romantic partners. The recognition of this lifetime of growth embedded in social interactions is what defines HDFS as a field, and what drives our faculty and students to better understand human development and family functioning. Faculty in HDFS at MU conduct basic and applied research with a commitment to understanding family functioning, interpersonal relationships, and lifespan human development across a variety of contexts. Our commitment to individual and family diversity in research, teaching, and service is a hallmark of our department.

HDFS offers undergraduate and graduate students hands-on training in research, teaching, and service. We offer several undergraduate and graduate degree options, both on campus and online, that can lead to careers in research, college or university teaching, industry, government agencies, or to administrative positions in public and private institutions. For example, we have undergraduate child life specialist alumni working with children in hospital and healthcare settings; we have families and lifespan development alums working in nonprofit community organizations; we have child development and education alums working with young children in a variety of educational settings; and our PhD program consistently graduates faculty members to positions at Doctoral/Research Extensive Universities across the US. We are extremely proud of our alumni and invite you to join our list.

The success of our degree programs stems from our nationally-recognized faculty, who conduct cutting-edge research in areas that further our understanding of individual, family, interpersonal, and cultural processes. Consistent with the mission of a land-grant University and the College of HES, our research and teaching are put into practice in many ways, including in our Child Development Laboratory and at our Center for Family Policy and Research, which offer faculty and students opportunities to work on grant-funded research and intervention projects that directly serve children, families, and communities in Missouri. Our students excel in outstanding internship opportunities, both here in Columbia and across the state and nation.

These are some of the highlights of the accomplishments and features that make our department excellent. We invite you to contact us directly with questions and explore our website to learn more about our faculty, students, and programs. We are confident that a visit to our department and university will confirm your expectations of high quality undergraduate and graduate education and training.

signature of Chris Proulx

Chris Proulx, PhD
Associate Professor and Interim Department Chair