10 Best Online Colleges with Online Degrees in Human & Family Development

Written by College Cliffs Team At, our team, comprising seasoned educators and counselors, is committed to supporting students on their journey through graduate studies. Our advisors, holding advanced degrees in diverse fields, provide tailored guidance, current program details, and pragmatic tips on navigating application procedures.

Reviewed by Linda Weems I got started researching colleges and universities about 10 years ago while exploring a second career. While my second career ended up being exactly what I’m doing now, and I didn’t end up going to college, I try to put myself in your shoes every step of the way as I build out College Cliffs as a user-friendly resource for prospective students.

Updated: February 9, 2024, Reading time: 22 minutes

Find your perfect college degree

College Cliffs is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

Cultural or interpersonal backgrounds somehow explain how people think, behave, or grow or break relationships. As society evolves, the modern way of living, as well as family structures, change. The rise of social issues such as child abuse, drug addiction, poverty, and discrimination profoundly impacts individuals and families.

Online Degrees in Human & Family Development - fact

With an online Bachelor’s in Human and Family Development, you can help people understand life better as they navigate the challenges. You dissect and tackle such issues to create better dynamics among humans and their families.

The Lowdown

The Bachelor’s in Human Development and Family Studies involves a lot of research and data analysis. Reading scholarly reports will give you a better understanding of social scientists’ quantitative and qualitative methods. Toward the end of your program, you may also have a big research paper or project due or partake in study abroad or internship opportunities. Many colleges prepare graduates for industry certifications.


By enrolling in top-notch Human & Family Development undergraduate programs, you’ll be ready to take on diverse roles in the field! Our list comprises the country’s top online Bachelor’s in Human & Family Development, each of which was selected with these attributes in mind:

Check out our Methodology page for more information on how we rank online programs.

College Cliffs is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

Best Online Undergraduate Degrees in Human & Family Development

Oregon State University

Oregon State University Ecampus

(Online) Bachelor of Science in Human Development & Family Sciences

Oregon State University offers the online BS in Human Development and Family Sciences program. This online degree program offers students the opportunity to acquire current knowledge, practice practical skills, and gain hands-on knowledge to help them succeed in fields that help solidify families. This program’s faculty is dedicated to promoting human dignity, social justice, and empowerment through ethical practices.

Join a rewarding career that helps families, individuals, and communities thrive. This online degree examines the processes of individual development and resilience over time. A major in HDFS promotes social justice and human dignity by recognizing and honoring the experiences of people and families from diverse backgrounds.

What Makes This Program Unique:

OSU’s top-notch faculty create all classes, contributing their expertise and research to the curriculum. Oregon State Ecampus has been among the nation’s best online education providers. Students studying on OSU’s Ecampus receive the same diploma as traditional in-person learners.

Did You Know?

The OSU Ecampus student community offers resources, including library services, academic advising, free online tutoring, and career guidance, to make your online learning experience rewarding. The Career Development Center at Oregon State will also assist you with finding meaningful employment in a diverse job market and lifelong career success.

Penn State World Campus

PennState World Campus

Bachelor of Science in Human Development & Family Studies Online

Discover Penn State World Campus’ online Bachelor of Science in Human Development and Family Studies. In this online degree, students explore the processes that lead to the development of an individual from birth to old age. Students of the program also tackle how families and communities influence lives. This online bachelor of science degree online will include hands-on coursework.

As you progress with the program, you will learn to assess interventions that aim to improve people’s lives. If you want to achieve your career goals while enhancing the health and well-being of communities and individuals, this degree program is right for you. It is ideal for those just starting in the field or wanting to pursue a bachelor’s degree after earning their associate degree. 

What Makes This Program Unique:

Develop new models for preventing and treating social, emotional, and behavioral problems or advocate for new social policies and programs through this online program at Penn State. While studying human development across the lifespan and family and community influences on development, you will gain an understanding of a variety of human services and diverse populations. In families, schools, communities, and work, you can observe how people change based on their surroundings. 

Did You Know?

Obtaining an online degree in Human Development & Family Studies does not replace experience working with real people in the field. Online students at community-based human service organizations complete internships. Building professional networks, establishing references, and reflecting on your classroom learning will all be enhanced by real-world experience—these are offered in this online program at Penn State.

Colorado State University

Colorado State University - Online

Online Bachelor of Science in Human Development and Family Studies

No matter what stage of your education, whether you are a first-time or a transfer student, it’s wise to consider Colorado State University’s Bachelor’s Degree in Human Development & Family Studies online. This highly customizable program can help you reach your career and educational goals. In this course, you will learn about how people develop and change throughout their lives and how families, communities, and society play a role in it.

Among the concentrations you can consider along with this degree are the following:

The degree provides a broad knowledge foundation through research and insight from several disciplines. You can apply your skills in human services by understanding key concepts discussed in your core family studies courses. 

What Makes This Program Unique:

With an optional Gerontology minor, you can learn more about the biological, psychological, and social facets of adult growth and aging. As a part of this degree program, you can also decide to pursue Director Qualifications for early care centers. If you choose this route, you will consult your adviser to choose electives to help you fulfill state requirements and prepare you to apply for early childhood education credentials once the curriculum is finished.

Did You Know?

One option after graduation is to get a Certified Family Life Educator certification. This role allows you to concentrate on healthy family functioning. You will have to apply preventative approaches to resolve societal concerns in families. 

Arizona State University

Arizona State University - Online

Online Bachelor of Science in Family and Human Development

You can provide key human services to those most in need by studying human development and family studies. When it comes to Arizona State University’s Bachelor of Science in Family & Human Development program, you will gain theoretical and practical knowledge to promote healthy family relationships and human development. Completely online, this degree also looks at marriage, cultural diversity, and family ties. Their courses strongly emphasize the individual and family health of kids, teens, and adults.

Human Development and Family Studies focus on people’s and families’ social, physical, emotional, and cognitive growth throughout their lifetimes. The field focuses on comprehending human development and societal problems that people face within the setting of families. These problems are addressed by experts in the field, who then put into practice fixes that enhance child development and family ties.

What Makes This Program Unique:

The bachelor’s in family and human development offered online by ASU combines a standard, all-encompassing liberal arts curriculum with a concentration on the theory and application of family and human development. This implies that you can acquire skills and knowledge useful for your personal life and a broad range of jobs and career options.

Did You Know?

You will learn about human development and family dynamics through program coursework, as well as relevant skills in writing, multicultural awareness, interpersonal communication, and statistics. Thanks to the large selection of electives available, online learners can tailor their educational experience to fit their personal and professional goals.

Maryville University

Maryville University

Online Bachelor of Science in Human and Family Development

Maryville University offers the online Bachelor of Arts in Human Development & Family Studies degree, which is a realistic degree that’s fit to address societal issues among people and their relationships. Throughout the lifespan and in the broader world, this online degree examines how people, families, and environments develop physically, mentally, and socially.

This online degree is the best fit if you are passionate about helping others and getting into human services. Throughout the course, you will explore the connections between individuals, families, and social institutions, such as education, government, religion, healthcare, and occupations. This program can also explore establishing and maintaining interpersonal relationships in a family. 

What Makes This Program Unique:

The complexity of family relations and the human experience, their circumstances and the factors that affect them are the main topics of this adaptable undergraduate curriculum. Get ready to utilize opportunities for service learning, advocacy work, fieldwork, and an immersive senior research project to put theory into reality. This comes with exciting learning opportunities for enthusiastic learners.

Did You Know?

At Maryville University, you can become part of a virtual community of family studies and human development professionals. You will have the chance to study children’s special needs and prepare for professional certification focusing on child life specialists, which is an optional option.

University of Colorado

University of Colorado - Online

Online Bachelor of Science in Human Development & Family Relations

People want more than just a job when it comes to a career. If your calling is related to human services, it’s best to pave your career at the University of Colorado. Suppose you’re seeking a degree that will allow you to put your desire to aid various people, families, and communities to use and your critical thinking abilities.

An online Bachelor of Science in Human Development & Family Relations at the University of Colorado will fit your bill. Through this fully online program, your training will prepare you to work with culturally diverse families and individuals.

The curriculum is based on the idea that faculty support for their students’ academic and personal growth is essential to their success. The University of Colorado cultivates a close-knit, committed group of students, each guided by supportive professors. They support you every step of the way, including invaluable experiences like working together on undergraduate research projects and service-learning initiatives. Essentially, they walk with you from your first class to your last.

What Makes This Program Unique:

You can discover a community in the HDFR program whether you are entering college for the first time, transferring from another school, or coming back to school after a long absence. They emphasize gaining valuable experience at home and abroad as a major focus of this online program. They place a strong emphasis on hands-on learning in both their online and in-person programs. Through their study abroad programs, they assist students in locating service-learning locations that enable them to work with various communities in various settings. 

Did You Know?

A bilingual Human Development and Family Relations program (Spanish) is available for the first time in the country, thanks to the University of Colorado offering it. You’re encouraged to take some courses bilingually in Spanish and English, in order to learn additional language.

Unlike other bilingual courses, these are uniquely designed so you don’t need to speak Spanish to participate. This exposure to a different language can provide you the skills you need to effectively advocate for Spanish-speaking members of your community as well as a competitive edge over other program grads when it comes to applications for graduate school and gainful employment.

Utah State University

Utah State University - Online

Online Bachelor of Science in Human Development and Family Studies

Utah State University offers a Bachelor’s Degree in Human Development and Family Studies program online. After graduation, online students can enter into different career sectors like counseling, education, social work, mental health, early childhood care, research, community education, and human service settings. Their courses emphasize the contemporary domestic and international problems that affect families and people of all ages.

In order to improve the standard of living for people and families, students collaborate with internationally renowned experts on significant research projects that can advance society’s understanding of human development and family dynamics. A practicum experience is a requirement that gives students real-world job experience outside of the classroom.

What Makes This Program Unique:

Online students can choose from a variety of remote practicum opportunities. High-caliber individuals with HDFS degrees are employed all across the state and the country. Additionally, students are well-equipped for graduate school.

Did You Know?

A broad group of academics with subject-matter knowledge in family interactions and human development in a range of situations may be found in the Department of Human Development and Family Studies. At the undergraduate and graduate levels of education, you are expected to have thorough training that will equip you with invaluable skills.

Texas Tech University

Texas Tech University - College of Human Sciences

Online Bachelor of Science in Human Sciences

Texas Tech University’s online Bachelor of Science in Human Sciences allows you to balance independence with structure. You can combine courses from other departments while earning an interdisciplinary bachelor’s degree, and you can take some or all of your classes online. You can speed up the process by using transfer credits from other authorized universities.

The same marketable, career-focused degree that their on-campus students receive will be awarded to you upon graduation. The student support staff at Texas Tech will collaborate with you at every stage to help you create a unique curriculum that is centered on your interests and supports your professional goals.

What Makes This Program Unique:

Your ability to think independently and come up with original solutions can soar with the help of this challenging, multidisciplinary human sciences degree from Texas Tech University. You will develop abilities that are immediately useful in many different areas while getting ready to shift swiftly in response to societal, technical, and economic developments. In collaboration with you, their academic advisors will create a solid academic plan that builds on the credits you’ve already earned from recognized two-year and four-year institutions.

Did You Know?

The online human sciences degree demonstrates your capacity to combine lessons from several academic disciplines while honing abilities in critical thinking, writing, and research.

American Public University

American Public University

Online Bachelor of Science in Human Development and Family Studies

Experience human development and understand the concept of family studies with APU’s online Bachelor of Arts in Human Development and Family Studies degree. People’s interactions with their environment and how they impact others are examined in this study. 

Some courses to expect from this online degree are the following:

In this online degree, there are practical exercises that let you put your knowledge into practice. As part of their activities, you will get a chance to interview seniors about aging, create a parenting class brochure and presentation, and develop a lesson plan for preschool.

What Makes This Program Unique:

In this online degree, you’ll study family and human development terms, methods, and strategies. You’ll be exposed to the latest trends, viewpoints, and controversies in this field. In addition, you’ll learn how to promote healthy development in the family system and across the lifespan. Finally, you’re asked to do practical assignments to help you succeed in your career.

Did You Know?

Particular states and professional associations may demand extra practical training, internships, or site visits that are not offered by our university. You are responsible for learning about all licensing and certification requirements from the certification organization or from the state where you intend to seek work.

Kansas State University

Kansas State University - Online

Online Bachelor of Science in Human Development and Family Science

An online Human Development and Family Science Bachelor’s Degree is offered at Kansas State University. This online program is designed to help you develop a thorough understanding of relationships among families and people. 

By choosing a minor, certificate, area of specialization, or internship, you can customize the degree to meet your professional aspirations. After graduation, you will be well prepared to enhance individual and family well-being on a psychosocial, relational, and socio-emotional level.

What Makes This Program Unique:

Graduate or professional school can be accessed through this program. You will learn how to put programs and services that are meant to improve and strengthen family and individual well-being into action. After graduation, you can explore many job opportunities in the field of human services, student affairs, and healthcare.

Did You Know?

The online resources provided by K-State can help you go through your online journey. Learn how to transfer credits and how to maximize learning opportunities. You can also check and choose which majors or minors to go for. 

Where Human and Family Development Graduates Work

Families and Disabilities

Recent US Census Bureau data show approximately 42.5 million Americans living with disabilities, making up 13% of the civil noninstitutionalized population. Individuals can pursue the family life education field, or analyze the lives of people with disabilities and their families. An educational institution, a communal housing organization, or an intervention and support group for children, adolescents, adults, or families may employ graduates. 


Strong quantitative students might want to think about a career in research. There are many research firms and universities that are working on research that is in need of additional researchers. The job market for researchers is strong. After graduating from college, you may be able to find an entry-level job supporting a research project if you worked on a research project as an undergraduate. 

Public Law and Policy

For graduates considering graduate school or a career in public administration, law, or policy analysis, there are many stable jobs and promising roles in this sector.

Early Childhood Education

There are several alternatives if you’re interested in a career in education or teaching. Children’s centers, youth services, and early childhood development facilities employ Human Development and Family Studies majors to oversee projects pertaining to infant and toddler development. You also have the option to work in the special education field. 

Counseling and Social Work

There are numerous careers in the fields of social work, counseling, and psychology pertaining to adolescent development or adult development if you are interested in pursuing this route. An online bachelor’s degree in Human and Family Development offers excellent preparation for graduate degrees in these fields. You can start applying for internships or part-time work to get a feel of the work environment and settings.

Public Health

If you have a passion to heal and assist people with their health, you can explore the public health sector. This is a great pathway for those who have graduate and professional degrees in the field of health.


Individuals with great people skills are needed by businesses. Students in the Family and Human Development program are taught how to communicate, listen, comprehend group dynamics, and cooperate with others. These competencies are crucial for business. Graduates of a Family Studies program and Human Development degree will have the option of pursuing jobs in public relations, training, and development. 

Reasons to Pursue an Online Bachelor’s in Human and Family Development Degree

Hands-On Learning

One good thing about the human and family development degree is that it offers hands-on learning. They include a placement for an internship, practicum possibilities, and jobs in research, teaching, and advising. Some programs come with research labs that advance scientific understanding and allow you to perform actual hands-on practice. 

Diverse and Numerous Career Pathways

Students who earn a human development and family studies degree can pursue a wide range of careers that will prepare them to work in a variety of settings. Depending on your talents and skills, you can work for nonprofits, family interventions, community-based social services, educational institutions, prevention centers, and counseling firms. Furthermore, HDFS prepares students well for doctoral studies.

Wide Community Network

No matter what university or online program you join, they will be there to assist you in making the most of every chance to build your CV and knowledge from the beginning to the end of your educational journey. They have interconnected communities online that are free to join. Some offer peer mentorship programs to help you meet peers who have experienced similar struggles adjusting to college life.

Faculty Connections

Students at HDFS engage closely with both their academic advisor and their designated faculty advisor as part of the school’s two-pronged approach to advising. Students frequently get the chance to speak with teachers from HDFS throughout their stay in the program to organize their coursework, look into possible careers, and make plans for life after graduation.

Study Abroad Opportunities

A human and development program recognizes that you will be working with individuals from around the world no matter where you work, so there will be designated summer study abroad opportunities offered optionally if you’re interested.

Professional Development Support

From the beginning of the program until graduation, online human and family development programs usually offer guidance and support related to career exploration and development. This professional development support would help students with their endeavors in their online learning and professional journey after. 

Improved Relational Abilities

Adults should be encouraged to build skills that allow them to live lives they value rather than viewing success or happiness solely in terms of money. Hence, studies of human growth are crucial. By enrolling in human development and family studies, you’ll gain improved relational abilities aside from the skill sets you’ll earn to perform tasks and duties in this field. 

Opportunities for Higher Studies

A combined Bachelor’s and Master’s degree program can be obtained through HDFS accelerated programs. By combining graduate coursework with their Bachelor’s degree requirements, students can complete both degrees at the same time, reducing the time and cost of completing a Master’s degree.

Online Bachelor’s in Human and Family Development Common Courses

Infant and Child Development

The Infant And Child Development course discusses newborns and children’s growth and development. As a result of students’ observations and analysis, they gain insight into the relationships and mental health of the children and the effects of their environment on them.

Families at Risk

A contemporary family is challenged by multiple factors which this course will fully discuss and explore. All kinds of issues that can influence families will be studied in this course. It is important to understand the underlying causes of healthy or dysfunctional families. Students will learn how to manage the strain that these difficulties bring on their families as well as how they can adapt, foster resilience, and succeed despite these challenges. 

Human Development

Human development across the lifespan is the focus of this course. This human development course covers the sociological, demographic, and physiological factors that influence the performance of families or individuals. 

Intimate Relationships

This course examines the intriguing, complex realm of intimate relationships from both theoretical and empirical angles. This course will examine intimate relationships from a variety of perspectives, including cultural, biological, social, and developmental ones. 

Adulthood and Aging

During adulthood, humans undergo psychological changes. They study how learning, memory, and intelligence evolve as a result of biological and social forces.

Exploring Teaching

This course is best suited to those who are planning to take the educational career route. The exploring teaching course is designed to provide an introduction to teaching skills. This course also includes an on-site seminar to analyze and evaluate the best teaching methods and strategies.

Family Dynamics

This course explores the challenges faced by family systems. Couples, communication, marriage, divorce, and parenting are among the most common family facets explored in discussions.

Human Sexuality

In this course, both instructors and learners will examine human sexuality and gender across the lifespan. They will also cover influential factors such as culture, biology, upbringing, and psychology. Finally, through this course, students will gain a better understanding of how to handle sexual issues both professionally and personally.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is an online Bachelor’s in Human and Family Development Studies a good major to pursue?

Many undergraduate students choose to major in human development and family studies. In this fast-paced world, many families are struggling to maintain relationships. In order to retain the values and culture of what upholds a family, graduates of human and family development become experts in the field that can guide people.

You could start a career in helping others by taking courses in this field. This degree offers a wide range of career opportunities. Taking care of children, seniors, or families in need may be part of your job duties. Related careers include those in education, counseling, and administration.

What can Bachelor’s in Human and Family Development degree holders expect after graduation?

Graduates with a bachelor’s degree in human and family development can find employment in a variety of industries. While some jobs in these industries might need further training or certification, you can at least land entry-level job positions in the field of child care, social work, counseling, or nonprofits.

Further, graduates have the option of pursuing higher education, which may result in clinical roles and certification or licensure. For instance, you can proceed to an education degree and apply for licensure to teach. 

How long does an online Bachelor’s in Human and Family Development program usually take?

Typically, colleges with conventional 16-week terms claim that it takes 4 years to complete a bachelor’s degree in human and family development. Those estimates are only applicable to full-time students. It usually takes more time to study part-time. The length of time for online programs varies from program to program. Classes may run around 8 weeks each, back-to-back throughout the entire program.

A bachelor’s degree can be earned in as little as 3.5 years at this pace. You must also factor in the transfer credits in order to shorten your program and finish faster.

Summary Points

Additional Information: