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This online Bachelor of Science in Human Development and Family Science with a concentration in Youth Development program offers an interdisciplinary lifespan approach to the study of children, youth, and families. It encompasses specialty areas in preschool teaching, childcare, administration, youth development, family services, child life, consumer economics, human sciences teacher education and extension.

Who should pursue this degree?

This program is ideal for individuals who are interested in pursuing an online degree that will equip them with the skills and knowledge to work effectively with youth in a variety of settings, including: (1) recent high school graduates who are unable to enroll on campus, (2) professionals in the area of youth programming or youth services who desire a degree in Youth Development to maintain or enhance employment, (3) active duty military personnel, (4) law enforcement officers, and (5) individuals at a distance from the University campus that are currently employed and desire to earn a degree in HDFS with a concentration in Youth Development from MSU.

Tuition & Fees

Tuition per credit hour $419.00
Instructional Support Fee per credit hour $25.00

Tuition and fees listed are subject to change and do not include all possible charges. Additional fees may apply. Please refer to the master class schedule for individual course charges.

Program Highlights:

  • The Youth Development curriculum prepares students to understand and work effectively with children and adolescents, ages 10-18, in a variety of settings.
  • The program provides students with a comprehensive view of the needs and developmental characteristics of youths, as well as the challenges facing today's youths.
  • Emphasis is placed on understanding how youth development does not occur in isolation but is situated in, and affected by, contexts such as relationships, family, neighborhood/community, school, culture, the economy, and society.
  • Youth Development students gain valuable real-world experience through a required field experience course and an internship
  • Students are also able to develop specific areas of specialization to fit their career interest by choosing from a generous variety of focus area courses.

What are some potential careers?

The coursework for this program opens doors to many career opportunities in a variety of fields, including recreation and sports, juvenile justice, Extension (4-H and Family & Consumer Sciences), human services, out-of-school programming, military family support services, and youth ministry. Graduates enter diverse public, private, and non-profit sectors which focus on enabling youth and families to function effectively in today's complex society. The Human Development and Family Science undergraduate program has been approved by the National Council on Family Relations (NCFR) as meeting the Standards and Criteria for the Provisional Certified Family Life Educator (CFLE).


What are some potential careers?


Program Structure

Degree Requirements

To graduate with the Bachelor of Science in Human Development and Family Science with a concentration in Youth Development degree:

  • Students must complete a minimum of 124 hours
    • Up to 62 hours may be transferred from an accredited community college
    • Students will take a total of 33 hours in General Education courses
    • Students will take a total of 29 hours in major core courses
    • Students will take at least 62 in the Youth Development concentration
  • Students must have a GPA of 2.0 on all college work prior to entering the major.
  • A grade of C or better must be earned in all HS and HDFS courses.
  • Students must have a grade point average of 2.0 to graduate.

Program Information

Core Curriculum

All students who enter MSU must meet the common core curriculum requirements as set by the Board of Trustees, Institutions of Higher Learning of the State of Mississippi to qualify for any bachelor's degree.

  • English Composition (6 hours)
  • Mathematics (3 hours)
  • Fine Arts (3 hours)
  • Natural Sciences (9 hours)
  • Humanities (6 hours)
  • Social and Behavioral Sciences (6 hours)
    • 3 hours must be HDFS 1813 for all HDFS students

Major Required Courses:

Course Number Course Title Hours
HS 1701 Survey of Human Sciences 1
HDFS 2813 Child Development 3
HDFS 3303 Family Resource Management 3
HDFS 4333 Families, Legislation and Public Policy 3
HDFS 4424 Teaching Methods in Agricultural and Human Sciences 4
HDFS 4701 Internship Placement 1
HDFS 4702 Research and Application in Human Sciences 2
HDFS 4803 Parenting 3
HDFS 4843 Family Interaction 3
HDFS 4883 Risk, Resilience and Preventive Interventions 3
AELC 3203 or EDF 3413 or EPY 3513 or MGT 3213 Writing competency requirement 3
Total Hours: 29

Youth Development Concentration Courses

Course Number Course Title Hours
HDFS 3000 Field Experience 3
HDFS 3813 Lifespan Theory 3
HDFS 4780 Youth Development Internship 12
HDFS 4873 Positive Youth Development 3
HDFS 4893 Adolescent Development 3

PSY 4223 or

SW 4533

Drug Use and Abuse or

Substance Abuse & Addictions


CO 1003 or

CO 1013

Fundamentals of Public Speaking or

Introduction to Communication

Restricted Electives

Choose three of the following:

AELC 4403 Development of Youth Programs

PSY 3413 Human Sexual Behavior

EDX 3213 Psy & Ed of Exc Child & Youth

COE 4013 Facilitative Skills Dev

EPY 3543 Psychology of Adolescence

Focus Area Courses

Choose 15 hours from the following:

HDFS 2023* Trauma-Informed Practice Certificate Course

HDFS 2123* Perspectives on Child Maltreatment

HDFS 3123* Global Child Advocacy Issues

HDFS 3833 Human Dev. in the Context of Leisure & Rec.

HDFS 3673 Environments for Special Needs

EDX 4423 Teaching the Disadvantaged Child

EPY 3503 Principles of Educational Psychology

EPY 3553 Giftedness/Creativity

SO 4233 Juvenile Delinquency

SO 3313 Deviant Behavior

SO 3503 Violence in the U.S.

SO 3603 Criminology

SO 4333 Sociology of Sport

SO 3213 Intro to Social Research

SO 2203 Cultural and Racial Minorities

PE 3033 Basketball/Football Officiating

PE 3133 Adaptive Physical Education

PE 3533 Coaching Sports

Kl 2213 Emergency Healthcare

PE 3433 General Safety Methods

MGT 3213 Organizational Communications

MGT 3113 Prin of Mgt

MGT 3513 Intro to Human Res Mgt

MGT 38 I3 Organizational Behavior

MGT 4563 Staffing in Organizations

MKT 3013 Principles in Marketing

MKT 3213 Retailing

MKT 4113 Personal Selling

MKT4123 Advertising

*Meets Requirements for Trauma Informed Child Advocacy Certificate


Free Electives   8
Total Hours   62

Admissions Process

New Admissions

If you have never attended Mississippi State University, please complete the online Undergraduate Admissions Application.

  • You will choose Human Development and Family Sci/ Child Development (BS) as your major and Youth Development as your concentration and Online Education as your campus.
  • Request that official ACT or SAT scores be sent to MSU.
  • Request that your high school send your official transcript. Faxed transcripts will not be accepted.
  • Submit a separate official final transcript from each college or university attended; faxed transcripts will not be accepted. An applicant may not ignore previous college attendance and must list all colleges attended on the application for admission. You must be in good standing at the last college or university attended.
  • If you are unable to submit official transcripts and other documentation electronically, you may send them via U.S. Postal Service to:
    Office of Admissions & Scholarships
    P.O. Box 6334
    Mississippi State, MS 39762-5507
  • All new admits will pay a non-refundable application fee online.


HS 1701 Survey of Human Sciences: 1 hour.
One hour lecture. Introduction to the field of Human Sciences through a study of its history and the variety of professional careers available.

HDFS 2813 Child Development: 3 hours
. (Prerequisite: HDFS 1813 or consent of instructor). Two hours lecture. Two hours laboratory. Developmental characteristics of children with emphasis on the early years; implications for care and guidance.

HDFS 1813 Individual and Family Development through the Lifespan: 3 hours.
Three hours lecture. Introduction to individual and family development through the lifespan, conception to death, focusing on social and emotional development, contextual influences on development, and application.

HDFS 2023 Trauma Informed Practice: 3 hours.
Three hours lecture. This course prepares students to recognize signs of trauma and apply trauma-informed practices when working with children and families. The course is designed for students majoring in HDFS, psychology, and other disciplines where knowledge of the impact of trauma on children and families is pertinent.

HDFS 2123 Perspectives on Child Maltreatment and Child Advocacy: 3 hours.
Three hours lecture. This course is the introductory course for child advocacy studies. This course covers the history, comparative perspectives, legal framework, reporting, identification and effects of child maltreatment and professional/community responses to child maltreatment.

HDFS 3000 Field Experience: 3 hours.
(Prerequisite: Consent of Instructor). Supervised field experience for Human Development and Family Science students in approved settings; pre-internship learning experience.

HDFS 3813 Lifespan Theory: 3 hours.
(Prerequisites: HDFS 2813 or HDFS 1813). Three hours lecture.An intensified exploration of human development theory, research and methodology used in the study of individuals across the lifespan.

HDFS 4313 Family Resource Management: 3 hours.Three hours lecture.
Decision-making in the family and operation of the household as affected by family values, philosophies, resources, and socio-economic conditions.

HDFS 4333 Families, Legislation and Public Policy: 3 hours.
(Prerequisite: Junior/senior writing or consent of instructor). Three hours lecture. An examination of the impact of legislation and public policy on the well-being of the family with emphasis on policy and family change

HDFS 4424 Teaching Methods in Agricultural and Human Sciences: 4 hours.
(Prerequisite: College of Ag and Life Science major and junior standing). Three hours lecture. Two hours laboratory. Planning instruction; selection teaching techniques; developing teaching plans; teaching agricultural/human science topics; using instructional technologies; and evaluating learner progress (Same as HS 4424/6424).

HDFS 4701 Internship Placement: 1 hour.
(Prerequisite: Junior standing and consent of instructor). One hour lecture. Preparation for an internship in a chosen specialization.

HS 4702 Research and Application in Human Sciences: 2 hours.
(Prerequisite: Senior standing in FDM or HDFS). Two hours lecture. Focus on conducting original research to integrate fundamental Human Sciences principles. Emphasis on professional development and effectiveness in Human Sciences professions. (Same as FDM 4702 and HDFS 4702).

HDFS 4780 Youth Development Internship: 12 hours.
(Prerequisite: Successful completion of all academic coursework and consent of instructor.) Individual work experience in an approved youth development setting under supervision of Mississippi State University faculty.

HDFS 4873 Positive Youth Development: 3 hours.
(Prerequisite: HDFS 1813 and junior/senior writing class or consent of instructor). Three hours lecture. Examines theoretical and empirical foundations of the growing field of Positive Youth Development; examines school and community-based programs that foster PYD.

HDFS 4893 Adolescent Development: 3 hours.
(Prerequisite: Junior/Senior/Graduate student status; or consent of instructor). Theory and research relevant to understanding the developmental processes and changes of adolescence from a contextual and systemic perspective.

HDFS 4803 Parenting: 3 hours.
(Prerequisite: HDFS 1813 and junior/senior writing, or consent of instructor). Three hours lecture. Study of the child as a part of the family in a dynamic human ecological system.

HDFS 4843 Family Interaction: 3 hours.
Three hours lecture. Interaction within functional families; focus on the family as a system, on diversity and roles, and on effective interactions.

HDFS 4883 Risk, Resilience and Preventive Interventions: 3 hours.
(Prerequisite: HDFS 1813 and junior/senior writing; or consent of instructor). Three hours lecture. Theory and research relevant to understanding risk and resilience in human development and family studies application of risk/resilience framework to individual and family preventive interventions.

*For non-HDFS and HS course descriptions, please see the MSU undergraduate catalog

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Academic Advising

After gaining admission to the university, you must contact one of your advisors to determine the courses that are most appropriate for you to take. Approximately two months prior to the upcoming semester, your advisor will send an email to your MSU email account, making course recommendations based on your program of study.

Mississippi State University uses email as its official means of communication with all MSU students. Please check your MSU email account ( daily. Information on setting up your MSU email can be found at the link for student services.

Tommy Phillips Headshot

Dr. Tommy Phillips

Human Development and Family Science

  • Associate Professor

Program Reminders

  • If you want to deviate from the program of study recommended for you, check with your advisor
  • If you take courses not on your recommended program of study, there is a risk that the classes will not count toward your BS degree
  • You must get a grade of "C" in all classes required in the History Major Core

All programs of study are subject to review by the Registrar's Office for graduation, even from a signed program of study. Courses that do not equal MSU courses exactly may or may not apply to your program as core courses. You can see these course translations through the CAPP report found at To access the report, log into your myState account and click on the "hamburger" icon in the top left corner in order to access the Banner tab; click or hover over the myBanner for Students tab in order to view the Academic Records column where you can click on the CAPP Compliances link.

Contact Information

Photo of Mindy Wolfe

Mindy Wolfe

Enrollment & Onboarding Coach

  • General Program Questions
  • Assistance with Admissions Process & Requirements
Headshot of Mark Jimerson

Mark Jimerson

Retention & Engagement Coach

  • Current Student Inquires
  • Academic & Support Services Assistance
Tommy Phillips

Dr. Tommy Phillips

Human Development and Family Science

  • Associate Professor