Human Development and Family Studies Student Handbook

Department of Family and Consumer Sciences
College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources
University of Hawai`i at Mānoa, Honolulu, HI

Updated 06/30/2022 


Welcome | The Program | Program Entrance Requirements | Degree Requirements | Registration | Required Courses | Support Courses | Student Conduct Expectations | Helpful Reminders | Internship | Capstone Portfolio Development | Graduate Education | Planning to Work in Early Education Settings | Master’s of Education in Early Childhood Education | Provisional Certified Family Life Educator (CFLE) Curriculum | Concentration in Gerontology | Student Organizations | Useful Websites | Student Academic Support Services | Course Descriptions





Welcome to the Department of Family and Consumer Sciences (FCS). We are pleased you are considering or have chosen Human Development and Family Studies (HDFS) as your major.

This Student’s Guide to Human Development and Family Studies provides you with a general overview of the program and its degree requirements. Please consult with an academic advisor about program admission requirements, transfer, appropriate course sequencing, graduation requirements, and other academic information. 

The HDFS program has two active student organizations, Friends of the Family and Phi Upsilon Omicron. We encourage you to join, as being a member of these organizations can help you to learn more about professional opportunities, gain leadership and collaboration skills, and network with professionals in the community.

We wish you the best in your college career and beyond.


Barbara Yee, Ph.D.
Professor and Chair


Human Development and Family Studies Program

Human Development and Family Studies (HDFS), formerly known as Family Resources (FamR), is a Bachelor’s of Science degree program that provides students with a comprehensive, ecological systems-based program of study in human development, family development, and family resource management. The HDFS curriculum provides students with a multitude of experiences through their coursework and off-campus activities to give them the knowledge and skills needed for careers in family/human services. The curriculum encompasses study of:

  • Changing needs, dynamics, and challenges families experience over time
  • Management of human, material, financial, and community resources to meet these needs
  • Growth and development of individuals over the human life cycle
  • Interrelationships of individuals, families, and communities in the context of diverse socio-economic and cultural systems.

HDFS graduates are prepared for bachelor’s level positions in:

  • Family service agencies
  • Family life education programs
  • Parenting education programs
  • Children/youth programs
  • Gerontology programs
  • Child care/early childhood education centers
  • Consumer affairs/consumer relations

HDFS graduates have successful careers and are contributing significantly to the improvement of the quality of individual and family life through their work and leadership in human services, education, business, and government, both in Hawai‘i and abroad.


HDFS Program Entrance Requirements

New students who apply to the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa (UHM) as first-year students may apply directly to the program by specifying Human Development and Family Studies (HDFS) as their major on their application form.  Students transferring from another institution who have a cumulative grade point average (GPA) of 2.0 or better may apply directly to the program by specifying Human Development and Family Studies (HDFS) as their major on their application form. Please visit the Office of Admissions website for details about applying.

Students who have taken courses at another university or community college outside of the University of Hawai`i system must arrange to have their official transcripts sent to the UH Mānoa Admissions Office for evaluation of transfer credits. Courses not meeting the university core requirements, but are acceptable academically, will be transferred and counted as elective credits. Check online to the “Transfer of Credits” website within the UH Admissions office to see how your courses transfer to UH.

Students wishing to transfer from another UHM program into HDFS are required to contact the CTAHR Advising Office at to request a change of major. Acceptance into the program will be based on a minimum cumulative UHM grade point average (GPA) of 2.0

It is important for students to recognize that simply taking courses in the program will not lead to admission if the minimum GPA requirement is not met. Note that the following courses required for graduation from the program are restricted to majors only:

  • HDFS 360 – Family Resource Management
  • HDFS 380 – Research Methods
  • HDFS 380L – Research Methods Laboratory
  • HDFS 492– Internship
  • HDFS 495 – Capstone Portfolio

Students who enter the program as freshmen and who work out their schedules in close consultation with their academic advisor should be able to complete the program in 4 years. Students who transfer into the program as juniors typically take 4 semesters to complete their requirements.


Degree Requirements

The Human Development and Family Studies program sheet and four year plan can be found at the Bachelor Degree Program Sheet and Sample Four Year Academic Plans website. Please scroll down the page to the College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources.

Accepted students who have set up their UH username and password may also find their requirements on the STAR GPS Registration website. Log onto your STAR Account by visiting the website.



Students register for courses online through STAR GPS Registration. STAR GPS Registration is an easy-to-navigate registration system that shows courses students need to graduate in a timely manner and allows students to personalize their academic plan to fit their unique college experience. STAR GPS Registration allows students to do the following:

  • Register for classes that count directly into their degree/requirements so they don’t go off track
  • A visual calendar of the classes students are choosing and how they fit together
  • Direct integration of students’ class schedule into their Google calendar
  • Easily switch classes using the add/drop options
  • Search for classes at any UH campus
  • View transcript

For help about STAR, students can meet with an academic advisor or visit the HELP website. Registration dates and times are published on the Registration Timetable.


HDFS Required Courses

In addition to fulfilling the UHM Core, graduation, and CTAHR/FCS requirements, students must complete the following courses for the HDFS major. HDFS core courses which include HDFS 230, 340, 360, 380, and 380L must be completed with a letter grade of C (not C-) or better. 

HDFS Major Core Requirements 17 Cr. Additional Core Req. Fulfilled under:
HDFS 230 Human Development (DS) – completed with C or better 3 (3) DS
HDFS 340 Intimacy & Marriage (DS) – completed with C or better 3 (3) DS
HDFS 360 Family Resource Management – completed with C or better 3  
HDFS 380 Research Methodology (E) – completed with C or better 3 (3) ETH
HDFS 380L Research Methodology Lab – completed with C or better 1  
HDFS 492 Internship (College/Dept requirement) (WI) 4 (4) WI
HDFS 495 Capstone Portfolio (WI) 3 (3) WI


These required courses provide theoretical and conceptual foundations in human development, family development, family resource management, and community development, as well as opportunities to develop professional competencies.  All required courses, except HDFS 230 (Human Development), are non-introductory courses with prerequisites. Prerequisites must be completed prior to enrolling in these courses.


HDFS Support Courses

Student selects four (4) courses total: one each from A, B, and C; and one (1) course from any category. Students must take other elective courses in HDFS or other departments to complete 120 credits minimum.

A. Human Development
 (Pre: HDFS 230)
B. Family Development
 (Pre: HDFS 340)
HDFS 331 Infancy and Early Childhood
HDFS 332 Childhood
HDFS 333 Adolescence and Early Adulthood
HDFS 334 Middle Age and Aging
HDFS 341 Parenting
HDFS 425 Partnerships with Families and Professionals
HDFS 444 Contemporary Family Issues
HDFS 445 Family Life Education Methodology


C. Family Resource Management
 (Pre: HDFS 360 or ECON)
D. Additional Support Courses
 (Pre: HDFS 230)
HDFS 361 Family Financial Planning
HDFS 363 Consumer Economics
HDFS 454 Family Public Policy
HDFS 455 Consumer Communications
HDFS 468 Family Economics
HDFS 350 Leadership/Group Process
HDFS 352 Community Needs/Resources
HDFS 365 Soft Skills for Success in the Workplace
HDFS 435 Mindfulness & Skillful Living


Student Conduct Expectations for HDFS Majors

The University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa (UHM) exists for the pursuit of knowledge through teaching, learning, and research conducted in an atmosphere of physical and intellectual freedom.  Moreover, members of the UH academic community are committed to engage in teaching, learning, research, and community service and to assist one another in the creation and maintenance of an environment which supports these activities. It is therefore the policy of the University that members of the academic community may not violate the rights of one another nor disrupt the basic activities of the institution. Students who are disruptive are, consequently, subject to a variety of academically related penalties which may include reprimand, probation, restitution, suspension, or expulsion.

It must be recognized that members of the academic community have the same privileges and responsibilities with respect to the law as do members of the larger society. As a result, members of the UHM campus community must acknowledge that when the interests of the University are violated by a student, the student is accountable to the institution and may also be held responsible to civil authorities. These interests of the University are described in the University’s Conduct Code. The Department of Family and Consumer Sciences will follow the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa Campus Conduct Code policy. 

PLAGIARISM, defined as “the act of passing off as one's own the ideas or writings of another” is unacceptable and will result in a failing (“F”) grade for the assignment. Work submitted to other instructors to fulfill other class requirements may NOT be submitted to meet requirements of this class.

It is a privilege to be a member of the University of Hawai’i at Mānoa community. This privilege provides students with the opportunity to learn and to participate in the many programs that are offered on campus. Along with this privilege, students are expected to be responsible in relationships with others and to respect the interests of the institution. These interests are fully set forth in the University’s Student Conduct Code.


Helpful Reminders

  • Be sure to meet with any of the CTAHR academic advisors prior to registration. 
  • Prior to registering for classes, students should check the UHM catalog for complete information about prerequisites for courses in other departments.
  • Take HDFS 230, 340, and 360 as early as possible (which are prerequisites for the Support Courses) as well as 380/380L. These courses must be completed with letter grades of C (not C-) or better.
  • Students should take HDFS 492 Internship concurrently with HDFS 495 Capstone Portfolio in their final semester.
  • Prior to registering for HDFS 492, students must attend the internship orientation meeting regarding the internship application process one semester before doing the internship. This meeting is usually scheduled in the first two weeks of every semester. E-mail reminders will be sent to students. [Students must complete all required courses prior to taking HDFS 492.]
  • The Capstone Portfolio (HDFS 495) class is to be taken in their final semester. Students must complete all required courses prior to taking HDFS 495. In the HDFS 495 (writing intensive) class, students will be required to put together a portfolio to showcase the depth and breadth of their learning. Please be sure to keep your course syllabi and assignments because these documents will have to be included in the student’s portfolio
  • Total credit requirements: 120 credits, including 45 upper division credits.


HDFS 492: Internship

All HDFS majors are required to complete a 180-hour internship in their final semester before graduation, or the summer before graduation.  Enrollment is restricted to students who have officially been accepted into HDFS by the internship application deadline.  Students must complete all of the HDFS major required courses with a C or better prior to starting their internship.  These classes are:

  • HDFS 230 – Human Development
  • HDFS 340 – Intimacy, Marriages and Families
  • HDFS 360 – Family Resource Management
  • HDFS 380 – Research Methodology
  • HDFS 380L – Research Methodology Laboratory

It is strongly recommended that students plan their curriculum to include taking at least 2-3 courses specific to their internship interest area prior to their internship semester.  For example, students interested in early childhood education should take HDFS 331, ITE 415-415L, and ITE 417 at the minimum, and also ITE 416-416L if possible.

Students must apply for internship one semester prior to the semester in which they plan to do their internship.  Orientation meetings for prospective internship students are held within the first two weeks of each semester. Students must attend this orientation meeting before submitting an application.  An application, 3 copies of a resume, 3 copies of UH System grades, a self-assessment survey, and a copy of the applicant’s preliminary graduation check form must be submitted to the Internship Coordinator by the application deadline. Placement in a cooperating agency will be made by the Internship Coordinator.

As part of their internship, students are required to spend 12 hours per week for 15 weeks (180 hours) in an agency setting. Therefore, students are advised to arrange their schedule of courses to allow for blocks of time (e.g., two 6-hour or three 4-hour blocks) to fulfill their internship requirements. Student-athletes are advised to plan their curriculum to complete their internship requirement in their off-season. Students taking internship in the summer are required to spend 30 hours per week for 6 weeks.

Students are also advised to take a lighter course load when enrolled in internship. 

Students who generally work during the school semester or summer should note that their work hours may be significantly affected, and they will need to make appropriate plans to handle their financial situation. Internships are not paid. Students are required to purchase professional liability insurance during the internship semester.


HDFS 495: Capstone Portfolio Development

In addition to internship, all HDFS students must take HDFS 495 (Capstone Portfolio) in their final semester.  In this capstone course, students will develop a professional portfolio that will document the breadth and depth of their learning, and offer an opportunity to consider where they have been, are at present, and would like to go in their professional development.  HDFS students should save all their course syllabi, papers and other scholarly products (such as brochures, presentations, literature reviews, bibliographies, and research projects) from HDFS and other related courses for review and possible use in the development of the Capstone portfolio.


Graduate Education

The Human Development and Family Studies curriculum provides a strong foundation for graduate study.  For those interested in doing graduate work in our discipline, there are many HDFS-related graduate programs on the mainland.  Graduates who pursue their graduate education in Hawai‘i can choose from a number of different options depending upon their career goals and personal interests.  Some examples are:  Counseling, Early Childhood Education, Education, Public Administration, Public Health, Social Work, and Family Law.  A 3.0 GPA is usually the minimum acceptable for consideration for graduate school.

Planning ahead is critical to successful applications to graduate school.  It is best to begin researching programs at least a year before you plan to apply.  The Graduate Record Exam (GRE) and other required tests (these vary by program) should be taken the fall prior to your anticipated application period.  Applications are usually due in January or February.  Check with your desired program for specific prerequisites or admission requirements.


For Students Planning to Work in Early Education Settings

In order to become certified in Hawai‘i as a licensed early childhood teacher, either a Child Development Associate degree (CDA) or an Associate degree in Early Childhood Education along with a measure of experience (usually 2 years) is required. However, for UHM-HDFS undergraduate students, the courses listed below are recommended for those interested in working with infants, toddlers and/or preschool children, please check the catalog for prerequisites. 

Subject Areas Recommended Courses
1. Child Development HDFS 331, Infancy and Early Childhood (3 cr.)
2. Parent Involvement HDFS 341 Parenting (3 cr) or SPED 425 (3 cr.)
3. Preschool Teaching

ITE 415-415L, Early Childhood:  Foundations and Curriculum (6 cr).

ITE 417, Developmentally Appropriate Practice:  Ages 3-8 (3 cr). 

ITE 416-416L, Early Childhood:  Foundations and Curriculum (6 cr). [Will not substitute for HDFS 492]


Master’s of Education in Early Childhood Education

The MEd – Early Childhood Education is a statewide, interdisciplinary graduate program designed to address the statewide need for Birth – 8 years leadership. This interdisciplinary degree is a collaboration between Curriculum Studies, Special Education, and Human Development & Family Studies.

This program provides format delivery and licensure-related track options to support a range of candidate needs. Program candidates can select one option from each category.

The Masters in Early Childhood Education prepares graduates for various teaching and leadership positions in programs that support the development, learning and well-being of children together with their families and communities.

For more information or the most up-to-date application requirements, please contact:

Robyn Chun
Program Coordinator
University of Hawai'i at Mānoa, (808) 956-0337


Provisional Certified Family Life Educator (CFLE) Curriculum

The National Council on Family Relations (NCFR) sponsors the only national program to certify family life educators.  Family life education provides skills and knowledge to enrich individual and family life.  It includes knowledge about how families work; the interrelationship of families and society, human growth and development throughout the life span, the physiological and psychological aspects of human sexuality, the impact of money and time management on daily family life, the importance and value of parent education, the effects of policy and legislation on families, ethical considerations in professional conduct, and a solid understanding and knowledge of how to teach and/or develop curriculum to address issues that  are often sensitive and personal.

Provisional Certified Family Life Educator

The HDFS undergraduate program at UHM has been approved by NCFR as meeting the Standards and Criteria required for the Provisional Certified Family Life Educator designation. HDFS graduates who complete the specified courses in ten family life substance areas listed below can apply to NCFR for Provisional Certification through an Abbreviated Application process.  The required courses are listed below by Substance Area. Applicants must complete all courses or combination of courses listed.

Ten Family Life Substance Areas

  Substance Area Required Course
 #1 Families in Society HDFS 340
 #2 Internal Dynamics of Families HDFS 340
 #3 Human Growth & Development HDFS 230
 #4 Human Sexuality PSY 352
 #5 Interpersonal Relations HDFS 340 and HDFS 350
 #6 Family Resource Management HDFS 360
 #7 Parent Education & Guidance HDFS 341
 #8 Family Law & Public Policy HDFS 454
 #9 Ethics HDFS 492
 #10 Family Life Education Methodology HDFS 445


Certified Family Life Educator (CFLE)

To fulfill NCFR requirements to become a Certified Family Life Educator (CFLE), a graduate needs to have completed the specific courses in 10 substance areas and the equivalent of  2 years of full-time (30+ hours per week) experience in family life education. A total of 3,120 hours needed to qualify for full certification. The required work experience assures that CFLEs have had adequate real world experience. Family life education work experience is defined as paid employment that involves prevention and education for individuals and families that leads to more productive and satisfying living. Volunteer work may be considered but it must be in addition to paid employment and should be supported with some kind of training or formal preparation. Employment is typically demonstrated through curriculum and material development, and the development or presentation of workshops, courses or programs involving life skills; i.e. communication, parenting, financial management, sexuality, etc. Family life education can also involve program administration and policy development. Counseling, therapy, day care, preschool teaching and/or administration and case management are not typically considered to be family life education.  For more information, check the NCFR website.



Human Development and Family Studies with a Concentration in Gerontology

Gerontologists work in many different settings such as retail businesses, non-profit agencies, retirement communities, insurance companies, health maintenance organizations and hospitals, universities and research agencies, community clinics, job re-training and placement agencies, adult day care centers, senior centers, faith-based agencies, and county, state and federal government agencies. They may:

  • provide direct services to older adults
  • plan and evaluate programs for the elderly
  • educate and train paraprofessionals and professionals who serve older adults
  • craft policies and administer programs
  • conduct research in aging
  • advocate for older adults

Increasingly so, there is a shift from perceiving older adults from stereotypic negative perspectives (e.g., having impairments and disability, and living in nursing homes) to positives ones.  As baby boomers get into their older years, these next waves of older adults are better educated, and are more likely to lead active, fully engaged lives.  Hence, besides the traditional areas of work listed above, “newer” exciting career and business opportunities exist for those who are interested to work with this segment of the population.  Below are a few examples:

  • Sports and wellness programs
  • Food and beverage industries
  • Travel and tour industries
  • Lifelong learning and mentoring programs
  • Volunteer management 18
  • Community planning and development
  • Architecture and interior design
  • Retirement, financial and estate planning
  • Fashion and consumer product design

Gerontology related courses may count as electives toward the HDFS major. The following courses are offered on the UH-Mānoa campus, however, not all courses are offered every semester. So, please check with the respective departments and colleges for course availability and prerequisites.

  • Human Development and Family Studies 334, Middle Age and Aging (3).  Pre:  230.
  • Food Science and Human Nutrition 370, Lifespan Nutrition, (3).  Pre:  FSHN 185 and PHYL 141/141L, 142/142L (or concurrent) 
  • Nursing 343, Gerontology:  It’s Nursing Implications (3).  Pre: open to non-nursing majors with consent.
  • Psychology 342, Adult Development and Aging (3).  Pre: 100.  Recommended:  240. 
  • Religion 394, On Death and Dying (3). 
  • Sociology 353, Survey of Sociology of Aging (3).
  • Sociology 453, Analysis in Sociology of Aging (3). 

 Schedule a meeting with a career counselor in Mānoa’s Career Center for more information on other professions to enter after graduation 

Student Organizations

  • Friends of the Family is a student-led organization open to anyone who has an interest in families.
  • Phi Upsilon Omicron is a National Honor Society in Family and Consumer Sciences to which students who meet certain academic criteria may be invited.

Both student organizations participate in numerous service projects and fundraising throughout the year.  For more information on either organization, contact a HDFS faculty member.


Useful WEB Sites for Students Entering into the University of Hawai'i

All information for students covering how to apply, academic calendar, financial aid, catalog, transfer credit search, new database, on-campus activities, housing (dorms), parking, etc., can be found on the following websites:

MyUH Services is a mobile-optimized, one stop shop for UH business tasks, form, apps and more. It includes one-click access to services customized for students, faculty and staff across our 10-campus system.

STAR for students is the online degree tracking system for UH. You can view your degree requirements, register for classes, search for scholarships, and view your transcripts through STAR.

Use this website to make an appointment with our academic advisors. Advisors can assist you with developing a degree plan and making sure you’re taking the appropriate classes for graduation. Meeting with an academic advisor is mandatory every semester.

This website offers information about the world of CTAHR, including undergraduate and graduate programs, financial aid and scholarships, course requirements, publications, research projects, student council, faculty, and staff.

This website shows the different programs, courses, and resources available within the FCS department. 

UH Core requirements and class listings can be found at this site.

This website shows information on how your credits transfer into UH Mānoa.


Student Academic Support Services

Access to student academic support services is important to ensure your success while a student at the University of Hawaiʻi. Below is a listing of some of these services that can also be found in the UH Manoa Catalog along with appropriate contact information:

  • The Office of Civic and Community Engagement assists UH Manoa students and community organizations find ways to partner together to tackle important issues in the community by matching students’ passions and interests with the needs of community non-profit organizations through service.
  • First Year Programs and ACE ease the transition of new students into the academic and social communities at UH Manoa. First-Year Programs provide the opportunity to develop personal relationships with faculty and other students, enhance active involvement in the educational process, and build connections to UH Manoa. In addition, First-Year Programs familiarize students with the array of resources and programs available at UH Manoa.
  • Honors Program provides opportunities for talented and motivated undergraduates to excel in their academic studies. Students complete a challenging inquiry-based curriculum that encourages learning through independent research and creative expression. They enjoy intimate and personalized educational experiences within the setting of a large research university through small classes, dedicated advising, peer mentorship, and faculty guided projects.
  • International Student Services has the responsibility for meeting University federal compliance with regard to international students.  ISS strives to support international student success through the following endeavors:
    • Advising students on immigration regulations that affect their status in the U.S.
    • Providing programs that help promote cross-cultural adjustment
    • Serving as a resource to the campus and international student communities
    • Advocating for international students and international education
  • Kokua Program (Disability Access Services) is UH Mānoa’s primary campus unit responsible for providing disability access services to students with disabilities toward equal opportunity.
  • Learning Assistance Center provides tutoring, workshops, Supplemental Instruction (SI), and one-on-one appointments in which students learn appropriate study strategies and problem solving skills to achieve their academic goals.
  • Mānoa Advising Center is an advising office for exploratory students who have not yet declared a major. MAC assists exploratory students with their major selection process by presenting options and providing general education advising.
  • Mānoa Transfer Coordination Center is to help students transfer smoothly from a UH community college to UH Manoa and provide advising support throughout the transfer process, including the Ka‘ie‘ie Degree Pathway Program.
  • Pre-Health/Pre-Law Advising Center is a walk-in resource for students interested in law, medicine, and other health fields (dentistry, occupational therapy, optometry, pharmacy, physician assistant, physical therapy, etc.). PAC advisors help students explore and clarify their career goals, plan appropriate course work, find opportunities to gain experience, apply to professional programs, review personal statements and résumés, provide mock interviews, and hold workshops throughout the year.
  • Student Athlete Academic Services is the academic support program for student-athletes at UH Manoa. Working closely with instructional faculty, coaches, and campus resources, academic advisors assist students in formulating and meeting their academic goals while participating in intercollegiate athletics.
  • Student Success Center in Sinclair Library offers students a welcoming and convivial place to study and to learn, and provides them the information and skills they need to be successful in their academic career and beyond. The center provides seating that facilitates collaborative learning, is open long hours, and permits students to bring their own snacks, all in a space that has natural light and air.

  • Student Support Services is a federally funded TRIO program that provides academic advising and planning, special courses, financial aid advice, graduate and professional school advising, tutoring, mentoring, and academic enrichment activities to program students enrolled at UH Manoa. Students are selected to participate based on a combination of income and financial aid eligibility, parents’ level of education, and potential to benefit from program services.
  • Mānoa Writing Center  is a pedagogical space that supports writing and research at UHM. Our primary service is one-to-one writing consultations provided free of charge to all students, faculty, and staff affiliated with the University of Hawai`i at Mānoa. Our writing consultants are trained to help writers working in different disciplines at every stage of the writing process and with various writing projects (i.e., essays, research papers, resumes, letters, creative work).

Do not hesitate to discuss your needs with your academic degree advisor who can help refer you to the appropriate resource.


Human Development and Family Studies Course Descriptions

Viewable online at the University of Hawaiʻi catalog.

CTAHR Banner
CTAHR University of Hawaii