Human Development and Family Science

Whether you’re helping young children get off to a good start in life, providing support to families during difficult times or enabling older adults to make the most of life, the Department of Human Development and Family Science prepares you to positively shape the lives of individuals and families through specialized research, hands-on learning and community outreach.

What our students are saying

Undergraduate Programs

The Department of Human Development and Family Science gets students started on their path to making communities and lives better as they pursue careers across education and intervention, social services, nonprofit organizations, health settings and more.

Graduate Programs

In the research-focused doctoral program, you’ll take a multilevel approach to studying human development while receiving individual mentorship with faculty across a variety of research areas, including early childhood education and care, interpersonal relations, culture and diversity, health and well-being, and military families.

Current Student Resources


Department Research

As work environments shift, families take different forms and individuals live longer than ever before, our faculty are generating knowledge to promote the health and well-being of individuals and families across all stages of life.

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Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

The Department of Human Development and Family Science infuses diversity, equity, inclusion and social justice into our research, teaching, administration and engagement to create a supportive environment within the department and beyond. We integrate diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) throughout our academic programs and focus our research on a variety of DEI-related topics, including parenting practices across cultures, preschoolers’ perceptions and interactions with children with disabilities, and pathways to literacy readiness across diverse groups.

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Community Resources

Our faculty and students work together to offer high-quality early education and child care services to the community in the Ben and Maxine Miller Child Development Laboratory School, creating an engaging environment where children can learn and grow.

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The Department of Human Development and Family Science (HDFS) is a national and international leader in the study of families and individuals across the life course. Diversity, equity and inclusion are central to our mission. Our exceptional three-pronged program — research, teaching and outreach — positions our students and alumni for success in the diverse fields of human development and family studies, social work, public health, early childhood education, family and consumer sciences, and human services.

— Dr. Valerie Knopik

Human Development and Family Science Directory

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Valerie Knopik

Department Head

Penny Kelly

Executive Assistant to the Department Head

Connect with Us!

Prospective undergraduate students may register for a session online, email questions to or call the Office of Student Services at (765) 494-8533. Prospective graduate students may email or call (765) 496-3816.

Contact Us

Purdue University
Department of Human Development and Family Science
Hanley Hall, Rm. 255
1202 Mitch Daniels Blvd.
West Lafayette, IN 47907-2055

(765) 494-9511

(765) 496-1144