Human Development & Family Studies


To improve the quality of life by discovering, integrating, applying, and disseminating knowledge about lifespan human development, relationships, families, and communities, all in their larger social contexts.


Children and instructors interact in the School of Human Ecology Preschool Lab, which is housed in the newly renovated Nancy Nicholas Hall.

Our vision is to conduct and apply high-quality research on development, relationships, and families, program evaluation, and policy studies to solve societal problems and to strengthen the well-being of children, adults, and families. We are dedicated to training the next generation of responsible leaders and committed, productive citizens who contribute to a sound economy and a strong democracy

The department of Human Development and Family Studies (HDFS) at the UW-Madison provides outstanding undergraduate and graduate level education in family studies and human development across the lifespan.

Ranked among the top programs of its kind, HDFS offers an interdisciplinary approach to family relationships, child and adolescent development, adult development and aging, as well as child and family intervention, prevention programs, and policy studies.