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Prepare for a career in public & private human service agencies

Learn to help solve problems families and individuals face.

Human Development & Family Relations Major

Learn to help individuals and families solve problems related to child development, family relations, aging, nutritional planning and family financial management. You will learn from highly qualified and caring faculty who work closely with their students.

  • Immerse yourself in one semester of full-time, supervised field work in a human service agency,
  • Prepare for meaningful careers without an advanced degree; or,
  • Qualify for graduate study in related fields: counseling, social work, education, psychology, and more.

What Will I Learn?

Our program prepares you for careers in human service field. Learn about human development, issues people face and how to help them live fulfilling lives.

You may choose to study the general lifespan or specialize in a particular age group:

  • Adolescents — The concentration in adolescence prepares you for careers related to adolescents and young adults in public and private human service agencies.
  • Adult Development and Aging — The concentration in adult development and aging prepares you for a career related to senior citizens and the elderly in public and private human service agencies.
  • Child Care — The concentration in child care management is unique within the SUNY system and prepares you to become child-care center directors, Head Start teachers or professionals working in other youth-related agencies.

What is Unique About Our Program?

One Word: Flexibility

The HDFR degree is flexible — interesting courses lead to one degree, but can be varied based on your needs and interests. And, launching in fall 2024, you will have the opportunity to choose a campus close you to you. Earn your bachelor’s degree at our main campus in Plattsburgh or complete your degree at our branch campus in Queensbury.

Experience & Opportunities

Take part in ample applied learning and hands-on opportunities to prepare you for entry into the human services job market or graduate programs. You will have access to:

  • Field trips to see human service professionals in action
  • Volunteer experiences
  • Thirty-hour practicum opportunities
  • Variety of full-time professional internships

What Are My Career Opportunities?

A human development and family relations degree is highly relevant to a broad range of career opportunities. You will be eligible for a professional job even without a graduate degree and many of our graduates enter the job market immediately after graduation.

Graduates holding degrees in human development and family relations from SUNY Plattsburgh are currently working in such diverse fields as:

  • Family advocacy
  • Child life specialist
  • Crisis center counseling
  • Youth detention center case work
  • Child care centers
  • Nursing home activity direction
  • Planned Parenthood education
  • Mental health services

Pursuing a Graduate Degree

Approximately 25–30 percent of human development and family relations majors pursue advanced degrees in counseling, social work, psychology, law, public administration, or other related fields.

Recent graduates have gone on to master’s programs at SUNY Albany, Hunter College, The College of Saint Rose, University of Buffalo and SUNY Plattsburgh, to name a few.

Recent HDFR Graduate

Sarah Wright, Class of ‘20

  • Program and Operations Coordinator, Literacy Volunteers of Clinton, Essex and Franklin Counties

“HDFR is filled with opportunities. The mentors I gained through this program set me on a path to success — I felt valued and supported by them every step of the way. It not only gave me the confidence I needed to become a human service professional, but it also kick started my career. Shortly after graduating, I was hired at the same non-profit organization where I completed my internship. Every day, I get to support adult learners and help them achieve their educational goals. HDFR led me to find both my passion and purpose, and for that, I will always be grateful.”

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