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The Department of Human Development and Family Sciences (HDFS) at the University of Texas at Austin focuses on research, teaching, and training in individual development and relationship processes across the lifespan and within social, community, cultural, and policy contexts. The faculty and students in the department take an interdisciplinary approach to research that borrows from the fields of developmental psychology, social psychology, sociology, anthropology, demography, and prevention science. Researchers in HDFS are particularly focused on using cutting-edge methodologies to measure and model intra- and inter-individual change, family and relationship status transitions, and changes within or transitions among various contexts of development.

The HDFS department at UT Austin is consistently ranked among the top 5 HDFS departments in the nation. Our department has significant strengths in the areas of parenting, child and adolescent development, personal relationships, the development and maintenance of intimate relationships and individual development in social contexts such as poverty, families, race/ethnicity, and education. Faculty in HDFS employ cutting-edge methodologies including daily assessment techniques, physiological indicators (e.g., salivary hormones), observations of family interactions, longitudinal designs, and advanced statistical modeling.  Practical applications of this research put HDFS at UT Austin at the forefront of human behavior health research and policy initiatives. 

The HDFS department as a whole is committed to creating and applying knowledge that can improve the lives of individuals, families, and communities. The department’s most successful example of turning evidence into practice is the Priscilla Pond Flawn Child and Family Laboratory, which is a model preschool and training facility with a 60-plus year history in the department and an acclaimed local and national reputation for providing quality early childhood education for children aged 18 months to 6 years.