The Department of Human Ecology's faculty and graduate students pursue research programs to advance knowledge about the interrelationships between people and their near environments. These environments may comprise the human constructed, material environment and/or the social and cultural contexts in which individuals and families exist. People and their environments are interconnected in an active process of mutual influence and change.

The human ecology department at the university supports rigorous multidisciplinary research programs with a particular focus on four main areas: aging; children, youth and families, material culture studies and, textile and apparel science.


The research mission is to make a meaningful difference in the lives of older adults and their families by bridging research, policies and practice.

Children, Youth & Families

In conducting research about family dynamics, and working with government and community partners, the broad aim of the research programs is to enhance the well-being of children, youth and families across the life course.

Material Culture Studies

The interdisciplinary research in this field seeks to reveal how material forms are central to the socialization of human beings into culture.

Textile and Apparel Science

Research fields include the study of fiber science with a focus on areas such as material response under various thermal hazards, combustion of textile materials, odour transfer, standards development and functional apparel design.