Human Development Major

Program Director: Jennie Lee-Kim, Ph.D.

The field of Human Development is concerned with mechanisms of growth and change across the life course. Thus, Human Development Majors will explore the biological, social, emotional, and cognitive processes of development from conception to old age in diverse social and cultural contexts. Students in the Human Development Major will participate in an integrated set of educational experiences to acquire a comprehensive body of interdisciplinary scholarly knowledge in human development, learning, and research methodology. Introductory and advanced course work, as well as laboratory research apprenticeships or field experiences are essential components of the proposed curriculum. 

Program Learning Outcomes

  1. Develop a comprehensive knowledge base in human development
  2. Understand central questions in the field of human development and the major theoretical approaches to them
  3. Describe the sequence of typical development and the underlying processes in the domains of cognitive, linguistic, social, and emotional development
  4. Recognize the importance of biology and environment, including context and culture on children's development and learning
  5. Understand how human development influences educational practice, and how different educational approaches affect learning and development
  6. Appreciate how theory and scientific research are addressed in applied in issues relating to children, family, education, and public policy
  7. Develop core critical thinking and scientific literacy skills
  8. Formulate answerable questions about important issues in learning and development, as well as generate and evaluate methods for answering those questions
  9. Critically evaluate and reason about empirical evidence relevant to important issues in learning and development, and make informed arguments and decisions on the basis of empirical evidence
  10. Critically evaluate current policies and clinical/educational approaches that address important societal issues on the basis of evidence
  11. Apply these critical thinking and scientific literacy skills across a wide range and intersection of disciplines in development and education, in both research and applied settings
  12. Develop understanding of and value ethical and social responsibility
  13. Understand and apply ethical standards in research and practice in human development
  14. Show awareness of the diversity of race, cultures, and contexts in which humans develop and grow
  15. Apply evidence from human development research to improve policy and practice that fosters ethical and social responsibility and promotes social justice
  16. Develop key skills for communication and writing
  17. Clearly summarize, assess, and cite empirical evidence and theoretical perspectives, including describing methodology, results, limitations, and implications for a broader audience
  18. Formulate clear written arguments and substantively defend them with empirical evidence
  19. Present clear evidence-based arguments orally in ways that facilitate communication across a range of academic and non-academic audiences
  20. Develop key professional skills
  21. Apply both specific knowledge in human development as well as general critical thinking, scientific literacy, and communication skills to career goals
  22. Organize, execute, and manage complex, multi-step research and writing projects
  23. Develop meaningful, purposeful, and realistic career goals for professional life post-graduation
Course Title Credits
Gateway Courses
EDHD200Paradigms and Perspectives in Human Development3
EDHD201Learning How to Learn3
EDHD320Human Development Through the Life Span3
Statistics and Methods Courses
EDHD306Research Methods in Human Development3
EDMS451Introduction to Educational Statistics3
Core Courses9
Select three of the following five courses:
Child Growth and Development
Infant Development
Adolescent Development
Adult Development
Educational Psychology
Elective Courses 1,212
Select four of the following elective courses:
Aggression and Violence in Everyday Life: Can Violence Be Prevented?
Human Development and Societal Institutions
Inside 21st Century Creativity: How Creative Ideas, Concepts, and Products are Generated
Are Two Languages Better than One: The Science and Controversy of Bilingualism
Your Brain on Education: The Neuroscience of Learning and Development
Introduction to Gerontology
Information Weaponization: Thinking Critically in a Changing World
Social Development
Development of the Scientific Mind Across the Lifespan
Cognitive Development and Learning
Peer Relations
Language Development and Reading Acquisition
Cognitive and Motivational Literacy Content
Adolescent Violence
Pro-Seminar and Internship/Field Experience 3
EDHD390Career Paths and Internship Preparation in Human Development1
To be completed in the final year:
EDHD489Field Experiences in Human Development 46
Total Credits43

Any core course listed above for which core course credit was not given may serve as an elective. This set of courses should be chosen to align with the student’s individual program goals and could include extradepartmental course offerings.


Students may, at the invitation of individual faculty, substitute EDHD498, for three of the required 12 credit elective component. For situations in which students wish to pursue a double major, Family Science Majors may substitute FMSC302 for EDHD306, and Psychology Majors may substitute PSYC300 for EDHD306 and PSYC200 for EDMS451 in the Human Development major


Students may elect to substitute six credits of upper (400 level) electives in place of the internship experience, although internship experience is strongly recommended.


Students may complete EDHD489 in one semester or over two semesters. Students may also take EDHD489 for three credits and another 400-level elective for three credits in order to satisfy this requirement. 

Psychology Electives

Course Title Credits
PSYC200Statistical Methods in Psychology3
PSYC221Social Psychology3
PSYC300Research Methods in Psychology Laboratory4
PSYC330Child Psychopathology3
PSYC332Psychology of Human Sexuality3
PSYC334Psychology of Interpersonal Relationships3
PSYC336Psychology of Women3
PSYC341Introduction to Memory and Cognition3
PSYC346Death, Dying and Grieving: What Future Healthcare Professionals Need to Know3
PSYC353Adult Psychopathology3
PSYC381Community Interventions: Domestic Violence I3
PSYC391Community Interventions: Domestic Violence II - Service Learning3
PSYC436Introduction to Clinical Psychology: From Science to Practice3

Sociology Electives

Course Title Credits
SOCY227Introduction to the Study of Deviance3
SOCY230Sociological Social Psychology3
SOCY241Inequality in American Society3
SOCY325The Sociology of Gender3
SOCY412Family Demography3
SOCY424Sociology of Race Relations3
SOCY442The Black Middle Class3
SOCY467Sociology of Education3

Family Science Electives

Course Title Credits
FMSC290Family Economics3
FMSC330Family Health: Health Happens in Families3
FMSC332Children in Families3
FMSC430Gender Issues in Families3
FMSC431Family Crises, Emergencies and Interventions3
FMSC460Violence in Families3

Other Possible Electives

Electives approved by program advisor from the following departments to satisfy individual students' program goals:

  • AASP – African American Studies
  • AAST - Asian American Studies
  • AMST – American Studies
  • ANTH - Anthropology
  • BMGT – Business and Management
  • CCJS – Criminology and Criminal Justice
  • ECON - Economics
  • GVPT – Government and Politics
  • HESP – Hearing and Speech Sciences
  • HLTH - Health LING - Linguistics
  • RELS – Religious Studies
  • SLLC – School of Languages Literatures and Cultures
  • SPHL – Public Health
  • STAT – Statistics and Probability
  • WMST – Women’s Studies 

Click here for roadmaps for four-year plans in the College of Education.

Additional information on developing a four-year academic plan can be found on the following pages: