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What is unique about the study of Human Development?

The field of human development focuses on understanding how individuals grow, learn, and adapt throughout their lives, with an emphasis on developmental change in multiple domains (biological, cognitive, emotional, physical, social) and within different contexts (peers, family, school, community, health & nutrition, policies & programs).

Amanda Guyer
HDGG Chair - Amanda Guyer

It is a fascinating and thrilling time to work in human developmental science. Exciting new theories and perspectives are positioning the field to ask new questions about human development, and to return to perennial questions with fresh approaches. Innovative technologies and methodologies are now available for studying developmental processes and contexts at multiple levels of analysis, in real world or laboratory settings, and in micro or macro units of time. Our own faculty draw on these approaches to study brain function and structure; family, peer, and marriage processes; factors related to aging; diversity and cross-national issues; identity and belonging; mental health; nutrition; and many other topics; as well as to develop new methods for studying change over time.

What are the goals of our program?

For over 30 years, our program’s mission has been to support interdisciplinary graduate-level education and training of scientists, educators, and practitioners in developmental theory, methods, analyses, and knowledge. We support our students’ goals with innovative, interdisciplinary and collaborative research and outreach opportunities to address overarching questions and real-world problems, such as:

1) What variations do we see in human behaviors and underlying biological systems at different ages and in different contexts?

2) Can we predict developmental outcomes for individuals across the lifespan with greater precision?

3) How can we use scientifically-informed knowledge to improve the quality of life for individuals across the life span?

What degrees are offered?

We are committed to meeting each student’s individual needs and goals. Our program offers two degrees: a Ph.D. in Human Development and a M.S. in Child Development. Students may seek to add a minor in Quantitative Psychology. Students may also obtain a designated emphasis in Translational Research (pending) or International and Community Nutrition by completing additional requirements.

Students choose their major advisor and committee members from over 50 HDGG faculty members representing a range of disciplines, departments, centers and institutes. They work with their advisor to design an individualized plan of coursework to fit their specific needs and develop original research on their topic of interest. Many of our students have successfully competed for fellowships and awards from the NSF, NIH, and Ford Foundation, presented at national and international scientific conferences, and published papers as the first author in top developmental journals. Our current and past students consistently report high levels of satisfaction due to our program’s flexibility and the supportive relationships they develop with faculty and classmates.

What are HDGG alumni prepared to do?

We aim to provide future human developmental scientists and practitioners with rigorous theoretical and empirical training integrated with sought-after skills and knowledge. Many graduates from our program go on to work in colleges and universities focusing mainly on research and/or teaching. Equally so, our graduates obtain positions in applied settings such as health care facilities, social services agencies, research, program or policy organizations, government, and business and industry.

Questions? Please feel free to contact us.

I hope this vision has captured your interest in HDGG as a student, alumnus, faculty, donor, or friend!

Please contact us for additional information about our program.