Degrees and Programs

Human Development Guidelines for Students Matriculated Before Oct. 1, 2009

These guidelines are designed to help students become aware of the central issues in human development, not to prescribe a specific set of study titles. It is important to note that the areas of inquiry described below may be addressed through a variety of approaches.

Studies in human development may draw upon many different disciplines of the natural, social and behavioral sciences in an effort to understand human experience and behavior. Illustrations and understanding of human behavior also may be explored through humanistic and cultural studies.

Concentrations in the human development area of study must in some way address critical topics in the following areas:

  • the nature of human development and changes across the life span
  • the social and environmental contexts in which human development takes place
  • the determinants of human development and behavior
  • the domains and dimensions of thought, emotion and action
  • a range of theoretical perspectives and explanatory models.

Human development uses the scientific method as its basic model of learning and knowing. Students are expected to develop competencies in the following areas:

  • asking and researching questions
  • observing and analyzing behavior
  • recording and interpreting data and observations
  • examining and communicating ideas.

An education in human development also includes experience of self and others as a complementary model of learning and knowing.

Not all of these areas need be reflected in specific study titles; however, the student will be expected to indicate in the degree program rationale how the various topics and methods have been explored.

There is one concentration title within human development that has particular meaning in the wider academic community: psychology. A psychology concentration is expected to meet the rigors of the discipline, including methodology and specific studies. Students planning a psychology concentration should consult Advice for Students Developing Concentrations in Psychology.


Revised January 1995