Students of human development seek an understanding of psychological, social, biological and other changes over the life span. Change can take the form of growth, maturation, loss, impairment, resilience, adaptation and/or the enrichment of human potential, identity and meaning. Concentrations may encompass the life cycle or may focus on a particular age group (e.g., early childhood, adolescence, older adulthood); population (e.g., women, men, LGBTQ); situation (e.g., grieving and loss, incarceration, disability); or theme (e.g., health, families, cultural differences, spirituality).
Students of human development have the opportunity to pursue and integrate personal, academic and professional goals. Many students find that what they learn enables them to better understand themselves and others, enhances their ability to work with people in various capacities and prepares them for more advanced, or graduate study. Human development can be appropriate for students who plan to work in many fields, including law, the health-care professions, business careers, education, nonprofit agencies, and many others.
Students of human development should be able to demonstrate knowledge in the following content areas, whether through studies, a series of studies, components within individual studies or college-level knowledge demonstrated through the prior learning assessment (PLA) process. The content areas below represent the minimum foundation for any concentration within human development. More specific concentration titles should be supported through the degree plan and a description of this degree plan in the rationale essay.
Students of human development should develop an understanding of the biological influences on emotional, cognitive and behavioral change over time. They should demonstrate this knowledge by:
Students of human development should develop knowledge of both cognitive and affective underpinnings of human development. This knowledge can include theories and empirical bases of cognition, learning, memory, motivation, meaning, emotion and executive functioning. Students also should understand factors that influence cognitive performance, emotional experience and their interaction across the lifespan. They should demonstrate this knowledge by:
Students of human development should develop knowledge of interpersonal, intragroup and intergroup processes and dynamics as they influence human behavior and development, as well as theories of how humans develop within social contexts (which can include micro-level contexts like families and schools or macro-level contexts like communities, culture and society). Theories of how aspects of humans develop can include theories of personality development, identity development, the development of specific difficulties (such as psychopathology and problem behaviors) or normal and abnormal development in any domain of human functioning (e.g., language functioning, interpersonal functioning). They should demonstrate this knowledge by:
Students of human development should develop an understanding of the impact of aspects of culture and diversity on development. They should demonstrate this knowledge by:
Students of human development should develop scientific reasoning and problem-solving skills (especially effective research skills) for interpreting and drawing evidence-based conclusions about human development and behavior. They should demonstrate this knowledge by:
Students of human development should develop ethically and socially responsible professional attitudes and behaviors. They should demonstrate this knowledge by:
Introduction to the Area of Study Guidelines
Human Development for Students Matriculated Before October 1, 2009
Human Development for Students Matriculated After October 1, 2009
Area of Study Guidelines: Human Development for Students Matriculated After Dec. 1, 2013 Policy