Human Development and Psychology

Human Development and Psychology

Program Description

The Human Development and Psychology (HDP) Program is designed to introduce practitioners and future researchers to theory and research on child, adolescent, and adult development. The program seeks to enable students to reflect on the application of theory and research broadly to education and to specific issues such as cultural diversity, bilingualism, literacy development, academic achievement among high-risk populations, bullying and cruelty among adolescents, prevention of the consequences of risk in the lives of children and adolescents, brain processes in learning, and children's emotional, moral, civic and cognitive development. Students in the program examine empirical evidence about language development, cognitive development, social and moral development, and cultural differences.

The HDP Program seeks to bridge traditional divisions between academic disciplines and between basic and applied research. It enables students to draw on a wide range of courses and resources within HGSE and within the broader university in fields such as psychology, sociology, education policy and child advocacy. Students explore the sociocultural contexts in which development takes place, focusing either domestically or internationally.

The program is a two-semester course of study that aims to provide students with a broad introduction to the study of human development, while giving them room to focus on their particular interests. In consultation with their advisors, students select courses and activities that work together to meet their specific goals.

Courses in Human Development and Psychology cover a variety of topics, including:

  • Culture and Social Development
  • Mind, Brain, and Education
  • Language and Literacy Development
  • Assessment
  • Prevention Science and Practice
  • Research and Policy in Early-Childhood Education
  • Development in Specific Age Periods
  • Research Methods
  • Cognitive Development
  • Gender and Relationships
  • Moral and Civic Development
  • Development Across Cultures
Students may apply to the HDP general program or the HDP Child Advocacy strand. The CA strand is a directed course of study designed to enable students to apply the best thinking in child development to the challenges of child advocacy. It also has a specific focus on relevant interdisciplinary knowledge and skills of advocacy including change efforts on behalf of the individual or family, within educational settings or other service systems, and/or at the legislative or social policy levels. Students will learn about and have opportunities to engage in each of these areas, depending on their professional interests and career goals. The strand is grounded in the recognition of social and economic inequities, and the barriers that children, birth through age 18, face because of poverty, language or disabilities. This strand will be most appropriate for students who have employment, coursework, or internship experience related to children/youth that has led to their interest in child advocacy.