Information For:

Give back to HGSE and support the next generation of passionate educators and innovative leaders.

Master's Programs

Human Development and Psychology

Knowledge of human development is highly gratifying and valuable in itself; it can also greatly enhance your ability to make a meaningful difference in children's lives. In the Human Development and Psychology (HDP) Program, you will join a cohort of students with diverse interests and a shared passion for better understanding how children and adults develop and grow. And you will work closely with an extraordinary faculty comprising prominent voices in early childhood development; organizational psychology; emotional, cognitive, and moral development; developmental psychology, trauma and child advocacy; and much more.

We are proud of the ways in which HDP researchers have contributed to advances in understanding how children learn and grow, and we are proud of the courses we offer that help students acquire strong research skills and apply them to practice.

Senior Lecturer Rick Weissbourd, faculty co-director

HDP is a one-year, full-time master's program that immerses future practitioners and researchers in the latest theories and discoveries related to child, adolescent, and adult development. The many strengths of HDP include:

  • Applied Research – Effective research doesn't occur in a vacuum. As an HDP student, you will consider continually how research can strengthen practice.
  • World Class Faculty – HDP is one of the longest-running programs at HGSE, recognized globally for the influential research and writing of our faculty, which includes Guggenheim Fellows, MacArthur Prize recipients, and award-winning authors. Our faculty members' expertise is matched only by their accessibility to students as mentors and advocates.
  • Cohort and Community – You will join an extraordinary cohort of students representing a rich diversity of personal and professional backgrounds. The energy, curiosity, and compassion of HDP students, and their common commitment to understanding the deepest puzzles of development, create an exhilarating learning environment that forms the basis of lifelong friendships and professional relationships.

Curriculum Information

Over two semesters, you are required to complete courses for a total of 32 credits.

Generalist Strand

The HDP curriculum balances structure and flexibility. Courses cover subjects as varied as language and literacy development, developmental psychology, educational neuroscience, prevention science and practice, early childhood education policy, assessment, gender and relationships, moral and civic development, and development across cultures.

View Requirements

One Course in Developmental Psychology (4 credits), chosen from the following:                         

  • H250 Developmental Psychology (fall)
  • H236 Adolescent Development (spring)    
  • T006 Adult Development (spring)    
  • H206 Developmental Theories of Change (fall, not offered 2019/2020)

One Course in Research Methods and Data Analysis (4 credits), chosen from the following:                         

  • A162 The Art and Science of Portraiture    (fall)        
  • H233Y+H234Y Exploring Quality in Early Childhood Education: Predicting Academic and Social Outcomes (yearlong)
  • S012 Introduction to Statistics for Educational Research (fall)
  • S022 Introduction to Statistical Computing and Data Science in Education (spring)
  • S030 Intermediate Statistics for Educational Research    Eidelman (spring)    
  • S040 Introductory and Intermediate Statistics for Educational Research (fall)
  • S063 The Meanings Children and Youth Make about Relational, Social, and Civic Topics (spring)
  • S501 Partnering with Youth in Educational Reserach and Practice    Brion-Meisels (spring)
  • S510F Qualitative Research Methods in Practice    Duraisingh (fall)    
  • S513 Introduction to Qualitative Program and Policy Evaluation (spring)        
  • S527 Ethnographic Methods (spring)    
  • S515 Emancipatory Inquiry: Listening, Learning, and Acting for Social Change (spring)    

Three Courses Related to Human Development, Psychology, and Education (12 credits), one of which much have a strong focus on diversity, equity, and inclusion:                        

  • AH103 Educational Outcomes in Cross-National and Cross-Cultural Perspectives (spring)
  • H110G Learning in a Globalizing World: Language Acquistion, Cultural Awareness, and Cognitive Justice (January)
  • H112 Cognitive Neuroscience in Education (fall)    
  • H126 Typical and Atypical Neurodevelopment (fall)    
  • H137 Emotion in Development and Learning: Usable Knowledge, Variability, and Context (spring)
  • H180 Cognitive Development and Trust in Testimony (spring)    
  • H208 Empowering Human Relationships Across Development Contexts (fall)
  • H210H Student Political Identity Development: Understanding & Supporting Youth Activists (spring)
  • H233Y Exploring Quality in Early Childhood Education: Predicting Academic and Social Outcomes (fall/yearlong)
  • H234Y Exploring Quality in Early Childhood Education: Predicting Academic and Social Outcomes    Snow (spring/yearlong)    
  • H236 Adolescent Develoment (spring)
  • H250 Developmental Psychology (fall) 
  • H310M Establishing Loving Spaces for Learning: Preventing Bullying and Discrimination in US Schools (fall)
  • H310W Developing Effective School and Community Interventions for Children Facing Risks    Weissbourd (January)
  • H311 Issues of Diversity in Cross-Cultural Counseling and Advocacy (spring)
  • H327 Individual Counseling and Psychotherapy with Children and Adolescents (fall)      
  • H331 Risk & Resilience in Social Contexts/Birth to Young Adulthood: Strategies of Preventin and Intervention (fall)
  • H340 Preventative and Developmental Group Counseling (fall)
  • H341 Inventing the Future: Building Connections from School to Career (spring)
  • H370 Trans-Media Literacy, Humanistic Storytelling, and the Promotion of Social Awareness (fall)
  • H371 Theories and Methods of Child/Adolescent Cognitive and Psychological Assessment (spring)
  • H382 The Challenges Kids Face: Developmental, Cultural, & Contextual Perspectives on Risk & Reslience (fall)
  • H387Y Child Advocacy Seminar (fall)    
  • H392 Childhood Trauma: Dynamics, Interventions, and Cross-Cultural Perspectives    McConnico (fall)
  • H397Y Research Experience in Prevention Science and Practice (fall/yearlong)    
  • H398Y Research Experience in Prevention Science and Practice (spring/yearlong)    
  • H517 Contemporary Immigration Policy and Educational Practice (spring)
  • H606 Mindfulness for Inner Strengths and Social Challenges (spring)
  • H608 Ethnic-Racial Identity Development    Umana-Taylor (fall)
  • H700 From Language to Literacy (fall)    
  • H801 Literacy Assessment and Intervention Practicum (fall)    
  • H803 Adolescent Literacy: Students, Teachers, Classrooms, Schools, and Districts (fall)      
  • H804 Writing Development (spring)    
  • H810C Teaching for Inquiry: What's Being Literate Got to Do with It? (spring)    
  • H810F Children's Literature (fall)     
  • H810H Introduction to Literacy Coaching    Messina    (fall)
  • H813 Bilingual Learners: Literacy Development and Instruction (fall)
  • H818 Reading Instruction and Development (fall)    
  • H860 Reading Difficulties (spring)
  • H870 Reading to Learn: Socialization, Language, and Deep Comprehension (spring)
  • HT107 Topics in Educational Psychology (January)
  • HT108 Individuality and Personalization in Education (spring)    
  • HT113 Research Practicum for Microschools (January)
  • HT123 Informal Learning for Children (January)    
  • HT820 Introduction to Psychoeducational Assessment (fall)    
  • A608 Leadership, Entrepreneurship, and Learning  (fall/spring)
  • T010T Helping Others to Make Transformational Change: The Immunity-to-Change Approach (spring)
  • T402 Group Learning (fall)    
  • T440 Teaching and Learning: The Having of Wonderful Ideas (fall)
  • T543 Applying Cognitive Science to Learning and Teaching (spring)
  • T560 Universal Design for Learning: Meeting the Challenge of Individual Differences (fall)

One of your “HDP” courses should be a 4-credit course (or two 2-credit modules) from the following list with a focus on equity and inclusion: HDP Course with a focus on diversity equity inclusion (pdf)

  • Electives: courses either at HGSE, Harvard, or MIT through cross-registration (12+ credits)

View all courses and information on cross registration.

Child Advocacy Strand

This strand is designed for students who want to influence systemic change on the institutional and policy levels and craft study plans that reflect your individual backgrounds and goals. You will complete eight courses (32 credits). 

View Requirements

 

Required Child Advocacy Seminar                    

  • H387Y Child Advocacy Seminar (fall)

Required Child Advocacy Internship                    

  • H388Y Child Advocacy Internship    (spring)

One Course in Research Methods and Data Analysis (4 credits), chosen from the following: 

  • A162 The Art and Science of Portraiture    (fall)        
  • H233Y+H234Y Exploring Quality in Early Childhood Education: Predicting Academic and Social Outcomes (yearlong)
  • S012 Introduction to Statistics for Educational Research (fall)
  • S022 Introduction to Statistical Computing and Data Science in Education (spring)
  • S030 Intermediate Statistics for Educational Research    Eidelman (spring)    
  • S040 Introductory and Intermediate Statistics for Educational Research (fall)
  • S063 The Meanings Children and Youth Make about Relational, Social, and Civic Topics (spring)
  • S501 Partnering with Youth in Educational Reserach and Practice    Brion-Meisels (spring)
  • S510F Qualitative Research Methods in Practice    Duraisingh (fall)    
  • S513 Introduction to Qualitative Program and Policy Evaluation (spring)        
  • S527 Ethnographic Methods (spring)    
  • S515 Emancipatory Inquiry: Listening, Learning, and Acting for Social Change (spring)    

One overview course related to child development/risk and resilience (4 credits)                    

  • H126 Typical and Atypical Neurodevelopment (fall)
  • H236 Adolescent Development (fall)
  • H250 Developmental Psychology (fall)
  • H382 The Challenges Kids Face: Developmental, Cultural, & Contextual Perspectives on Risk & Reslience (fall)
  • H392 Childhood Trauma: Dynamics, Interventions, and Cross-Cultural Perspectives    McConnico (fall)
  • H208    Empowering Human Relationships Across Development Contexts (fall)

Two courses related to systems that impact children and families (4-8 credits)                    

  • A024 Politics and Education Policy in the United States (fall)
  • H310M Establishing Loving Spaces for Learning: Preventing Bullying and Discrimination in US Schools (fall)
  • T406 Educating Incarcerated Youth: Practice, Research, and Policy (fall)
  • A111R Elements of Effective Family-School Partnerships (January)
  • A111C Politics and Education Change: Case Studies    Gabrieli  (spring 1)
  • A122 The Why, What, and How of School, Family, and Community Partnerships (spring)
  • AH103 Educational Outcomes in Cross-National and Cross-Cultural Perspectives (spring)
  • S515 Emancipatory Inquiry: Listening, Learning, and Acting for Social Change (spring)
  • T014 Educating to Transform Society: Preparing Students to Disrupt and Dismantle Racism    (spring)
  • HLS 2011 Art of Social Change (at Law School) (spring)

Electives: remaining credits can be electives. You must complete 32 credits to graduate. Students may select electives not
included on this list with permission from Program Director. Courses on the lists above may also count as electives.        
     

  • A024 Politics and Education Policy in the United States    (fall)
  • A111P Public Narrative: Self, Us, Now    (fall 1)
  • A111Q Public Narrative: Loss, Difference, Power, and Change (fall 2)
  • A501 Negotiation Workshop (spring 1)
  • A501 Negotiation Workshop (fall) 
  • H327 Individual Counseling and Psychotherapy with Children and Adolescents (fall)  
  • H340 Preventative and Developmental Group Counseling (fall)
  • A132 Educational Innovation and Social Entrepreneurship in Comparative Perspective (spring)
  • A612 Organizing: People, Power, Change (spring)
  • H137 Emotion in Development and Learning: Usable Knowledge, Variability, and Context (spring)
  • H180 Cognitive Development and Trust in Testimony (spring)
  • H371 Theories and Methods of Child/Adolescent Cognitive and Psychological Assessment (spring)
  • T010T Helping Others to Make Transformational Change: The Immunity-to-Change Approach (spring)

 

View all courses and information on cross-registration.

 

Program Faculty

HGSE consists of a faculty of the whole and students work with and take courses with faculty at HGSE and Harvard. The faculty that HDP students most often work with include:

Fieldwork & Internships

Students in the HDP Program have opportunities to do internships and research that will enable them to better integrate theory and practice and to become more effective teachers, leaders, researchers, and advocates. The Cambridge/Boston area is a hub for innovative organizations doing important work in child development and advocacy. Recent HDP internship sites include:

Alumni & Student Profiles

HDP graduates are putting their Harvard degrees and experience to work at all levels of the education sector — public and independent schools, nonprofit organizations, and government agencies — as well as pursuing careers in public health, social services, child advocacy, and social policy. HDP alumni are in a range of roles including kindergarten teachers, doctoral students, public television producers, admissions directors, school-based child advocates, and education policy analysts.

Konstantin Offer

Changing the World with Empathy: Konstantin Offer, HDP'19

The Intellectual Contribution Award recipient for Human Development and Psychology reflects on his time at HGSE and looks toward the future.

Najwa Elyazgi

Locked In

How the travel ban affects one HGSE student.

Connect with Admissions

More information about our admissions application requirements and instructions, tuition and financial aid, and answers to frequently asked questions is available on our website. If you have additional admissions-related questions, please contact Ernald Furxhi or call 617.495.3414.

Introduce Yourself

Receive tailored admissions information about upcoming programs, events, and opportunities to connect with us.

Connect with Program Staff

If you have remaining program-specific questions, reach out to the HDP Program Administrator, Mandy Farhoodi-Moberger.