The primary objective of the Department of Human Development is to provide education and training for innovative careers in teaching, social services, human resource management, recreation, medicine, and law—just to name a few. Some students, after earning their B.A. in Human Development, go to graduate school, pursuing masters and doctorate degrees in applied human development, anthropology, counseling, criminal justice, developmental psychology, gerontology, law, medicine, nursing, occupational therapy, physical therapy, physician assistant studies, public health, school psychology, social work, and theology. Others proceed directly into the work force.
We can serve students with wide ranging career interests because the Human Development major is flexible, allowing students to choose from a variety of courses in the Foundation areas (i.e., Biological, Psychological, and Sociocultural) that best suit their career plans. Students interested in gerontology, for example, may choose to take courses such as Biology of Human Aging (BIOL 401) Perspectives on Gerontology (GERN 400I), and Culture of Aging (ANTH 454) as their Foundation Area courses. Career options, therefore, are tied in part to course selection.
Many students utilize the flexibility of the Human Development major to earn certificates in Gerontology or Child Development along with their B.A., enhancing their chances for meaningful employment in these fields. Others have taken Education courses for their Specialization, completing some of the requirements for a Teaching Credential as part of their B.A. Students interested in Human Resource Management have specialized in business, whereas those planning a career in medicine have focused on health-related coursework, such as prerequisites for Physical Therapy or Physician’s Assistant.
Career preparation occurs both inside and outside of the classroom. In terms of coursework, applied issues are raised in all Human Development courses, with time devoted to practicing the real-world application of theories and research. In addition, as part of the course requirements, all students take the Seminar/Practicum (HDEV 470), where students intern for one semester in a field of their choice. Outside of the classroom, students are encouraged to get involved in faculty research. Students who are considering graduate school have the opportunity to work as research assistants on a variety of projects and can help present findings of those projects at professional conferences. Students are also invited to join the Human Development Student Association (HDSA) and the Human Development Honors Association.