Psychology and Human Development

Why Psychology and Human Development?

  • Deepen your understanding of complex social issues
  • Engage in positive social change
  • Apply theory to practice
  • Hands-on experience working with children and families
  • Understand complex social and cultural issues

Why Wheelock?

  • Field experience during your first semester
  • Opportunities to engage in independent study, research, and community-based service learning
  • Versatile major that complements Wheelock's professional majors

Are you interested in understanding how children, adolescents, and adults think? How we emotionally develop and learn? The role of ethnicity and gender in shaping who we are? Are you concerned about the influence of the media on children? do you wonder how changing social and cultural contexts affect individuals? do you want to understand human behavior? Psychology and Human Development offers a broad array of courses with an emphasis on children and families in relation to culture.

This major explores such fundamental questions by learning about human development from multiple perspectives. Students utilize psychology, sociology, and anthropology to study how humans relate to one another, and how individuals and groups change. You will delve into topics such as child and adolescent development, cultural dynamics of globalization, children's rights, family policies, and racial identity.

Program Options

The major's three focus areas are designed to address the interests and professional needs of our students and graduates:

  • Counseling Psychology: Investigate topics related to mental health and counseling, particularly with regard to human development and diversity.
  • Developmental Psychology: Study the cognitive, social, motivational and emotional changes that occur in the individual across the lifespan.
  • Children, Families and Culture: Analyze the diversity of childhoods and families worldwide within the contexts of anthropology and sociology.

Psychology and Human Development is an arts and sciences major that may be combined with a professional major in Early Childhood Education, Elementary Education, Juvenile Justice and Youth Advocacy, Social Work, or Special Education. If you are accepted into the dual-degree program leading to a master's in Child Life, you may choose Psychology and Human Development as your undergraduate major. A minor is also available.

Pathways to Graduate Study

The department has instituted two new special partnerships that create pathways to graduate study:

Opportunities for Community-Based Learning

Field experience starts in your first semester. You'll have the opportunity to observe human behavior and development firsthand in settings throughout Greater Boston. Potential field sites include early childhood learning centers, community centers, Head Start programs, hospitals and human service agencies. You can also pursue individual interests through independent study projects and research with faculty.

Acquiring a Unique Skill Set

Our program stresses a) understanding and interacting with diverse cultures and groups, and b) working effectively with children and families. This dual focus sets us apart in the field. In addition, you'll develop leadership, critical thinking, mediation, research, and other valuable skills.

Preparing for the Future

With its emphasis on development, Psychology and Human Development complements professional preparation for the fields of teaching, social work, child life and more. The major is also recommended for students interested in pursuing graduate study in related areas.

inspire a world of good

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