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Information on Master’s Degree Programs in Human Development

Majors Overview November 18, 2015

This article talks about master’s degree programs in human development and their education requirements, degree types, coursework, career choices, and continuing education choices.

Information on Master’s Degree Programs in Human Development

Schools offer many options for students seeking a master’s degree in human development, including fields of study such as social services and early childhood education. A bachelor’s degree is a prerequisite for most programs, although work experience may be acceptable at some schools in place of a degree. Full-time students can complete these programs within two years.

Students study the social, biological, and psychological aspects of human development. The emphasis of some programs is on education while others focus on the social sciences or scientific study. Courses can differ in accordance with the focus of the program; however, common coursework may cover topic areas such as legislation related to human development, language development, aging, and health education. In most programs, there is an emphasis on research and a capstone project and/or a thesis may be required to be completed by enrollees.

Master’s Programs in Human Development

Enrolled students in human development master’s programs may be allowed to specialize in educational leadership, social services or early childhood education. They’ll learn about emotional, biological, psychological and sociological factors of human development. To meet capstone requirements, students may get busy researching internships, completing a master’s thesis or a professional portfolio. The program may last two years for part-time enrollees.

Education Requirements

Admission criteria typically require incoming students to hold a bachelor’s degree, preferably in educational or developmental psychology. Students with significant prior work experience may waive the bachelor’s degree requirement at some schools.

Degree Types

A Master of Science (M.S.), Master of Arts (M.A.) or Master of Education (M.Ed.) in Human Development may be available to students. A Master of Education (M.Ed.) program may appeal to those seeking a focus on adolescent and child development as related to education. The general emphasis of an MA program is in social sciences. Enrolled students in an MA program in Human Development can expect to gain theoretical competencies. The focus of most master’s degree programs in human development is on research, an MS program has scientific methodologies as its core focus.

Coursework

Program coursework in an MS program may cover health behavior studies, the focus of an MA program may be on social, cognitive, and biological development. The study of psychological foundations of development and education may be in a Master of Education (M.Ed.) program. Core coursework may cover topic areas such as:

•Research methods in human development
•Development of Cultures
•Gender and relationships
•Working with families in a diverse world
•Language and literacy development
•Development of social cognition and moral judgment
•Human development’s policy and legislation
•Prevention practice and science
•Promoting optimal aging

Career Choices

Program graduates might aspire for jobs involving the provision of counseling services to adolescents, adults, and children in the areas of advocacy, human service, or evaluation. They may seek jobs with universities, research institutions, health organizations, or government agencies. They may choose from numerous possible career options, such as:

•Family life educator
•Parent educator
•Postsecondary teacher
•Research scientist
•Prevention Coordinator

Continuing Education Choices

Program graduates who seek continuing education may pursue a Ph.D. program in areas such as Developmental Sciences and Educational Psychology. They may also pursue related areas of study at the doctoral level such as public health, public policy, and medicine.

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In 2017, workers with a bachelor's degree or higher had almost twice as much
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