What Is a Human Development Major

The college major in human development is a multidisciplinary program, which is why there are plenty of career opportunities available for graduates.

In the United States, the average annual salary of individuals with a bachelor’s degree in human development is $38,532. The best-paid 10% of them make more than $65,000 per year.

Armed with a human development degree, you can work as an educator, researcher, social worker, and others.

It will depend on your career goal and your chosen concentration.

For instance, at California State University – San Marcos, which is ranked #39 in Regional Universities West by US News, human development majors can choose from 4 concentrations.

In this post, I will discuss a lot of the most important things you need to know about the said undergraduate major, from what sort of students major in it to whether or not it’s a hard major.

human development class

What Kind of Students Major in Human Development?

The human development major is recommended for students who are interested in various disciplines ranging from sociology, psychology to communications.

Majoring in human development is also suited for undergraduate students who prefer a degree program with internship and practicum opportunities.

Naturally, it’s a must that you are curious and fascinated with the developmental process in humans if you want to succeed as a human development major and a professional.

It’s the right major for you if you want to specialize in an interdisciplinary study involving the likes of:

  • Anthropology
  • Biology
  • Communications
  • Education
  • Ethics
  • Family science
  • Genetics
  • Gerontology
  • Medicine
  • Psychology
  • Sociology

As earlier mentioned, a bachelor’s degree program in human development typically involves internships and practicum.

This means that students are provided with the opportunity to put theories into practice and obtain real-work experience, commonly at local organizations where they can provide support and services.

Is Human Development a Boring Major?

Being an interdisciplinary major, human development is far from being boring.

This is especially true for college students who are interested in the discipline and looking forward to taking career paths in related fields. Human development is usually exciting for students who love social sciences.

One of the things that make majoring in human development engaging is that undergraduate students can choose from a variety of areas of emphasis, the number of which can depend on the program or college or university.

Some common examples of human development specializations are:

  • Adulthood, aging and gerontology
  • Child and adolescent development
  • Couples, parents and families
  • Creative arts therapy
  • Diversity and culture
  • Early childhood education and development
  • Family studies
  • Health, well-being and prevention

If you have already set a definite path for your college education or career after graduation, see to it that you check out the bachelor’s degree program in human development being offered by the school you are eyeing.

Such is to ensure that the particular area or discipline you wish to concentrate in is available.

college student studying

Is Human Development Major Hard?

Majoring in human development covers a lot of topics across numerous disciplines in order to have an in-depth exploration and understanding of the developmental process in humans.

Therefore, it can be a tough major for degree-seeking students who are not particularly fond of biological and social sciences.

As mentioned earlier, human development is something that’s multidisciplinary.

It goes without saying that you should expect to encounter various disciplines of study while working on your bachelor’s degree program.

Here are some core courses human development majors must take in order to graduate:

  • Administration in human service settings
  • Human development in adolescence
  • Human development in adulthood
  • Human development in childhood
  • Human development in perspective
  • Family financial management
  • Theories of human development

Besides the core courses, college students who are majoring in human development must also take electives, the number of which can vary from one institution to the next.

Some examples of upper-division electives human development majors can choose from are:

  • Applications in child and youth development
  • Biology of aging
  • Biology of human reproduction
  • Cultural anthropology
  • Ecological systems perspectives on human development
  • Elementary statistics
  • General psychology
  • Introduction to bioethics
  • Natural history of infectious diseases
  • Research methods in human development
  • The human brain and diseases
  • Youth violence

Top 5 Human Development Careers

Majoring in human development prepares undergraduate students for jobs that entail interaction with people and, in most instances, providing them with some assistance.

A bachelor’s in human development also fulfills the requirement for advanced degrees necessary for more professional opportunities.

People persons are more likely to complete a bachelor’s degree program in human development as well as succeed and find satisfaction in their respective careers related to the discipline.

The following are just some of the things that you can do with a human development major:

social worker

1. Social worker

  • Median annual salary: $50,390
  • Job outlook in 10 years: 12%

Many entry-level social worker job positions are available for human development majors. What they do is help the individual members of the family and the community cope with problems as well as how to keep them at bay.

2. Rehabilitation counselor

  • Median annual salary: $38,560
  • Job outlook in 10 years: 10%

Helping individuals with mental, physical and developmental disabilities to live independently — such is the primary role of rehabilitation counselors. However, the services they may provide may be limited unless they earn a master’s.

3. Special education teacher

  • Median annual salary: $61,820
  • Job outlook in 10 years: 8%

In a nutshell, special education teachers work with students who have learning disabilities. Typically, however, public institutions require special education teachers to have a state-issued license or certification.

HR manager

4. Human resources specialist

  • Median annual salary: $62,290
  • Job outlook in 10 years: 10%

Because of the skills they obtain in college, human development majors can qualify as human resources specialists, who are tasked with recruiting, screening, interviewing and hiring employees.

5. Survey researcher

  • Median annual salary: $59,740
  • Job outlook in 10 years: 4%

As the job title suggests, survey researchers are those who design and conduct surveys as well as organize and analyze data obtained. Most survey research positions available for undergraduate students are entry-level.

Best Colleges for Human Development Majors

More often than not, the best colleges and universities for human development majors are those that are also known to offer excellent degree programs in psychology.

Most of them are state schools with cheaper tuition for residents. Online bachelor’s degree programs in human development are available, too.

Currently building a college list? Check which of the following colleges and universities with human development programs would make for wonderful additions to it:

Cornell University$78,992
University of Texas – Austin$28,928 (in-state) and $57,512 (out-of-state)
University of Georgia$27,658 (in-state) and $46,698 (out-of-state)
University of Wisconsin$27,158 (in-state) and $55,046 (out-of-state)
Virginia Tech$27,755 (in-state) and $46,295 (out-of-state)
University of Illinois – Urbana-Champaign$31,102 (in-state) and $48,552 (out-of-state)
Purdue University$22,782 (in-state) and $41,584 (out-of-state)
Florida State University$23,126 (in-state) and $35,644 (out-of-state)
Pennsylvania State University$37,396 (in-state) and $54,460 (out-of-state)
Ohio State University$28,664 (in-state) and $50,648 (out-of-state)
Best Colleges for Human Developement Degree

For working adults who are planning on getting their hands on a bachelor’s degree in human development either for changing career paths or job promotion purposes, they can always attend an online school offering it. They just have to make sure that the ones they are about to go to are fully accredited institutions.

Check, too, that the classes, whether hybrid or purely online, go well with your schedule or preferences.

If you are on the hunt for an online school, here’s a listing of some traditional colleges and universities with online campuses where you may inquire about majoring in human development online:

  • California State University – East Bay
  • Colorado State University
  • Maryville University
  • Pacific Oaks College
  • University of North Carolina at Greensboro

Is Human Development a Good Major?

Human development is a major ideal for degree-seeking students who want to work as researchers, social workers, counselors and educators.

They are also suited for those who plan on eventually earning a master’s degree in order to work further in human services, management, education, advocacies and others.

Is human development considered a pre-med?

Because studying a bachelor’s degree program in human development involves biology and research methods, it can be considered a pre-med.

However, students who intend on attending medical schools should first check the requirements so that they may be able to take the right courses.

Is there an associate degree in human development?

An associate degree in human development can be obtained at many community colleges and even some four-year institutions with associate degree programs.

It combines academic and practical experiences in order to prepare students for entry-level jobs in the human services arena.

Read Next: Is Child Development a Good Major?

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent those of the College Reality Check.

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