Top Schools for Human Development and Family Studies

Jan 08, 2020

Learn about degree programs in human development and family science, including levels of study and areas of concentration. See what four schools have to offer in terms of awards and reputation, and discover other top schools in the country that have programs in human development and family science.

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School Overviews

Several of the nation's top institutions offer degree programs in human development and family studies. Students can typically choose among various concentrations, with intersections in education, psychology, and social science. A formal study of human development and family studies may lead to an undergraduate or a graduate degree. Concentrations might include early child development, child to adult transitions, adult relationships, and senior development. Let's discuss four top schools, including an Ivy League school, a private school, and two public research universities. Each offers master's and doctoral degrees in human development or a similar field of study.

Harvard University in Cambridge, MA

Harvard University, an Ivy League school, is not only the nation's oldest university, it also placed as the second best university in the nation and second best education school in U.S. News and World Report's 2020 edition. Harvard's School of Education also offers a Child Advocacy Strand, featuring a year long internship working with child advocacy.

The Graduate School of Education offers a human development and psychology program, which may appeal to students interested in human development and family studies. Areas of research and coursework can include topics in diversity, literacy, emotional development, and language. The program awards a Master of Education in Human Development and Psychology.

University of Minnesota

The University of Minnesota - Twin Cities is a research-based institution that ranked 27th among the best public schools in the nation in 2020, according to U.S. News and World Report. Graduate students in the Department of Family Science can choose to pursue an Master of Arts with either a thesis or a community service project, as well as an advanced practitioner Master of Education. Students may also pursue a Bachelor of Science (B.S.), Master of Arts (M.A.), or Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Family Social Science. A marriage and family therapy program is offered in conjunction with the Ph.D. program. A graduate minor in family policy is also available, which can be completed with either the master's or Ph.D. program.

The Institute of Child Development offers a Ph.D. in human development for students interested in this particular area of study. The institute sponsors the Shirley G. Moore Laboratory School, which offers research, study, and early childhood education programs. While learning how to work with young children, future teachers may also have the opportunity to observe them in an active environment.

University of Texas in Austin, TX

The University of Texas at Austin is a large research university that U.S. News and World Report ranked tied for 14th among top public schools and tied 48th among national universities in 2020. Ph.D. candidates have access to a number of research resources, including the Priscilla Pond Flawn Child and Family Laboratory. The Department of Human Development and Family Sciences is located in the university's School of Human Ecology, where undergraduates may pursue a Bachelor of Science in one of five tracks. These include family sciences and general human development, familial and personal relationships, the relationship between families and society, human development, or early childhood. While the department does not have an master's program, it does offer a Ph.D. in human development and family sciences.

New York University in New York, NY

New York University was ranked as the 29th best national university by U.S. News and World Report in 2020. The school is home to the Institute of Human Development and Social Change. The school's Department of Applied Psychology offers a Master of Arts in Human Development and Social Intervention. The program consists of 42 credits and takes about two years to complete full-time. Students can choose from three areas of concentration, including developmental psychology, health, and methodology. Students will also study how race, gender, poverty, and more affect the lives of individuals.

Top Human Development Programs

The following universities also offer top programs in the field:

School Name Distinction Location
Purdue University Offers outreach and training programs, including the Child Development Laboratory Preschool and the Military Family Research Institute West Lafayette, IN
Teacher's College at Columbia University Houses the Education for Thinking project investigates the development of learning and thinking skills New York, NY
University of Arizona Home to the McClelland Institute of Children, Youth and Families Tucson, AZ
University of California in Berkeley Offers a jumpstart undergraduate mentorship program Berkeley, CA
University of Wisconsin in Madison Offers undergraduate major in human development and family studies concentrating in child development or family studies Madison, WI

Undergraduate and graduate degree programs in human development and family studies are available from some top-ranking schools, including Harvard. These programs can be distinguished by the departments that offer them, the diverse areas of study they provide, and the national recognition they merit.

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