What Can You Do With a Human Development Major?

A human development major explores the social, cultural, biological, and psychological aspects of human growth. Students with a bachelor's degree in human development may choose to enter the human services workforce or continue on to graduate school in a variety of related fields. View article »

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  • 0:04 Career Options
  • 1:07 Salary
  • 1:44 Degree Programs
  • 2:38 Continuing Education

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Video Transcript

Career Options

A human development major provides the educational background that may lead to an array of careers ranging from psychology to public policy. Students may tailor their class choices and continuing education decisions to best suit the industry they're most interested in joining. As a human development major, there are a variety of options for those who have obtained a bachelor's degree in human development, as the curriculum covers a wide range of topics. It may be beneficial to choose a career path early on in order to choose appropriate classes and hone the skills needed in that particular field. Human development graduates are prepared to enter a variety of service-oriented fields, such as:

  • Psychology
  • Public health
  • Public policy
  • Child care
  • Criminal justice
  • Social work

Common employers of human development graduates include:

  • Non-profit organizations
  • School districts
  • Colleges and universities
  • State and local government agencies
  • Federal government agencies
  • Hospitals


The compensation benefits for human development majors will vary depending on the industry and position. Here are some median salaries for common careers graduates of human development programs may pursue.

Figures reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) as of May 2015:

  • Social workers: $45,900
  • Childcare workers: $20,320
  • Community health workers: $43,840
  • Community service managers: $63,530

Find schools that offer these popular programs

  • Adult Development and Aging
  • Child Care Management
  • Child Care Services
  • Child Development
  • Community Organization and Advocacy
  • Family and Community Services
  • Family Systems
  • Human Development and Family Studies
  • Social Work
  • Youth Services

Degree Programs

Human development is an interdisciplinary major that studies the biological, psychological, sociological, and cultural characteristics of human growth over the lifespan. Students investigate the interrelationship between the biological, psychological, and socio-cultural processes that have an effect on human development and the evolution of culture. Coursework for this major typically includes:

  • Anthropology
  • Biology
  • Psychology
  • Gerontology
  • Ethnic studies
  • Sociology

Students study topics such as the biological basis of human, language, and neurological development. Cognitive change and social cognition development are also covered. Additional topics typically involve genetics, embryology, perspectives on intelligence, psychology of sexuality, adolescence, parenting, and aging.

Continuing Education

Human development majors also prepare students for graduate school. Students can continue their education by earning a master's degree in fields such as marriage, family, and child counseling; psychology; anthropology; women's studies; social work; and education, among several others. Depending on the career path a human development major takes, obtaining a master's degree in this or a closely-related field may be required for certain positions, including:

  • Guidance counselor
  • Education administrator
  • Lawyer
  • Speech therapist
  • Substance abuse therapist

To recap, in a human development degree program you will study topics that include human development, social cognition, and psychology. After completion of this program, you may go on to further your education in graduate school or pursue a career in public policy, criminal justice, social work, or many other related fields. The most frequent employers for those with this background include hospitals, schools, and non-profit organizations.

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