In Human Development and Psychology, you will learn how to support healthy development across cultures and across the lifespan, and how to apply this knowledge in schools and other education-related settings.
Knowledge of human development is highly gratifying and valuable in itself; it can also greatly enhance your ability to make a meaningful difference in children’s lives. To run an effective afterschool program for adolescent urban youth, for example, teachers and mentors need to understand the specific challenges of adolescent development as well as cultural variations in child-adult relationships. To operate a successful business or organization, a good manager must work with employees to identify and break down psychological obstacles to change. And what about raising kids? Does our societal emphasis on “happiness” prevent parents and teachers from raising caring, courageous, and ethical children?
In the Human Development and Psychology (HDP) master’s program, you will work closely with an extraordinary faculty comprised of prominent voices in early childhood development, organizational psychology, emotional, cognitive and moral development, trauma and child advocacy, and much more. Students also have opportunities to do internships and research that will enable them to better integrate theory and practice and to become more effective teachers, leaders, researchers, and advocates.
Child Advocacy Strand
In addition to the general HDP Program, we offer a separate Child Advocacy strand that includes a year-long child advocacy internship. This strand is designed not only for students who want to work with individual children and families, but also those who want to influence systemic change on the institutional and policy levels. Interested students should apply directly to the Child Advocacy strand.
Faculty Director Rick Weissbourd on the HDP Program:
The program in Human Development and Psychology has a long history at Harvard and is one of the core programs at the Graduate School of Education. We are passionate about understanding how people develop over time and what that means for schools and other educational settings. We also have a strong interest in the wide variety of contexts in which development occurs.
Researchers in HDP cover a wide range of ages and topics; from early language development, emotional, social and moral development, to the dramatic changes in cognitive skills in early elementary school, to studies of adolescent and adult development. Research focuses on schools in diverse locations and settings in the U.S. as well as development in international contexts. The program offers a variety of perspectives on the complicated nature of developmental change. We think you will find lots of challenging ideas, and we are always open to new perspectives that will challenge us to continue to develop our own thinking.