This article provides an overview of the masters in human development degree program, some of the subject matters and courses covered in it, and why the degree can be beneficial for significant career advancement. It also presents a high-quality online masters in human development program that you may want to consider.
What Is a Masters in Human Development?
When you study towards a masters in human development, you will look at the psychological, social, and biological aspects of how human beings develop. Depending on where you complete your degree, there will be an emphasis on social sciences, scientific studies, or education, to name but a few. Because the focus can be different, the courses that are taken can vary greatly as well. Aging, health education, human development legislation, and language development, are just a few examples of courses you may need to take. The commonality tends to be that the degree is research-focused and that it will require a capstone or thesis project.
Schools set their own admission requirements but often, a bachelor’s degree in a subject that is relevant to the concentration of the masters in human development program is required. Some schools will even accept work experience, enabling students to commence the degree without completing an undergraduate first. Usually, it takes around two years to complete the masters.
The degree may be a master of science (MS), master of arts (MA), or master of education (M.Ed.). Which degree is right for you will depend on your personal interests and what your aim is for your personal career. The type of degree program that you choose will determine what the core of the program will be. For instance, an M.Ed. will focus on child and adolescent development, and an MA or MS on theoretical competencies will focus on scientific methodologies.
Because of this diversity, it can be difficult to determine the core curriculum of a masters in human development. That said, some of the most popular courses are:
- Legislation and Policy in Human Development
- Development Across Cultures
- Gender and Relationships
- Prevention Science and Practice
- Language and Literacy Development
- Development of Social Cognition and Moral Judgment
Why Earn a Masters in Human Development?
When you earn a masters in human development, you can choose to move on to a doctorate degree. You could choose certain areas, such as public policy, medicine, or public health, for instance. The field of human development is highly complex, drawing multiple disciplines into the degree. This means that the degree also allows you to focus your skills on an area that interests you personally.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) has reported that school and career counselors had a median salary of $54,560 per year as of May 2016. The BLS has also estimated that there will be an 8% increase in demand for these professionals from 2014 to 2024, which is as fast as the national average and will translate into some 22,500 new jobs.
Online Option for Masters in Human Development
George Washington University + Vanderbilt University
If you are interested in getting a masters in human development degree, you may want to consider the Masters Degree in Education and Human Development program offered by George Washington University in partnership with Vanderbilt University. This program is available completely online and Vanderbilt has provided its expertise to ensure that graduates will be able to become licensed school counselors in private P-12 or public settings. The degree is suitable for organizational leaders and mid-career professionals who want to bring about organizational change in the private sector, government, and/or academia. It is available at a variety of schools, including George Washington University.
George Washington University wants to empower the youth to bring about change. Together with Vanderbilt University, they have listed the Master of Arts in Education in Human Development in Secondary Special Education and Transition Services. Graduates are equipped to become leaders in the field of service development for young people who have disabilities, in a variety of settings.
The program has been nationally recognized, including by the U.S. Department of Labor National Collaborative on Workforce & Disability for Youth, and the CEA Advanced Knowledge and Skills Base for Transition Specialist. The emphasis of the degree is on social justice, teaching students about research, legislative requirements, and hands evidence-based practice. An internship is required for completion of the degree.
Graduates are respected for their abilities to inspire young people to take ownership of their own futures. The focus is on the various milestones of growing up, including living alone, postsecondary education, and careers. As such, graduates can develop a youth program that helps today’s communities and families.
The program can be completed in just one year. Graduates are eligible for teacher licensure with special education designation. The focus is strongly on students with behavioral, emotional, and learning disabilities. The program is very hands on, and students are supervised and mentored by experienced staff with real-world experience.
The degree follows a PDS (professional development school) model This means that students can apply what they learn in their own classroom the very next day. George Washington University has partnered not just with Vanderbilt University, but also with a variety of public and private schools, through which students can complete their internships.
To complete the program, students must finish 33 credit hours, as well as a final examination. The core courses are:
- Overview and Legal Issues in Educating Exceptional Leaders
- Research and Practice: Diagnostic Reading for Exceptional Learners
- Curriculum and Instructional Methods in Special Education and Transition
- Introduction to Career and Career-Technical Education and Transition Services
- Issues in Educating Individuals with Learning, Emotional, and Intellectual Disabilities
- Analysis of Teaching and Collaboration for Professionals Working with Students with Disabilities
- Developmental Assessment of Adolescents
- Characteristics of Individuals with Learning, Emotional, and Intellectual Disabilities
- Affective Development and Behavior Management in Special Education
- Behavior Management Practicum: Adolescents with Disabilities
- Teaching Internship in Transition Special Education
Those who obtain this degree will have a wealth of career opportunities available to them. These are available within both the public and non-public schooling systems all over the country. Graduates take on classroom teaching positions, administrative positions, and more, focusing on special education. They become advocates, researchers, consultants, and more. Many also counsel not just their students, but also the students’ families, thereby ensuring that everybody is on board to enable the student to become the best they can be. Common job roles include:
- Program coordinator
- Center director
- Case manager
- Director of services
- Project manager
As you can see, by getting a masters in human development, you can significantly advance your career in education, particularly in the field of special education. You have a great number of degrees to choose from, available through numerous different formats and schools across the country. This means that you will be able to create a degree program that meets your personal interests.
- School and Career Counselors. (2015, Dec. 17). Retrieved from https://www.bls.gov/ooh/community-and-social-service/school-and-career-counselors.htm
- Brasher, J. (2017, Feb. 10). Online graduate-degree programs for educators launched by Vanderbilt University. Retrieved from https://news.vanderbilt.edu/2017/02/10/online-graduate-degree-programs-for-educators-launched-by-vanderbilt/
- Master of Arts in Secondary Special Education & Transition Services. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://online.gwu.edu/master-arts-secondary-special-education-transition-services