What a “Human Development Major” Means

Human Development focuses on the biological, psychological, physical, social, and environmental aspects that shape a human’s growth. Social roles in institutions such as schools, workplaces, family, religion, neighborhoods, and their influences on individuals are also studied.

As stated on the Cornell Website, this major allows students to:
Learn how to translate ideas effectively across disciplinary contexts, such as:  biology and psychology; psychology and sociology; social science and medicine; or health and public policy.”

Through personal experience, becoming familiar with the Human Development content can also serve as a catalyst for your personal growth. Learning about the various internal and external factors that has shaped society, and the different ways people react to these factors can make you reflect on your own personal journey.

Course Examples

This year I enrolled in courses such as, “Human Development: Infancy and Childhood, Adolescence and Emerging Adulthood, and Self-Regulation Across the Lifespan.” A list of courses can be found on this Cornell website by clicking on the “Degree Requirements, Curriculum Sheets” tab.These courses explain the social, biological, and cognitive transitions that a person undergoes throughout different stages of their life. Renown Theoretical perspectives include (but are not limited to):

Examples of Careers that can be Pursued

  • Medicine and other health careers such as physical therapy and dentistry
  • Public health and health administration
  • Clinical psychology, counseling psychology, Substance abuse therapist, and family therapy
  • Research and teaching at universities, in areas such as human development, psychology and sociology
  • Law
  • Public Policy
  • Social work
  • Teaching and educational careers
  • Business and non-profit organizations
  • Public Relations, Human Resources, and marketing

The Importance of a Human Development Major

The Human Development major is an interdisciplinary approach that is designed for you to “translate ideas effectively”. An alumni mentioned during a Q&A session that her experience in medical school was enhanced greatly because she not only understood the “concrete” aspects of medicine, but understood the abstract concepts of working in the medical field.

With enough studying, individuals have the capacity to learn factual content from textbooks. However, the HD Major not only encourages this studying, but it also encourages you to learn how to think critically, comprehend ethical behavior across settings, and work effectively with others. Human Development carries abstractedness in the sense that a medical, engineering, academia, finance, law, or any professional will walk out with empathy and a greater understanding for human behavior, which can never be of abundance in this world.