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Department of Education and Community Studies

Human Development and Human Services Major

Are you interested in the various factors that shape an individual’s life? Do you want to make a positive impact on children, families, and communities?

Then consider pursuing a major in Human Development and Human Services. With this major, you will:

  • Understand factors that contribute to stability and change across the lifespan
  • Understand how individuals, families and communities influence one another
  • Learn to be a critical consumer of information to guide decisions in your future career
  • Learn how to apply this knowledge to improve the lives of individuals, families, and communities

Hands-On Learning

You’ll have the opportunity to get hands-on by writing your senior thesis or completing a field experience. It’s your chance to take what you’ve learned at Merrimack and put it into practice while benefiting your community.

Career Options

Upon successful completion of the human development and human services program, you’ll be well-equipped to make an impact for the public good in a wide variety of career fields including nonprofit, community-based and after-school programs. Or apply to a fellowship or graduate program to deepen your knowledge. Positions may include:

  • Community involvement coordinator
  • Community services administrator
  • Guidance counselor
  • Learning and development director
  • Nonprofit social services liaison
  • Organizational learning specialist
  • Social work case manager 

What You’ll Take

Human development and human services majors take a combination of required and elective courses to satisfy the 48-credit course requirement for the department out of the total 124 credits required for a diploma. To graduate with a degree in human development and human services, you must maintain a GPA of at least 3.0 in your selected courses.

Courses in the School of Education and Social Policy are scheduled to account for instructional time that is commensurate with credits earned.

Required Courses

All human development and human services majors must take the following seven courses:

BIO 1106

Human Biology (Fulfills STEM in LS Core)

EDU 2130

Diversity, Social Justice, & Ethics
(fulfills D and E in LS Core)

EDU 3210

Psychology of Learning & Assessment
(fulfills X in LS Core)

EDU 4220

Differentiation & Inclusion

EDU 4221

Strategies for Group Management

HDE 1000

Introduction to Human Development

HDE 2000W

Research Methods & App. Stats.
(fulfills W and Q in LS Core) 

Developmental Progressions and Processes: Choose Three

EDU 2210

Child and Adolescent Development

EDU 2230

Applied Adolescent Psychology
(fulfills X in LS Core)

EDU 2240

Adult Development

EDU 3200

Language & Social Processes

EDU 4500

Language Acquisition and Literacy Curriculum Development

PSY 3310

Development of Intelligence / Thinking
(fulfills SOSC in LS Core)

PSY 3340               

Developmental Psychopathology
(fulfills SOSC in LS Core)

PSY 3380

Psychology of Aging
(fulfills SOSC in LS Core)

SOC 3850

Sociology of Aging
(fulfills SOSC in LS Core) 

Then, select your electives and your Capstone Project:

Electives: Choose Two

Tailor your academic experience by selecting two electives from the following options:

CRM 2000              

Youth, Deviance and Crime
(fulfills SOSC and D in LS Core)

EDU 3620

Cultural Diversity in the Schools
(fulfills D and X in LS Core)

HDE 4260

Introduction to Counseling Across Professions

EDU 4480

Critical Ed: Theory, Literacy and Pedagogy
(fulfills D in LS Core)

PSY 3250

Cultural Psychology
(fulfills SOSC and D in LS Core)

SOC 3330

Racial and Ethnic Minorities
(fulfills D and SOSC in LS Core)

SOC 3450

Sociology of the Family
(fulfills SOSC in LS Core) 

WGS 1010

Gender and Society
(fulfills SOSC and D in LS Core) 

WGS 2010

Introduction to Ethnic Studies
(fulfills SOSC and D in LS Core)

Capstone: Choose One

You can focus on research or choose field experience to build on your academic foundation:

Senior Thesis

Senior Thesis — Directed Research

HDE 4850

Field Experience (4 credits)

HDE 4851       

Field Experience (8 credits)


More Info  

Deborah Margolis
Associate Professor and Chair,

Education & Community Studies

Director, Human Development 


Karla Pingeton
Assistant to the Dean


Isabelle D. Cherney

Dean and Professor