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Human Development and Social Policy

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The Human Development and Social Policy Master's Degree, offered by the Family and Consumer Studies Department, involves research and study on important polices and issues in the family, community and social life. In the two-year master's program, students learn the conceptual and research uses of an ecological (interdependence of people and institutions) approach.

Students can choose to complete a master's thesis or a master's project. A master's thesis involves a research study enabling students to gain in-depth understanding of researching methods and how research can benefit society. The master's project option involves a project that could be, but is not limited to, an analysis of the literature on a specific topic, an internship culminating in a project, designing a program, developing curriculum materials, a community-based project, or completion of a graduate certificate. With both the thesis or project option, students can understand and improve the quality of life for individuals, families, and communities.

Only a few students are admitted each year, so that students can benefit from close association with faculty. Faculty members hold degrees in a range of disciplines, such as economics, human development & family studies, psychology, and sociology, which allows students to benefit from a broad interdisciplinary curriculum. Faculty members hold a wide range of awards and honors for their excellence in teaching, research, and service.

Areas of specialty for courses and faculty research typically span these two areas:

  • Human Development & Family Studies
  • Consumer & Community Studies

Graduate students may also be interested the following programs:

Child Life Track 
Demography Certificate 
Disability Studies Certificate 
Gerontology Certificate

Why an interdisciplinary approach to Human Development & Social Policy?

The faculty members believe that many important issues and problems in society cannot be understood or solved by relying on one traditional academic discipline. Instead, complex societal goals, such as healthy child development, safe neighborhoods, or poverty alleviation, require the combined strengths little disciplines. Research from an ecological perspective often uses multiple disciplinary approaches, focuses on families and communities in natural settings, and focuses on policies or practices that are important to quality of life.

Course Work:

Click here to see the requirements.

Financial Aid:

Many of our students have teaching or research assistant jobs that pay a yearly stipend and provide partial tuition in exchange for assistance with faculty research or teaching.

Graduates have pursued the following careers:

Policy Development
Providers of services
Planners, administrators, and evaluators of services
Advocates for families and communities
Continuing education for a Ph.D. degree in a variety of programs

Contact Information

Graduate Director: Jessie Fan phone: 801-581-4170  
Last Updated: 7/18/18