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People face different challenges and require different types of interventions when they are three years of age than at 60. What are those challenges? How are we different as kids, adolescents or senior citizens? And how can we help people to thrive and throughout the lifespan?

These are some of the questions you will address as an MSU Denver Human Development major.

Human Development is an interdisciplinary degree program that combines the study of psychology, sociology, education and other disciplines to give you an understanding of human development from infancy through old age.

The Human Development program available on campus and online, offers several specific course options designed to prepare you for careers working with people. Through small, dynamic empirically-based classes and experiences such as internships, teaching and research assistantships you will acquire both the knowledge and skills necessary to begin a career or pursue graduate studies.

Students can also choose to complete the Human Development and Family Studies Major and Minor online and enjoy the convenience and flexibility of online courses. These courses are taught by MSU Denver’s award-winning faculty and offer the same rigor and standards as courses taught on campus.

Program Options

MSU Denver offers the following choices for students interested in Human Development and Family Studies:

Benefits of Earning Your Degree at MSU Denver

Take advantage of the opportunity you’ll have as an MSU Denver Human Development major to conduct research and complete a senior thesis. These are some recent thesis titles students presented at MSU Denver’s Undergraduate Research Conference:

  • 21st Century College Readiness Center Out-of-School Research
  • Understanding Education and Health Trends in Homeless Youth
  • The Challenges of Transitioning into Adulthood
  • Stressed and Depressed: The Role of Self Compassion in College Students’ Well Being

Career Opportunities for Our Graduates

image of human development careers

The Human Development degree offers a variety of career paths, working with people from their earliest to their latest years.

From becoming early childhood and elementary-age teachers to working in eldercare or pursuing graduate study, the Human Development major offers opportunities for you to customize your degree and future career by choosing the concentration that matches your interest.

Learn More.

Hear from our students:

"The courses in human development provide a breadth of knowledge in an array of developmental domains and give you experience with conducting research, scientific writing and presenting research. MSU Denver also has many opportunities for extracurricular research and development—such as research assistantships, independent research and clubs—that are not often offered to undergraduates at larger universities."

—Kristin Broussard, MSU Denver ’13, is working on a Ph.D. in psychology at Saint Louis University.


Lisa Badanes_Human DevelopmentLisa Badanes

Assistant Professor Lisa Badanes looks at how different characteristics of children such as their personalities and their environments affect how they physically respond to stress. How kids respond differently to stress may have an affect on whether they might be at greater risk for emotional, learning and behavioral problems.



Lisa Hagan_Human DevelopmentLisa Hagan

Professor Lisa Hagan is an expert in infant attachment, child cognitive development, how children develop gender roles and the use of psychological theory in education.





Alumni at Work

MSU Denver Human Development alumni have been hired by these organizations:

  • Denver Public Schools, elementary school teacher
  • Excelsior Youth Center (EYC), counselor
  • Carmel Community Living Corporation, case manager
  • Touchstone Health Partners, therapist
  • Federation of Families for Children’s Mental Health, family advocate
  • Jefferson County Human Services, grant coordinator

Human Development graduates have been accepted for post-graduate study at:

  • Colorado State University, Human Development Ph.D.
  • University of Denver, Child Clinical Psychology Ph.D.
  • Northeastern University, Counseling M.A.
  • Colorado Christian University, Counseling M.A.
  • Saint Louis University, Psychology Ph.D.

Sample Classes

Image of students in Human Development class

MSU Denver offers a wide array of Human Development classes that encompass not only psychology courses but also courses that are cross-listed with Women’s and Intercultural Studies.

  • Psychology of Social Development
  • Cognitive Development and Learning
  • Psychology of Human Development
  • Child Psychopathology
  • Infancy
  • Psychology of Adolescence
  • Child Psychology
  • Parenting Across the Lifespan

Learn more about the Human Development curriculum and concentrations.

Facilities and Resources

Located in downtown Denver, MSU Denver's campus will give you access to service-learning and internship experiences at nearby nonprofits and government agencies.

As an MSU Denver Human Development student you will study in the Plaza Building, which houses modern resources that include a computer lab, observation rooms, state-of-the-art media equipment and meeting spaces. 


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