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Potential Career Fields

Career options within HDS are diverse.  The most common unifiying interest among our students is a strong desire to work with people to improve their life. Given the interdisciplinary scope of our curriculum, HDS provides an excellent preparation for this goal, preparing students interested in advanced postgraduate study at the frontiers of several social science disciplines, or in careers and professions that require a broad and integrated understanding of human experience and behavior—e.g. health care, rehabilitation, mental health, education, social work, or human resource and organizational work in community or corporate settings. 

Career paths

With the proper combination of academic preparation, internship, extra curricular activities, and work experience, HDS graduates excel in many fields. Review the below sections for information on specific career paths and necessary preparation

Health & Medicine

The field of healthcare is strongly tied to human development, from pediatrics to gerontology. With a strong understanding of development, health care professionals can predict the types of routine care needed at each stage of a person’s life-span, enabling them to keep their patients as healthy as possible.

Career profiles in Healthcare

Therapy & Rehabilitation

Because therapy and rehabilitation deals with helping people to acquire skills or recover from injury, an understanding of development is key to assessing how recovery will impact an individual’s life. The age of the individual, and the age of onset, can often determine the extent to which a patient can recover and live independently

Career profiles in Rehabilitation

Behavioral Health

Changes across the life-span in childhood, adolescence, adulthood, and the elderly can present challenges to an individual’s emotional, behavioral, intellectual, and developmental well being. Knowing something about how people develop over time thus helps us to place behavioral problems and illnesses into context, and also suggests ways that problems can be addressed.

Career profiles in Behavioral Health

Social Services & Public Policy

Social and Public Service provide a very direct, applied approach to supporting positive social development, both individually and within communities. People with a developmental background have an excellent understanding of the type of services needed for individuals, families, and the community in order to foster healthy environments for people to learn and grow. Positions within this field can be “hands-on” or more of a managment or even research role, such as public health, public policy, or government.

Career profiles in Service and Policy


Learning and acquiring knowledge is inherently developmental: from learning to use language, to forming cognitive relationships in infancy, to learning to read and write. It is a life-span process and influences the ability to acquire new knowledge and skills. One of the advantages to studying human development is that development seeks to answer the mechanisms by which we learn, rather than just instruction in “how to” teach.

Career profiles in Education

Business, Communication, and Marketing

Jobs in this area, rather than directly delivering a service like patient care, support those services through business management and distribution of information and services to target demographics within these fields. Supporting work in health and human services requires a broad understanding of the needs for that service, and the specific populations it targets, as well as practical experience.

Career profiles in Business, Communication, and Marketing