Human Development

Interdisciplinary Major or Minor
(Bachelor of Science)

Professors – Illene Cupit, Regan A.R. Gurung, Dean Von Dras, Julia Wallace
Associate Professors – Denise Bartell, Kathleen Burns (chair), Jennifer Lanter, Dennis N. Lorenz, Ryan Martin, Christine Smith, Kristin Vespia, Georjeanna Wilson-Doenges
Assistant Professors – Jenell Holstead, Deirdre Radosevich, Jill White

Human Development is a broad-based interdisciplinary major that explores human growth and change as a lifelong process which a) involves biological, cognitive, emotional, social and moral development, and b) occurs in multiple contexts. It examines the factors that promote healthy development, as well as variations from the norm. Consistent with the interdisciplinary focus of UW-Green Bay, Human Development is a liberal arts program that works to integrate the contributions of psychologists, biologists, anthropologists, sociologists, and scholars from other fields to improve our understanding of the life cycle. Students have opportunities to apply knowledge and to practice the integration of information and methods from different disciplines.

Students follow an introduction to the major with courses that first advance the major’s learning objectives of developing basic skills such as informational literacy, research skills, and learning about diverse contexts. Next, students choose courses from the different disciplines (e.g., biology, anthropology, sociology) that contribute to the field of human development. Students also pursue in-depth studies of the core phases of development before taking advanced courses in specific areas of the field (e.g., family, gender, and cross-cultural development). Students select these upper-level electives based, at least in part, on their particular career goals.

One particular advantage of the Human Development program is the opportunity for undergraduate students to gain practical experience, and many work with faculty on independent research projects or as research assistants or teaching assistants. Human Development also strives to educate students who are committed to and engaged in their communities. Therefore, students are strongly encouraged to seek applied experience through an internship in an approved community agency, part-time employment, or volunteer work. Such experiences are beneficial when entering the job market or seeking admission to graduate and professional schools.

Human Development is a suitable major or minor for students who plan a career that involves working with people and helping to solve human problems. Career possibilities are varied because of the knowledge students gain, along with the communication, critical thinking, research, and application skills they acquire in a liberal arts major. There are many options in human service, business, and educational settings. Alumni have worked in domestic violence shelters, for non-profit advocacy groups, in sales and customer service, and both with young children in preschools and with adults seeking admission to college. They have also pursued graduate studies in diverse fields, including human development and family studies, higher education or student affairs, law, marriage and family therapy, and more. Admission to graduate school is highly selective and requires a student to have very strong academic credentials. Students with these interests should plan their programs carefully with their advisers in order to select courses and experiences that maximize their competitiveness and be as prepared as possible to apply to graduate school.

Although a minor is not required to graduate with a Human Development major, minors or double majors in such areas as Public and Environmental Affairs, Business Administration, Women’s and Gender Studies, and Psychology may be helpful complements in preparing for specific objectives. Faculty advisers can help students tailor their choice of academic plan and electives to their individual career goals. More detailed information about both career and graduate school options for Human Development students can be found on the department website:

Human Development Minor
The Human Development minor adds a broad, interdisciplinary component to traditional social science majors such as Psychology and to other interdisciplinary majors such as Human Biology, Design Arts, Arts Management, and Democracy and Justice Studies. For students who major in professional programs such as Education, Social Work, or Business Administration, the minor adds a strong developmental focus to their programs of study.