What You Should Know About This Degree
Human and family development is a broad term that encompasses different areas of study, including early childhood, youth, and adolescent development; gerontology; lifespan development; family studies; counseling, psychology, and more. Regardless of the specific focus area, all of these types of programs are concerned with how humans develop and interact on cognitive, emotional, physical, and other levels.
These programs are ideal for students who want to work with people in support, advocacy or management capacities. However, they generally do not lead to the types of credentials that are needed for some human and social services professions. For example, individuals who are interested in becoming licensed therapists or counselors should seek a master’s in counseling or a master’s in marriage and family therapy program that prepares graduates for professional licensure. Consider your personal interests and career goals, and research what type of educational background is necessary to achieve them.
Many online programs have an experiential learning component that involves working with individuals and groups, even if coursework is delivered online. As you research programs, find out what the specific experiential requirements are, and consider how they will fit into your schedule. If you are already working in a human services setting, you may be able to use regular work hours to fulfill these requirements.
When researching online master’s in human and family development programs, you can ask the following questions:
- Can I pursue the specialization I want? Because human and family development is such a broad field, many master’s in human and family development programs give students the opportunity to concentrate on a particular area. Concentration areas can include gerontology, family science, infant and early childhood mental health. If you are interested in pursuing a specialization, be sure to select a program that will give you that option.
- How are online courses delivered? Online programs are usually delivered one of two ways. In synchronous courses, students attend class remotely at set times. Asynchronous classes are more flexible, as students can access lessons and assignments at any time. Decide which type of delivery method works best for you based on your schedule before selecting a program.
Other steps you can take at this time include gathering application materials, and confirming application deadlines and procedures. You should also think about how you will finance your graduate education. Research student loans, institutional and outside scholarships, and tuition assistance benefits, if you are currently employed.