Developmental Studies

Human Development & Education

The program in Human Development is designed to introduce practitioners and future researchers to the application of developmental theory to education, construed in its broadest sense. The program seeks to emphasize the foundations of life-span learning and education across interrelated developmental domains (e.g., cognitive, affective, moral, social, etc.), while considering issues of cultural and social diversity.

The promotion of human development and competence is a mission of educators, and the program orientation is pragmatic as well as conceptual. Students develop an understanding of the basic dimensions of human development: a life-span perspective; the convergent impact of constancy and change; life stages; traditional and changing life roles; the impact of gender, culture, race, and socioeconomics; cognitive, psychomotor, and psychosocial development; and the meaning-making processes of ego and self.

The Human Development program bridges the divisions of the School of Education, and the traditional divide between basic and applied research. Students draw on a wide range of courses and opportunities offered across the School of Education, and the broader Boston University community. Indeed, the study of Human Development is directly related to issues of child advocacy, mental health, religion and spirituality, as well as social and psychological well-being, both from a domestic and an international perspective.

The EdM in Human Development is a two-semester course of study that aims to provide students with broad instruction in developmental issues, while allowing space for specialization based on the student’s particular interests. Specialization may be delineated in one of a number of ways, including by discipline, by population, by setting, by age, or by domain. Ample opportunity exists for structuring a program tailored to specific needs and areas of focus. All students learn diverse theories of human development and examine the distinctive issues involved in developmental research. Students are also encouraged to arrange field experiences under faculty supervision that apply developmental theory. In addition, other course offerings at SED and across the campus may enrich or support specialized study. Upon acceptance to the program, you will be assigned an academic advisor, who will work with you to design a course of study tailored to your particular interests.

Most students are expected to complete the Human Development program on a full-time basis; however, many courses are offered at times that allow for completion of the degree part-time, while continuing full-time employment.

Program Fast Facts

  • Program Requirements: To view program requirements and coursework information, please visit the Boston University Bulletin for the EdM in Developmental Studies: Human Development
  • Program Duration: 2 semesters of full-time study. Duration of part-time study varies
  • Start Term: Full-time students may begin the program during the fall semester only
  • Licensure: n/a
  • Faculty Contact Information: Professor Kathleen Corriveau,, 617-353-3259
  • Graduate Admissions Contact Information:, 617-353-4237

Undergraduate Students

Undergraduate students at the School of Education benefit from the community feel of a small school along with the resources of a large university. Our students are in the field in both urban and suburban schools as early as their first year at SED.

Graduate Students

Talented graduate students from around the world prepare to become teachers, counselors, administrators, and more in as little as one year at the School of Education. Our students engage in diverse aspects of education both in the classroom and the field.