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Master of Arts in Human Developmental Science

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Breakthroughs happen at the intersection of psychological science and data analytics.

The Department of Psychology’s Master of Arts in Human Developmental Science is seeking curious and academically motivated individuals who are interested in learning about psychology across the human lifespan. Our program provides rigorous training in psychological theory as well as the statistical tools for studying human behavior and development. In our data-driven world, we need individuals who are trained in understanding behavior to create valid ways to survey behavior as well as interpret analyses of data, research studies and statistical findings. This master’s degree combines hybrid classroom education with hands-on application in order to facilitate learning at the highest level

Program at a Glance

Our Mission

To provide both breadth and depth of knowledge along with the skills to study human behavior.

Program Goals

Psychology from infancy to late adulthood; mastery of an array of statistical tools; skills related to data management and analytics.

Flexible Learning

Special topics focus on students’ research pursuits; customizable culminating experience, e.g., research project or applied internship.

About the Human Developmental Science Master’s Degree Program

The Human Developmental Science master's degree is unique to the Chicago area. It’s a multidisciplinary degree intended to provide both breadth and depth in the study of human development. Individuals in our program focus on human growth that includes physical, perceptual, cognitive, personality, social and emotional areas across the human lifespan. It empowers students to gain extensive understanding of the human experience and understand individual growth in the larger context of culture and society. We train this field’s next generation of researchers, leaders and practitioners.

Individuals will engage with faculty both in classroom seminars and on individually tailored research projects spanning core developmental areas from infancy to adulthood and aging. Furthermore, students will have many opportunities to advance their statistical and methodological skills in order to work on basic and applied research questions. Students will be able to select a specialized area of research tailored to their interests, needs and career path (e.g., aging and mental health, physiology of adolescence, adult relationship dynamics, etc.). Graduates of the program will be well-prepared to enter into the workforce or will be competitive applicants for admission to doctoral programs. As an individual in the program, you’ll be able to:

  • Explore a wide range of developmental topics related to social, clinical, physiological and cognitive psychology. Students will be able to engage in independent research that encourages curiosity and a passion for answering basic research, industry and behavioral questions.
  • Gain skills using an array of statistical tools related to research investigation including collecting, coding, analyzing data and creating predictive models of behavior relevant to for-profit and nonprofit industries.
  • Participate in classes that are organized around the principle of engaged and active learning.
  • Apply to Ph.D. programs or for careers in fields that desire information research scientists, quantitative skills and knowledge of human behavior.

Master-level scholars will have access to flexible modalities of education as courses will be offered online, face-to-face and remote/hybrid.  

B.A. + 1 Degree Option

For current NEIU students, the program will also be offered as an accelerated 4+1 degree. Upon graduation, students who are full-time will gain a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and a Master of Arts in Human Developmental Science in five years. This accelerated program prepares individuals for PhD programs or careers in private industry, government, academic and non-profit fields; fields that require quantitative skills as well as knowledge of human social behavior.

M.A. Human Developmental Science (32 Credit Hours)

The program’s foundational curriculum emphasizes the theoretical underpinning of developmental mechanisms from infancy to adulthood and aging. Students are provided with an array of statistical tools and data management know-how. Special topics focus on students’ research pursuits and career paths. Offering customizable culminating experiences, students will decide if they wish to complete a research project or an applied track (internship). Learn how to:

  • Formulate research questions to solve problems in basic research and a variety of industries
  • Summarize and synthesize research
  • Create protocols to collect physiological and behavioral data
  • Develop codes for behavioral classification
  • Master statistical techniques for analyzing data
  • Interpret data analysis

Learn from our Psychology faculty who come from top university doctoral programs with well-established research programs across a variety of areas of speciality including perception, cognitive psychology, social psychology, clinical psychology, developmental psychology, education and gerontology. Their research has been published in high impact, peer-reviewed journals. Students will have exposure to the full range of faculty experiences and expertise.

Review the Human Developmental Science program curriculum, and read all required course and elective descriptions.

Careers Opportunities

Did you know that the U.S. Department of Labor predicts that by 2026 there will be a significant increase in the need for information research scientists?

There are so many career pathways with a master’s degree in Human Developmental Science, which prepares you to enter fields that require an understanding of human behavior and quantitative tools. Job choices in private industry, government, academics and nonprofits are wide-ranging, including, but not limited to:

  • Behavioral Scientist
  • Consultant
  • Policy and/or Data Analyst
  • Consumer Behavior Analyst
  • Research Scientist
  • Grant Evaluator

Doctoral Research Programs

The M.A. in Human Developmental Science can prepare students to compete for Ph.D. programs that pay for full tuition and stipends.

The range of specialties is wide and will be oriented toward an individual’s research interest.

Our program will help prepare students for doctoral programs that can focus on child, adolescent and adult development covering topics on emotion, industrial psychology, social decision-making, social behavior, biopsychology and cognition, among many others.

Specialized topics can include cognitive neuroscience, perception and memory, social neuroscience, brain and behavior, language development, concept development, STEM learning and nonverbal communication.

Our faculty can help you learn more about doctoral programs and how to apply for them.

Admission Requirements

Northeastern Illinois University is home to students from all corners of the world and is one of the most ethnically diverse universities in the Midwest. Our small class sizes, flexible schedules and dedicated faculty can help you succeed in your studies.

Individuals interested in applying will need to satisfy Northeastern’s Graduate College Admission Standards and must submit:

  • Three letters of recommendation
  • A personal statement describing your research interests and future goals
  • An official transcript confirming a minimum undergraduate GPA of 3.0

Additionally, applicants are encouraged to have a background in math, including some statistics.

Learn More and Contact Us

Gain the skills you need to succeed in the growing field of Human Developmental Science. Please contact the Department of Psychology at (773) 442-5840 or email with questions.