M.S.Ed. in Interdisciplinary Studies in Human Development

Part of the Human Development and Quantitative Methods Division

The Interdisciplinary Studies in Human Development program examines the social, emotional, cognitive, and physical aspects of human development within the context of culture and social policy. The M.S.Ed. in ISHD prepares graduates for careers as writers, researchers, community youth workers, and consultants. The program welcomes both full- and part-time students.

Fast Facts

 

  • Prerequisites: Bachelor’s degree (Some preliminary coursework in psychology and/or human development is desired)
  • Entry terms: Fall
  • Course Requirements: 10 courses (2 Required Courses, 6 Core Courses, 2 Electives)
  • Typical Course Load: Fall: 4 courses; Spring: 4 courses; Summer: 2 courses
  • Culminating Experience: Master’s Comprehensive Examination OR Master’s Thesis
  • Dual degree and dual major options are available. Please contact the Program Manager for details.
  • Read our frequently asked questions for prospective students

 

View Admissions Requirements

Overview

 

The one-calendar-year M.S.Ed. in ISHD requires a total of 10 courses (typically completed in two semesters plus a summer term) in lifespan human development, cultural studies, and research methodologies. The program is designed for pre-professional training and to prepare students to advance within their careers by gaining a better understanding of human development issues.

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The M.S.Ed. in ISHD prepares graduates for careers as writers, researchers, community youth workers, and consultants to foundations, governmental agencies, community colleges, and school districts. Students are required either to pass a comprehensive examination or to write a master’s thesis as their capstone experience. Many students choose to continue their studies in a doctoral degree program.

Students may complete the program at their own pace, and many students who choose to do a thesis project stay an additional semester to complete the thesis. Recent thesis titles include:

  • “The Interactive Effects between Unsociability and Maternal Parenting on Developmental Outcomes in Urban Chinese Adolescents”
  • “Relationship between 4-year-olds’ Unsociability and Shyness and Mother’s Parenting in China and Canada”
  • “Effects of Childcare Teachers’ Beliefs on Classroom Practices”
  • “Parenting at the Margins: Homelessness and Parenthood in Older Adolescents”
  • “Preschool Teachers’ Theory of Mind Development, Understanding of Teaching, and Attitudes and Beliefs about Teaching”

Program of Study

Core Requirements

Conceptually and methodologically, ISHD students are expected to integrate established psychological approaches with perspectives from other social sciences. You are encouraged to select courses from other disciplines, such as anthropology, sociology, philosophy, and social work. The program of study emphasizes Developmental Foundations, Social, Cultural & Policy Foundations, Quantitative Methods and Qualitative Methods.

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Visiting scholars and researchers share their perspectives and experiences in the ISHD Proseminar. The focus of the Proseminar, which every ISHD student attends, is to demonstrate how research is conceptualized, designed, and implemented. The collection, analysis, and communication of developmental data are also stressed.

Requirements for Completion/Milestones

You will be required either to pass a master’s comprehensive examination or to write a master’s thesis as your capstone experience. You must get approval from your faculty advisor if you opt to write a thesis, and your advisor must pre-approve your topic.

EDUC 522 Psychology of the African-American
EDUC 560 Human Development
EDUC 561 Adolescent Development
EDUC 562 Personality and Social Development
EDUC 568 Cognitive Development
EDUC 574 Race/Ethnicity in Human Development
EDUC 581 Advanced Psychology of Women
EDUC 610 Cultural Perspectives on Human Development
EDUC 709 Peer Relationships in Childhood and Adolescence
EDUC 860 Proseminar in ISHD

Download the ISHD M.S.Ed. Planned Program of Study
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Program Options and Dual Majors

Program Option

Degrees Obtained

Length of Study

Capstone Experience

Distinguishing Features

For more information

ISHD Program

M.S.Ed.

10 courses

Master’s Thesis or Comp Exam

This program is flexible in terms of content and length (1-2 years), offering the freedom to explore the field of human development at your own pace.

Sample program of study

ISHD Program + Concentration in Applied Developmental and Counseling Skills

M.S.Ed. with transcript notation

10 courses

Master’s Thesis or Comp Exam

Concentration requires that students take 3 courses from a pre-approved list. Does not prepare graduates for licensure.

Read more

ISHD Program + Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience Certificate

M.S.Ed. with transcript notation

10 courses

Master’s Thesis or Comp Exam

For students interested in neuropsychology, this certificate allows you take 4 courses in Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience.

Read more

Dual Major: ISHD + SMART (Statistics, Measurement, Assessment, and Research Technology)

M.S.Ed. with dual major notation on transcript

~13 courses

Master’s Thesis or Comp Exam

This dual major is completed by counting up to 4 Quantitative Methods courses toward the ISHD M.S.Ed., and the M.S.Ed. in SMART.

Read more

Dual Major: ISHD + Other Programs

M.S.Ed.

~13+ courses

Master’s Thesis or Comp Exam

A number of other dual majors are available to interested students. 

Read more

 

Faculty

Xinyin Chen, Ph.D., Professor

University of Waterloo

Suzanne Fegley, Ph.D., Senior Lecturer

Temple University

Douglas A. Frye, Ph.D., Associate Professor

Yale University

Elizabeth Mackenzie, Ph.D., Adjunct Associate Professor

University of Pennsylvania

Michael Nakkula, Ed.D., Professor of Practice

Harvard Graduate School of Education

Howard C. Stevenson, Ph.D., Professor

Fuller Graduate School of Psychology

Daniel A. Wagner, Ph.D., Professor

University of Michigan

Sharon Wolf, Ph.D., Assistant Professor

New York University

From a recent graduate


"Through self-reflection in the required seminar, I was able to focus my research interest and understand how it roots in my personal experience. And by working in Dr. Chen's lab, I gained experience in longitudinal and observational research. These helped me to enter a PhD program and to pursue a research oriented career."

Xi Chen

doctoral student, Human Development and Family Studies,
University of Illinois, Champagne Urbana (2014 ISHD M.S.Ed.)

Meet Our Students & Alumni

The M.S.Ed. in ISHD prepares graduates for careers as writers, researchers, community youth workers, and consultants to foundations, governmental agencies, community colleges, and school districts. Many students choose to continue their studies in a doctoral degree program.

 

Meet some of our Current Students

Meet some of our Alumni

Contact

 

Human Development and Quantitative Methods Division

University of Pennsylvania
Graduate School of Education

3700 Walnut Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104


Madel Angeles
ISHD Program Assistant
(215) 898-4610
madelan@gse.upenn.edu

Elizabeth Mackenzie
Program Manager
(215) 898-4176
emackenz@gse.upenn.edu