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”

Additional Offerings

Area of Concentration: Applied Development and Counseling Skills

The concentration in Applied Development and Counseling Skills is for students interested in the field of human development who would like to add basic counseling skills and knowledge for promoting development in different contexts to their graduate study. Students interested in youth programming, or even those just interested in better understanding interpersonal dynamics in the workplace, may benefit from this concentration. The concentration entails taking three courses chosen from a list of pre-approved courses to fulfill this requirement. ISHD M.S.Ed. applicants interested in this concentration should include this interest in the personal statement and will need to declare the concentration in the first semester of study.

**This concentration does not prepare students to become licensed clinicians or professional counselors. If your interest is in becoming a mental health professional, you should apply to the Counseling and Mental Health Services (CMHS) M.S.Ed. program.

Dual Major

ISHD M.S.Ed. students have the option of doing a dual major with other programs. This option extends the length of the degree program, requires more than 10 courses, and requires being accepted into the second program after the student has matriculated into ISHD and has begun taking courses. Up to four courses may count toward both majors. Previous ISHD students have double majored in the Reading/Writing/Literacy M.S.Ed. and the M.S.Ed. in SMART. Students may not do a dual major with CMHS.

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
View All GSE Course Offerings

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., Practice Professor

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