ISHD M.S.Ed. Program Options and Dual Majors

Students interested in the M.S.Ed. in Interdisciplinary Studies in Human Development Program have a variety of program options, including the opportunity to complete a concentration, certificate, or dual degree. 

ISHD M.S.Ed. Program

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.

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. 

View a sample program of study or return to the program home page.

Applied Development and Counseling Skills Concentration

Students who are interested in the field of human development and would like to learn basic applied skills for promoting healthy development in different contexts might consider doing a concentration in Applied Development and Counseling Skills as part of the ISHD M.S.Ed. degree program. This concentration would entail taking three out of the total of 10 courses chosen from a list of pre-approved classes that would fulfill this requirement. “Basic Counseling Skills” is a required course, and an additional two courses chosen from a pre-approved list completes the concentration.

Students must take seven ISHD courses in addition to the three chosen courses that would fulfill the requirements for this area of concentration, which makes a total of 10 courses.

It is important to understand that 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

However, if you would like to add basic applied skills to your graduate training in human development, this concentration would be a good option. Students interested in youth programming, or even those just interested in better understanding interpersonal dynamics in the workplace, may benefit from this concentration. 

Social, Cognitive, and Affective Neuroscience (SCAN) Certificate

Students who are interested in the field of human development and want to supplement their education with neuroscience and its application to human behavior, might consider doing a concentration in Social, Cognitive, and Affective Neuroscience (SCAN) as part of the ISHD M.S.Ed. degree program. The SCAN program’s aim is to supplement the education of people with expertise in other areas, enabling them to incorporate some of the concepts and methods of neuroscience into their work. The certificate is earned by taking four SCAN courses out of the total of 10 courses.

A total of three courses from the SCAN Certificate list must be completed (two required, one elective) plus one course that bridges SCAN and ISHD (“Neuroscience, Brain Development, and Learning”). Students must take six ISHD courses in addition to the four chosen courses, which would fulfill the requirements for the SCAN Certificate, for a total of 10 courses.

Read more about the SCAN Certificate.

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

Students who are interested in the field of human development and would like to work in research and assessment organizations in the fields of education, psychology, and other human services might consider the option of a dual major in ISHD and SMART. The additional major in SMART (Statistics, Measurement, Assessment, and Research Technology) will provide students with capabilities such as quality of evidence evaluation, statistical analysis, assessment, and psychometrics, as well as on the use of research technology in producing evidence to inform policy and practice.

This option would extend the length of the degree program, requires more than 10 courses, and requires being accepted into the SMART program after the student has matriculated into ISHD and begun taking courses. Up to four quantitative methods courses may count towards both majors.

Read more about the M.S.Ed. in SMART.

Dual Major in ISHD and Other Programs

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 the Counseling and Mental Health Services program.

For any further questions about program options, please return to the ISHD M.S.Ed. program home page or contact the ISHD Program Manager, Dr. Elizabeth Mackenzie at emackenz@gse.upenn.edu