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Human Development and Social Policy

Our Academic Programs

The School of Education and Social Policy offers the study of human development and public policy at the undergraduate and doctoral level.

PhD in Human Development and Social Policy

A fully funded, 5-year doctoral program grounded in the study of relations between public policy and human development.

Program Details

Undergraduate Concentration in Human Development and Social Policy

In the undergraduate program, students investigate how families, schools, communities and the workplace influence human development.

Program Details

Why Human Development and Social Policy

Hear from our alumni.

Cassandra Hart

One of the advantages of HDSP's multidisciplinarity is that the faculty have strong contacts in other departments that students can leverage to build on the expertise in Northwestern's traditional departments.”

Cassandra Hart
Associate Professor of Education Policy, University of California, Davis; Human Development and Social Policy PhD program, class of 2011
Nala Bishop

Make your own opportunity if you don’t see one that fits your profile!”

Nala Bishop
Human Development in Context undergraduate program, class of 2023

In Our Students Words

Students of the highly regarded Human Development and Social Policy (HDSP) program at Northwestern's School of Education and Social Policy gain methodological and content expertise through a distinctive interdisciplinary approach.

Lindsay Till Hoyt

The most exciting and nuanced ideas often fall at the intersection of traditional academic disciplines, and HDSP offers the ideal setting for you to make these connections and become a trailblazer.”

Lindsay Till Hoyt
Assistant Professor of Psychology Fordham University; Human Development and Social Policy PhD program, class of 2013
two kids with a woman

Why Human Development and Social Policy Matters

HDSP students will develop the ability to communicate findings in written and oral fashion to diverse audiences. These audiences might include: other researchers, policymakers, practitioners, and/or the public. For some students, it may be important to be able to situate their work in and communicate findings to international audiences. HDSP students will be able to leverage their interdisciplinary training to communicate their findings to researchers across disciplinary lines. They will be able to communicate through a range of modalities (including social media) the relevance and importance of findings in non-technical language to policymakers, practitioners, and the public.

Connections PhD Preparation Workshop

A day-long PhD preparation and community-building workshop for members of minoritized and underrepresented communities who are considering applying to doctoral programs.

HDSP PhD Alumni

Students apply their expertise and training to various sectors and industries after graduating from HDSP.

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