Our program focuses on applying knowledge and skills to make a difference in people's lives. We use theory and practice to examine child and adult learning in the context of different families, communities, and cultures. 

#2 ranking among HD programs in the U.S.
22 average upper-level class size
45 dedicated faculty members
100% of our students complete fieldwork
What Is a Degree in Human Development?

This discipline studies how humans learn and develop, from birth through old age and in many specific contexts. Researchers might look at how children are affected when their parents are incarcerated or how close friendships change as we grow older. The field mixes principles of psychology, sociology, and health to study and improve people's daily life experiences. 

Why Study Human Development Here?

You'll learn about the physical, social, and cognitive areas of development, and you'll work hands-on serving people through a field experience at our Adult Day Services or child development centers, the Boys and Girls Clubs of America, a local free clinic, or another social services program. 

Beyond the Classroom

Field Study

Get Experience

Our program includes a field study experience to observe and participate in the work of human services. You'll get the chance to see first-hand what the work is like, and learn the challenges and triumphs people in the helping professions deal with every day. 

Field studies in Human Development
Field Study

Research Centers

Learn With Us

We have four centers that serve as living laboratories where we train students in the human services professions, serve the community, and conduct research that improves people's lives and sets new standards for the care industry.

Center for Child and Adolescent Development

Undergraduate Research

Faculty Mentor

You'll learn to perform top-notch research with our faculty, who have a reputation among their peers for designing complex research studies. Talk to a professor about designing your own research project or investigating a topic that interests you. You'll work closely with a faculty mentor to plan a course of action, discuss your findings, and write a report. You can also assist a faculty member with their research project. 

Students learning foreign languages

"Attending Virginia Tech was the experience of a lifetime. During my time at Tech, I learned so much about myself, others, and how I can apply my skills and passions to do my part in making the world a better place." 

— Carrie Covey, BS '06, MSEd. '08

"I am a double major with human development and Spanish. Human development is flexible; you can do anything with it. When I was a freshman I had space in my schedule to take biology, chemistry, and physics. My human development internship taught me how to work effectively with people and gave me insight on how to work with children, which has been beneficial in preparing to attend law school to focus on child and family law. Spanish has helped me relate to so many different people and provided me the opportunity to study in Spain. These majors have opened up my world to opportunities that I never knew I would have."

— Michelle Arroyo, '17

“In my field study, I shadowed an occupational therapist and worked side-by-side with a physical therapist and speech therapist. My desire to pursue occupational therapy has grown as I've experienced a new setting to practice therapy. I've always worked in pediatrics; this field study has opened my eyes to the possibility of working in geriatrics, too.”

— Elizabeth "Liz" Aker, '16

Careers and Further Study