The Department of Human Development offers a broad-based curriculum underscored by a dedication to social equity and the analysis of contemporary issues facing society.

Courses include child and adolescent development, the cultural dynamics of globalization, the influence of media on identity, children's rights, family policies and racial identify. Students learn analytical thinking and gain an understanding of society within differing social and cultural contexts.

A centerpiece of the department is the Child Development Lab School a family-focused preschool for young children of diverse backgrounds and abilities. The program–which provides a setting for research and serves as a model of early-childhood education—gives students an opportunity to develop hands-on skills and bring their coursework to life. Many Human Development majors take courses in the education program to obtain a teaching certification.

A prolific faculty—all actively involved with research and writing—mentor students, working with them on articles for peer-reviewed journals and presentations for academic conferences. The faculty travel across the country with students to take them out into the field and teach them how to research communities and understand them from the inside out.

The department co-sponsors events with the community, such as a day of classes and workshops developed in conjunction with local leaders.

Alumni frequently go on to graduate school or work as educators, administrators in public- and private-sector social service organizations and counselors.