Online B.A. Human Development

Program Description

Pacific Oaks' online bachelor's-completion program in human development equips graduates with a comprehensive interdisciplinary understanding of human development across the lifespan, from birth through the end of life. Human Development students become familiar with the biological, psychological, emotional, and sociological factors that contribute to an individual's development. 

Through the program, students will learn the implications those factors have on such wide-ranging skills and milestones as problem solving, language acquisition, personality and identity formation, and social and emotional maturation. Integrated into the content is Pacific Oaks' hallmark commitment to social justice, advocacy, and its respect for diversity and individual potential. 

  • Depending upon transfer credits received, the online program may be completed in as little as 20 months part time, or one year full time.
  • Online students may select from four concentrations: Active Learning Across the Lifespan, Early Childhood Education and Development, Social Change, and Working With Adults.
  • Pacific Oaks' Credit for Learning from Experience option allows students in this online program to accelerate their progress toward a bachelor's degree and entry into a master's program by waiving undergraduate credit for experience they have gained in the workplace.


Human Development


Early Childhood Education and Development
Active Learning Across the Lifespan
Social Change
Working with Adults

Total Credits

30-60, depending on credits transferred in. A minimum of 30 credits must be earned at Pacific Oaks College


Completion of an associate's degree or a minimum of 60 semester credits with a grade of "C" or higher from a college or university accredited by regional commissions.

Applicants may also take CLEP (College Level Exam Program) tests to acquire credits. A maximum of 30 credits may transfer.
Additional Ways to Earn Credit.

Effective Summer 2011, applicants must have an associate's degree or at least 60 transferable semester credits and may transfer in up to a total of 90 semester credits toward the 120 total semester credits required for B.A. degree completion. A minimum of 30 of those credits must be completed through Pacific Oaks coursework. 

Sample Courses

Play Across the Lifespan

This course is an exploration of play as a human adaptive function with a distinct development progression, beginning in infancy and extended throughout the lifespan. Varying in content and mode from culture to culture, emphasis will be placed on the ability to observe play across an age-range and to make use of these observations in planning for play-based opportunities. This includes recognizing the importance of the physical environment in setting up spaces for play that will engage participants in using the skills that are requisites for lifelong learning. Ways to support cultural expression and nonsexist play opportunities will be analyzed as part of the examination of the impact of anti-bias issues and diversity on one's play. Although our focus begins with the early years, we will address the integrative and transformative function of play as it contributes to the lives of individuals across the lifespan.

Early Childhood Themes and Life Cycle Issues

Each stage of life poses a task to be accomplished These tasks appear as a challenge and bring the chance for growth, but also a fear of failure and discomforting disequilibrium. Themes which begin in early childhood - attachment, separation, autonomy, accomplishment and failure - recur later in the life cycle. Understanding of their beginnings and knowledge of psychosocial developmental theories enables adults to be aware of the resolution of these themes in their own lives, as well as in children's lives. This class meets the research competency. Note: Students who take HD 300 as an online class must also take HD 302 Research Seminar to meet the research competency requirement.

Communication for Empowerment

This class will empower students to make connections with other people. 4 areas of communication will be addressed: active listening for meaning; fluent concise and organized writing; active, appropriate, and engaging group facilitation and leadership; and articulate, organized verbal communication and presentation of self. In addition, students will develop and strengthen their ability to think critically, integrating the subjective and objective, in all the areas of communication. They will examine the impact of their values and biases on communication across cultural, racial, class and gender lines.

Social and Political Contexts of Human Development

The diverse social, economic and political contexts of our society affect the socialization of the individual and his/her understanding of human development. A primary focus of this course will be the examination of attitudes and behaviors toward gender, socio-economic status, race/ethnicity, disability, sexual orientation and privilege/entitlement, along with the historical and contemporary contexts within which specific theories of human development were created and perpetuated. Students will be challenged to examine these influences on their growth and perceptions of behaviors, define ethics within a context of societal power differentials and search for meaningful responses to address them.