The Human Development program at Pacific Oaks College is designed to provide advanced study in the growth and development of individuals at various stages of the lifespan. As master's candidates, students are immersed in theories of human development and in the biological, psychological, emotional, and sociological factors that contribute to an individual's growth; they learn to critically evaluate the implications those factors have on skills and milestones that develop throughout a lifetime. Graduates are prepared to apply human development theories and principles to their roles as parents, educators, care-givers, supervisors, and other capacities in which they play a significant role in the development of children and adults of any age. The program builds competence in human development, knowledge of the social and political contexts of development, communication skills, integration of theory into practice, and research—preparing graduates to take on leadership roles in a range of settings serving individuals of all ages, as well as families.
Students graduate from the Human Development program with the skills to work in a wide range of settings. Many of our students already work in settings that serve children and families and are seeking to expand their knowledge in a particular area of specialization. Other students are interested in acquiring the knowledge necessary to advance in their careers and/or to pursue a career teaching children or adults. Many of our graduates have gone on to become educators, administrators, and supervisors in settings worldwide ranging from pre-school to community college-helping to spread our inclusive, strength-based approach. Pacific Oaks' integrative program prepares graduates to bring social justice, advocacy, and respect for diversity and individualism to a variety of careers focused on the development of both children and adults.
- May be completed in as little as two years part time, or one year full time.
- Online students may select a specialization in Development Across the Lifespan (Generalist), Early Childhood Education and Development, Leadership in Education and Human Services, or Social Change.
- Students may petition to waive the bachelor's degree admission requirement through the Pacific Oaks College Credit for Learning from Experience program.
Development Across the Lifespan (Generalist)
Early Childhood Education and Development
Leadership in Education and Human Services
- Bachelor's degree from an accredited university
- Credit for Life Experience: Students may be eligible to waive the bachelor's degree requirement if they have at least 10 years of verifiable work experience, have successfully completed Reflections on Life Experience coursework, submitted a portfolio of student work samples, qualify for 30 units of credit by assessment of prior learning, and meet other application criteria. Learn more about CLE.
Advanced Studies in Human Development
This class explores in depth how themes which begin in early childhood recur later in the life cycle. Building on knowledge of Erik Erikson's theory and other psychosocial and cognitive theories, the participants will add and integrate theoretical and personal knowledge of growth during the life cycle and the interaction between the contexts of development and psychological development. We will examine our own developmental paths and look at choices made and options taken or rejected. A research project focusing on a developmental issue is required. The class will emphasize development in adulthood.
Advanced Studies in Working with Families in a Diverse World
Students will assess the psychosocial developmental stages/tasks of families, the critical importance of culture/ethnic traditions, values and beliefs and how these all affect our work as advocates. Within this context, students will create strategies to be more successful individual, interpersonal and institutional change agents. Students will engage in active, experiential learning, synthesize theory and practice, and evaluate the impact of social, ethnic, gender and class contexts on themselves and their work with children and families.
Advanced Studies in Writing Our Stories: Reflections on Literacy Development
Students in this class will develop the capacity to assess and critique reflective practice through writing and sharing their own stories about their experiences. Students will create strategies to effectively facilitate young children's beginning writing by modeling literacy behaviors, writing where children can see, scribing children's words, and representing children's play in writing. Students will evaluate the different ways that people express their own culture through writing.