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About Us

Our major provides an interdisciplinary theoretical framework for understanding human development across the lifespan. More specifically, students complete courses from the allied disciplines of psychology, sociology, biology, and anthropology to gain a multi-disciplinary understanding and then integrate these perspectives in the HD designated courses. Students gain experience in the application of this knowledge through required service learning, field experience and our capstone.

Mission Statement

The mission of the Human Development Department is to promote a holistic and lifespan understanding of human development from multidisciplinary, interdisciplinary and multicultural perspectives. We: 

  • Explore the complex interplay of body, mind, culture, and environment, including the role of social and economic inequality, that shapes developmental processes and outcomes 
  • Integrate complementary and interdependent disciplines 
  • Use multiple perspectives and theoretical frameworks to equitably serve diverse communities 
  • Actively and critically utilize and generate research to promote evidence-based practices 
  • Promote social justice, social responsibility, ethical and professional standards, civic engagement, and service to the greater community 

History of the Department

Human Development (HD) is an independent academic discipline which contributes to individuals’ and families’ healthy development over the lifespan in changing social contexts. The origin of the discipline goes back to the Morrill Land Grant Act in 1862. The U.S. society in this era was in the transition from agricultural to industrial society. The Act funded one public university in each State to start offering Agricultural Sciences and Mechanics as practical sciences in order to educate individuals who could manage innovative technologies. Soon the faculty of these universities realized that a practical science to enhance health of these workers and their families was essential in order to raise productivities of the workers. This is the birth of HD as a practical science to enhance individuals’ and families’ healthy development over the lifespan. Since then, HD has contributed to optimize individuals’ and families’ experiences by predicting human development over the lifespan and surveying individual and social factors which interact with the processes of human development. Building on the original mission of HD as a practical science to serve the residents of the State where the university is located, HD emphasizes a specific context in which individuals and families are exposed to. To assess, implement, and evaluate intervention programs which fit the given contexts, HD has developed as an interdisciplinary science. HD program at CSUSM provides interdisciplinary training for students in order to acquire skills to serve individuals and families in a variety of contexts.