Jul 21, 2024  
2024-2025 Catalog 
2024-2025 Catalog

Human Development, Counseling Services Concentration, B.A.

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Program of Study

The Human Development Major is an interdisciplinary program that focuses on human growth and development throughout the lifespan, and on the familial, social, cultural, and political networks in which individuals develop. A degree in human development provides students an understanding of the social, cultural, psychological and biological understanding of human beings from birth to death. Course offerings are interdisciplinary, drawing knowledge from psychology, sociology, biology, anthropology, ethnic, racial and gender studies. The Human Development Major is designed to prepare undergraduates to succeed in  increasingly diverse cultural, ethnic, economic, and political environments. Respect for those differences in the context of human services settings is an integral part of our program.

Human Development 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.

In support of this mission, the Human Development Program engages students in a challenging academic curriculum that combines traditional classroom learning with experiential problem-based and field experience opportunities in human development-related professions in diverse settings. 


In addition to completing the required core coursework, each student completes four courses chosen from one of three concentrations: General, Counseling Services, or Health Services. Courses within the Counseling or Health Services concentrations have been selected to provide an educational foundation for students wishing to pursue careers in each of these areas.

Regardless of concentration, experiential learning is required through field experience where students participate in community health or human service agencies and organizations that are relevant to their career and intellectual interests. Students also conduct an applied research study on subject matter in human development that is of particular interest to them.

General Concentration

The General Concentration  allows students to create their own concentration area selected from the list of electives taken with faculty advisor permission. For example, students wishing to pursue a career as a teacher may want to select courses that reflect their interest in teaching. In this case, students may choose a focus for their General Concentration and may informally decide to call it, “Education Focus” or “Teaching Focus.” Students wishing to work with youth may choose courses that focus on youth for their concentration and may informally call it “Youth Prevention Focus.” This concentration allows students to create their own focused area of knowledge, which they can convey to future employers or graduate programs and justify it based on the courses they took for the concentration.

Counseling Concentration

Courses within the Counseling Concentration  have been selected to provide an educational foundation for students wishing to pursue careers in counseling fields. Through these courses students learn about effective counseling interventions, acquire interpersonal interviewing and interaction skills, and learn about the importance of diversity and social justice as it relates to children, youth, adults, families, communities, and society.

Health Services Concentration

The Health Services Concentration  prepares students for work in the healthcare field by teaching students to mobilize developmental and social science concepts, theories and methods to examine how social and environmental factors impact health across the life course from infancy to later life. This concentration particularly helps students understand how individual characteristics, such as gender, race/ethnicity, socioeconomic status, and sexual orientation, but also genetic vulnerabilities, interact with social-structural, institutional, and cultural realities – particularly in healthcare institutions and beyond – to shape an individual’s physical and mental health.

Program Student Learning Outcomes

Students who graduate with a Bachelor of Arts in Human Development will be able to:

  1. Use theory and research to explain lifespan development in individual, family, and/or community contexts.
  2. Critically evaluate evidence-based practices, programs, or policy solutions to address real-world problems related to human development.
  3. Analyze structural inequities related to lifespan development to identify strategies for promoting social justice.
  4. Assess needs and evaluate the delivery of human services.
  5. Use research methods in Human Development to design, analyze, and conduct research, and present research findings.
  6. Apply professional ethics, knowledge, awareness, and/or skills for health and human services settings.

Special Conditions for the Bachelor of Arts in Human Development

All courses counted toward the major, including Preparation for the Major courses, must be completed with a grade of C (2.0) or better. A minimum of eighteen (18) units counted toward the human development major must have been completed at Cal State San Marcos.


Students first consult the Human Development Advisor in Student Services in College of Education, Health and Human Services for assistance. After meeting with the Human Development advisor, students may consult with an assigned faculty advisor serving as mentor for additional support.

Career Opportunities

With any concentration selected, students with a bachelor’s degree in Human Development are qualified to work in a variety of settings related to providing services for others. These might include health care, child and adult care centers, community projects providing outreach to youth and adults, non profit organizations, schools, sales, human resources, service related to government agencies such as housing, law enforcement, and criminal justice, and assisting with community development, both in the United States and around the world. A bachelor’s degree in Human Development may also prepare students for graduate studies in counseling, marriage and family therapy, social work, teaching, public administration, psychology, sociology, anthropology, human development, public health, business, or law, among others. Students interested in these career paths should consult with advisors and faculty in appropriate areas before planning their future careers or entry participation in graduate programs following graduation.

General Education (48 Units)

General Education Requirements  

Preparation for the Major (15 Units)


*Also satisfies a total of three (3) units of lower-division General Education  requirements (Areas D and D7).

**HD 230   is a traditional approach to research focusing on the various models to collect data. HD 231  is focused on developing interventions and delivery services that result from data gathering. 

Major Requirements (46 Units)


Core Courses (25 Units)

Three (3) Units of Management and Administration (3 Units)

Three (3) Units of Theory (3 Units)

Three (3) Units of Capstone (3 Units)

Counseling Services Option Requirements

This concentration focuses on psychological well-being and distress throughout the human life span.

Minimum Total (120 Units)

Students must take a sufficient number of elective units to bring the total number of units to a minimum of 120

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