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Get ready to change lives

Prepare for the helping professions

It’s amazing how easy it is to change a life. The right question or a well-timed suggestion can be all it takes to start someone on the path to wholeness. At Eckerd College, a Human Development degree combines active classwork, hands-on research and your pick of internships to train you for counseling, social work, child advocacy, education, law or business.


Study what you want

Customize your major by choosing one or more of these tracks: counseling, creative arts, global, gerontology and relationship science.

Early experience

Students in our three practicum courses—Peer Counseling, Group Process, and Creative Arts Therapies—do supervised counseling with real clients. That means you’ll leave Eckerd with skills most students don’t learn until graduate school.

Human Development major Olivia von Mering '16

In Their Own Words

“Human Development provides the gift of critical thinking and empathic reasoning. The professors challenge an individual to explore their personal and interpersonal roles in both micro and macro contexts. They continue to guide me as I forge my own path. Human Development is not for everyone—but if compassion drives you, human nature interests you, and advocacy/activism ignites your passion … I think you have found your major.”

—Olivia von Mering ’16
Master of Social Work, Mental Health and Addiction, Simmons University

Beyond the Classroom

Opportunities include:

Interested in something’s not on the class schedule? Do an independent study. Recent projects include Play Therapy, Dance/Movement as a Healing Art and Computer Literacy by Age.

You may also do research with one of our professors and present your findings at a national conference.

Eckerd College offers 300+ study abroad destinations every year but we can also design a study trip just for you. One student worked with a native community in the Canadian territory of Nunavut, for example. Another traveled to Haiti to help needy children dealing with trauma, poverty and abandonment.

Study Abroad Pics on Flickr

Service is big here and you’ll have lots of choices. You could lend a hand at an orphanage in Jamaica, Costa Rica or Guatemala. Or teach English to refugees living right here in St. Petersburg, Florida. Or volunteer with Humane Borders in Texas, New Mexico and Arizona. The list is long.

Service Pics on Flickr

Popular classes

Creative Arts Therapies

This class explores the use of art, music, dance, drama and personal stories in therapy. Covers the history, theory and practice of creative arts therapy.

Close Relationships

Discuss topics like maintaining relationships, non-monogamy, dissolution, non-heterosexual relationships, bereavement and loneliness. Includes a service component.

Students studying infant reflexes in Introduction to Human Development


What can I do with a Human Development degree?

  • Aging Specialist
  • Child Development Specialist
  • Clinical Social Worker
  • College Basketball Coach
  • Creative Art Therapist
  • Family Life Educator
  • Hospital Child Life Specialist
  • Human Resource Manager
  • Lawyer
  • Marriage and Family Therapist
  • Neuroscientist
  • Non-profit Administratior
  • Nurse
  • Occupational Therapist
  • Physical Therapist
  • Play therapist
  • Public Health Worker
  • School Counselor
  • School Psychologist
  • Substance Abuse Counselor
  • Youth Program Director

Where our Human Development majors go to graduate school

  • Antioch University
  • Austin Peay State University
  • Barry University
  • Bay Path University
  • Boston College
  • Brooklyn College
  • California School of Professional Psychology
  • Chicago School of Professional Psychology
  • City University of New York: Brooklyn
  • Concordia University
  • Durham University (London)
  • Emory University
  • Florida State University
  • George Washington University
  • Lesley University
  • Loyola School of Medicine
  • NortheasternSimmons College
  • Simmons University
  • Tulane University
  • University of Alabama, Birmingham
  • University of Colorado, Boulder
  • University of Colorado, Denver
  • University of Florida
  • University of Georgia
  • University of Massachusetts, Amherst
  • University of Pennsylvania
  • University of Pittsburgh
  • University of South Carolina
  • University of South Florida
  • University of Sterling, Scotland

Where our Human Development majors go to work

Sign up for more about Eckerd and our human development program