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Human Development and Psychology: Choosing the Right Major

Interested in a career in psychology or counseling and wondering whether you should major in human development (offered through the College of Community and Public Affairs) or psychology (offered through Harpur College of Arts and Sciences) at Binghamton?  

Some things you should know 

At the undergraduate level, you need to acquire fundamental skills in research, science writing and data analysis. Whether you are working toward a bachelor of science in human development or a bachelor of arts in psychology, the curricula of both programs include a course in general psychology, statistics and research methods. Both majors require upper-level courses that train you to understand research, improve your writing and oral communication skills, and provide breadth and depth in specific topic areas. While both programs are outstanding, they will prepare you for different areas of contribution and for further study and careers.

So, how do you choose?

  1. Think about aspects of psychology that interest you and what jobs or internships would you like to have before you graduate. Then, review the websites for each program carefully, paying attention to how you feel as you read the information and where you see yourself in the future.
    • Human development (available through the College of Community and Public Affairs) — Consider this major if you are most drawn to community service, public policy, social justice or working actively with individuals, families or communities often in a social-service setting.
    • Psychology (available through Harpur College of Arts and Sciences) — Consider this major if you are interested in understanding and explaining the way people (and other animals) think and act, as individuals and in groups, as well as about the relationship between brain and behavior. Psychologists work actively to put psychological science in action in businesses, schools, healthcare, government organizations, non-profits and higher-education.
  2. Speak with an academic advisor, who can discuss coursework, internships and other service-learning opportunities, career options and more:
  3. Visit the Fleishman Center for Career and Professional Development and speak with staff who can help you explore possible career or educational paths. The CCPA Career and Professional Services staff can also provide helpful information.
  4. If you still cannot make up your mind, it is okay. You can always double major!

Last Updated: 11/2/17