Joint PhD in Human Developmental Economics

The Eliot-Pearson Department of Child Study and Human Development (CSHD) and the Department of Economics are pleased to offer a joint PhD program in Human Developmental Economics (HDE) drawing on the strengths of the two departments and recent trends and complementary advances in both disciplines. This interdisciplinary doctoral program aims to better understand human development through the study of cultural, social, emotional, economic and behavioral interactions as they contribute to socialization and decision making.

A deep understanding of socialization and decision making requires studying their interfaces and recognizing the social contexts and interactions within them. Whereas, major research initiatives by several universities and independent research organizations are bringing together researchers from different disciplines and who share interests in human developmental economics, with very few exceptions, no comparable effort has been made at building doctoral-level training programs that combine human development and economics in an explicit and systematic manner.

The rationale for this PhD program is based on the following trends:

  1. The evolution of theories explaining human development in both the disciplines of economics and human development have increasingly drawn on theory and practice from both disciplines.
  2. Economics has made major methodological advances in its analysis of microeconomic data that are designed to move from correlation to causation and so better elucidate the drivers of economic and social outcomes.
  3. The development of very large data sets in child and human development provide opportunities for rich empirical work drawing on the methodological advances described in Item 2 above.
  4. Strengths in Economics and CSHD are increasingly complementary. The two groups have collaborated productively in planning this program and have a clear vision for what the program will be.

Criteria for Admission and Application Procedures

Those interested in applying to the PhD in Human Developmental Economics can access the online application. Applicants should apply to the PhD Program in Child Study and Human Development and check the appropriate box for the Human Developmental Economics Program. All application materials must be received by December 1st.

Before sending an application, potential applicants should familiarize themselves with the faculty and resources of the Departments of Child Study and Human Development, Economics, and Tufts University (see below for a list of faculty in these two departments who are affiliated with the PhD in Human Developmental Economics). Students generally work closely with one or two faculty mentors whose interests match those of the student. In particular, students will choose to focus their research primarily in either Child Study and Human Development or in Economics and their advisor will be in the chosen area of research.

HDE Program Administration

Tama Leventhal, Professor, Graduate Program Director, Department of Child Study and Human Development
Jeffrey Zabel, Professor, Department of Economics

Program Committee Members
Child Study and Human Development Department:
Richard Lerner, Professor
Tama Leventhal, Professor, Graduate Program Director
Sara Johnson, Assistant Professor

Economics Department:
Jeffrey Zabel, Professor
Daniel Richards, Professor and Department Chair
Laura Gee, Associate Professor

Other Affiliated Faculty Members
Child Study and Human Development Department:
Ann Easterbrooks, Professor
Christy McWayne, Director of Early Childhood Education

Economics Department:
Yannis Ioannides, Professor, Max and Herta Neubauer Chair
Melissa McInerney, Professor, Graduate Program Co-Director

HDE Program Requirements

Each student is required to complete a minimum of twenty course credits as part of their fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of PhD in Human Developmental Economics. These credits include sixteen for course work; and four for the Internship. The coursework includes 8 core courses in the departments of Child Study and Human Development and Economics and 8 electives. Dissertation work follows the course work after successful completion of Preliminary and Qualifying Reviews and a dissertation proposal defense. Students will focus their dissertation study in economics or human development based on the set of electives taken and the topic of their dissertation proposal.

For more information, view the PhD Program in Human Developmental Economics Handbook.