The Eliot-Pearson Department of Child Study and Human Development is committed to making an impact on the lives of children, youth, and families. The department provides a vibrant, interdisciplinary community dedicated to applied research and preparing students for a variety of careers. We offer the following degree programs: a B.A. in child study and human development, a graduate certificate program in early childhood technology, an M.A. program offering both research and professional development opportunities, and one of the nation's leading doctoral programs focused on applied developmental science.
The department's history is rooted in Abigail Eliot's pioneering work establishing one of the nation's first early childhood teacher preparation programs in the 1920’s. In 1964, Eliot-Pearson became the Department of Child Study and grew into a major interdisciplinary community focused on the study of children and the education of undergraduates and master's students. In 1981, the department added one of the nation's first doctoral programs in applied child development, and later changed its name to the Eliot-Pearson Department of Child Development.
From the beginning, the department focused on the integration of research and practice and built a national and international reputation around its lab school, the Eliot-Pearson Children’s School, which served both as a place to experiment, train, and demo best practices associated with the education of young children, as well as a laboratory for human development. The department is now focusing on understanding the changing children and youth, given the changing families and institutions as well as the rapidly changing social and cultural contexts driven by new technologies and complex societies. While early childhood remains a focus, the department's research and teaching now include every major influence on children's and adolescents' lives- including parenting, media, technology, education, clinical-medical care, and public policy. Our teaching and research addresses issues of inequity to create more just and caring communities for diverse groups of children and youth.