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Eliot-Pearson Department of Child Study and Human Development

Ph.D. Program in Human Developmental Economics

The Eliot-Pearson Department of Child Study and Human Development (CSHD) as well as the Department of Economics are pleased to offer a joint Ph.D. 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. This program is new within the existing CSHD Ph.D. Program as of fall, 2016.

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 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 Ph.D. 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.


Each student is required to complete a minimum of 60 SHUs as part of their fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Ph.D. in human developmental economics. These semester hour units include 48 for course work; and 12 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.