Careers of impact: Human development and family science alumni thrive in wide-ranging careers

A student sits with a child who is playing

In the 1920s, the study of human development and family science at Syracuse University emerged from the intersection of home economics, early childhood education and care, and child psychology. Today, it is a dynamic, interdisciplinary field that studies the processes of human social, physical, and emotional growth and development throughout the lifespan and across cross-cultural contexts, utilizing research methods and techniques typical of other social sciences. Individuals and families are at the very foundation of society. From medicine to education, from policy to business, there is a great need for professionals who know and understand the science of human development.

At Syracuse University, in-class exploration of theory is paired with research and experiential learning in the community and around the world. Using an interdisciplinary approach, students gain well-rounded exposure, exploring topics such as immigrants and cross-cultural issues, mindfulness and self-regulation in children, and gerontology, the study of aging.

With a strong foundation in human development, alumni enter the professional
world as informed global citizens, well equipped to promote human health and social justice, and are competitive candidates for advanced degrees in fields such as medicine, education, research, and others.

Alumni records show that graduates of the Department of Human Development and Family Science are having a positive impact in many different fields. Here are just some of the recent job titles and academic pursuits held by human development alumni:


Alumni are well-prepared to pursue professional roles or advance degrees for careers as child life specialists, or in pediatrics, family practice, medical social work, and speech/occupational/physical/recreational therapy in hospitals, community care clinics, mental health services, intervention and prevention services, home health services, and hospices.


  • Pediatrician, The Commonwealth Medical College
  • Registered Nurse, Columbian Neonatal Intensive Care Unit
  • Pediatric Nurse, Pediatric Intensive Care Unit at NewYork-Presbyterian Weill Cornell Hospital
  • Research Assistant, Yale Child Study Center, Yale School of Medicine
  • Planned Parenthood Specialist, Planned Parenthood National Headquarters
  • Child Life Specialist
    • Newark Beth Israel Medical Center
    • Rochester General Hospital
    • Children’s Hospital of New Jersey
    • Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center
    • Bristol-Myers Squibb Children’s Hospital
    • NewYork-Presbyterian Weill Cornell Children’s Hospital


  • Nursing: Johns Hopkins University
  • Occupational Therapy: Columbia University
  • Speech Language Pathology: Columbia University, New York University
  • Physician Assistant: Wake Forest University
  • Mental Health Counseling: Rutgers University
  • Prevention Science and Practice: Harvard Graduate School
  • Child Psychology: Massachusetts School of Professional Psychology

Law, government, advocacy, social services

Alumni protect and promote the wellbeing of individuals and communities through law and public policy, as well as providing vital social services and advocacy. These alumni work in federal, state, and local government agencies, mental health agencies, the criminal justice system, and agencies that serve the needs of specific populations, such as women, children, older adults, and military families.


  • Practicing Attorney and Partner, Primo & Hills Law Firm
  • Child Advocate, McMahon/Ryan Child Advocacy Center
  • Crisis Interventionist, Vera House
  • Caseworker, Otsego County Department of Social Services
  • Family Services Specialist, Clark County Department of Family Services


  • Social Work: Columbia University, Ohio State University, New York University (NYU), Simmons College, University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), Tulane University, University of Maryland, Boston University
  • Law School: Suffolk University, Syracuse University

Community services

Alumni serve in a wide variety of roles for community programs and centers, rehabilitation organizations, human resources, retirement homes, adoption agencies, and programs that serve children and adults with special needs.


  • Intake Worker, Head Start/Early Head Start Program, PEACE, Inc.
  • Playworks Team Leader, AmeriCorps
  • Therapeutic Foster Care Program, Hillside Children’s Center
  • Skill Builder, Hillside Children’s Center
  • Youth Development Professional, Elmcrest Children’s Center
  • Managerial Recruiting Family and Children, Peace, Inc. Summer School
  • Social Services, Catholic Charities
  • Planned Parenthood Specialist, Planned Parenthood National Headquarters
  • Child Advocate, McMahon/Ryan Child Advocacy Center
  • Senior Program Assistant, Dunbar Association
  • Youth Specialist, YWCA


  • Early Child Development: Korea University Graduate School
  • Marriage and Family Therapy: Syracuse University
  • Child Studies: Vanderbilt University
  • Divinity: Southern Lutheran Seminary

Education, counseling, human services

Human development and family science alumni have an excellent foundation for roles in education, such as teaching, counseling, administration, inclusive special education, coaching, youth development, and curriculum development. Employers include public and private schools, preschools, childcare centers, youth programs, and adult education programs, as well as colleges and universities.


  • Education Specialist, Seneca Nation
  • Associate Teacher, Success Academy
  • Pre-K Teaching Assistant, Syracuse Early Education Child Care Center
  • Teacher, Reading/English Language Arts (ELA), City Year
  • Summer Lead Teacher, Lenox Hill Neighborhood House
  • Teacher, Liverpool City School District
  • Head Start Teacher, PEACE, Inc.
  • Middle School Special Education, Teach for America
  • Associate Teacher, Success Academy
  • Lacrosse Coach, Division One
  • Assistant Teacher, Bernice M. Wright Child Development Laboratory School


  • Counseling and Guidance K-12: New York University
  • Elementary and Special Education: New York University
  • Early Childhood/Elementary Education: Rutgers University
  • Instructional Design, Development and Evaluation: Syracuse University
  • Early Childhood Special Education: Syracuse University
  • Counseling Psychology: University of Denver


Alumni are prepared to work in human resources and corporate wellness initiatives, as well as business development and marketing for children and family-based products and services.


  • Business Analyst, Dell EMC
  • Human Resources, Dunbar Association
  • Corporate Management Associate, Project Sunshine
  • Advertising Professional, AIM Group
  • Digital Marketing/Art Therapy, Salt Digital Recruitment
  • Realtor, Gold Coast Realty, South Florida
  • Cooperate Management Associate, Project Sunshine


  • Master of Business Administration (MBA): Saint Joseph’s University
  • Applied Behavior Analysis: George Washington University, Columbia University

Visit Falk College’s Department of Human Development and Family Science for more information.