Undergraduate Programs

The undergraduate program in Comparative Human Development (CHDV) focuses on the study of persons over the course of life; on the social, cultural, biological, and psychological processes that jointly influence development; and on growth over time in different social and cultural settings. The study of human development also offers a unique lens through which we consider broad questions relevant to the social sciences, like the processes and impacts of social change, and the interactions of biology and culture.

Faculty members in Comparative Human Development with diverse backgrounds in anthropology, biology, psychology, and sociology conduct research on topics that include (but are not limited to): the social and phenomenological experience of mental illness; the impact of socioeconomic context on growth and development; the influence of social interaction on biological functioning; the tensions inherent in living in multicultural societies; the experience and development of psychotherapists in Western and non-Western countries; and the ways in which youth in developing countries are forging new conceptions of adulthood.

Given this interdisciplinary scope, the program in Comparative Human Development provides an excellent preparation for students interested in advanced postgraduate study at the frontiers of several social science disciplines, or in careers and professions that require a broad and integrated understanding of human experience and behavior—e.g., mental health, education, social work, health care, or human resource and organizational work in community or corporate settings.

About 90% of our graduates plan to enter a post-graduate or professional program within five years of leaving The College. A third to a half of our alumni go on to post-graduate and professional schools, in programs offering a PhD, MD, JD, Masters, MSW, or Masters in Teaching. These schools include University of Chicago, Oxford University, Northwestern University, University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign, Chicago School of Professional Psychology, Dominican University, and Midwestern University, among others.

Many alumni go on to full-time jobs after graduating, such as in education, medical or healthcare areas, science research and development, data analysis, advertising, law, journalism and publishing, finance/banking, government or the non-profit sector. Employers have included educational centers such as universities (including the University of Chicago), A+ Illinois, and Back on Track; service organizations such Peace Corps, Americorps and Teach for America; health care organizations such as Illinois Department of Children and Family, Hartgrove Hospital, Care Hawaii, Cancer Treatment Centers of America, and the International Children's Center; financial centers such as JP Morgan Chase, Discover Financial Services, and FinanSure; not-for-profit organizations such as Brookfield Zoo, Chicago Public Radio, Community Energy Cooperative; and other businesses, such as BearingPoint and Hughes Hubbard & Reed, to name just a few. The figure above shows the percentage of Comparative Human Development students working in each sector after graduating from The College.

Quotes from recent CHD graduates:
I've truly loved being in the Comparative Human Development department. It's given me the space to grow and develop across fields and has engendered in me an expansive approach to scholarship I will absolutely carry with me. CHD also provided an unparalleled space to explore any methodological lens I see fit, which has enabled a more expansive and multifaceted approach to my research. I've felt deeply supported by CHD faculty and feel truly grateful to have found this department. If you're interested in the social sciences but believe research will only be deepened by reaching across disciplines, or you're interested in topics that you feel can be constructively approached from any number of methods, I think CHD is an excellent home for your work.

-Harley (Comparative Human Development, BA’24, English and Creative Writing, Minor)


I knew when I applied for admission to UChicago that I wanted to major in Comparative Human Development, and I am absolutely glad I did. Taking courses across a broad range of interdisciplinary fields of study relating to human development has been both insightful and fun. I have gained a deep understanding of the various factors that affect people as they exist within and across various social and historical contexts.

-Kaedy (Comparative Human Development, BA’23)