Interdisciplinary Studies in Human Behavior, M.A. (formerly Human Sciences)

Program Director: Diane Graves, Ph.D.; oliver@hood.edu; 301-696-3963

The Master of Arts in Interdisciplinary Studies in Human Behavior offers an interdisciplinary approach to the study of human nature and its relationship with the various issues of contemporary society.  The goal of the program is to provide a deeper understanding of human experience and the world we live in and to broaden students’ perspectives and understanding of human behavior as applied to their professional and civic roles. This program can provide existing career enhancement, open new career paths, as well as a stimulating path for life-long learners. The MA program is open to qualified applicants to the Graduate School.

Application Requirements

Students applying for the Interdisciplinary Studies in Human Behavior program must submit one official transcript reflecting the highest degree conferred and a personal statement of goals. The quality of the personal statement’s content and structure carries considerable weight in determining admission to this program.

For additional admission information, see Graduate Admission.

NOTE: Course substitutions are not permitted. A student may be exempted from these requirements by petition to the appropriate department. The petition must be in writing and, if approved, written evidence of the exemption must be forwarded to the Graduate School by the program director. The exemption is made a part of the student’s record. When a course is formally exempted, another course must be taken. Exemption does not constitute credit.

Program Requirements

Two routes to the master’s degree in the Interdisciplinary Studies in Human Behavior are available. They are:

  • 30 credits plus a comprehensive written examination.
  • 36 credits that include a Master’s thesis (by permission only, see below).

Course Requirements

Completion of 12 Core credits. Students take the following four core courses:

PSY 500/COUN 500Human Development as a Lifelong Process

3.0

PSY 501Theories of Personality

3.0

PSY 505Social Psychology: A Survey

3.0

PSY 531/COUN 531Diagnosis & Psychopathology

3.0

Completion of 6 Cross-Discipline. Students elect any two of the following:

ECON 551Foundations of Economics

3.0

MATH 500Statistics

3.0

PSCI 500Government in Contemporary Society

3.0

or

PSCI 505/PSCI 405Civil Liberties

3.0

SOC 523Ethnicity in the United States

3.0

Completion of 12 Elective credits. Students elect any four of the following elective courses:

GERO 554/COUN 554Social Gerontology

3.0

GERO 555/COUN 555Psychological Aspects of Aging

3.0

GERO 556/COUN 556Health and Aging

3.0

GERO 599/COUN 599Special Topics in Gerontology

3.0

PSY 511/COUN 511Theories and Principles of Counseling

3.0

PSY 534/COUN 534Tests and Measurements

3.0

PSY 575RResearch Literature Review

1.0

PSY 590Teaching Assistantship

1.0 - 3.0

PSY 595Independent Research Project

3.0

THAN 520/COUN 520Introduction to Thanatology

3.0

THAN 521/COUN 521Grief and Loss

3.0

THAN 523/COUN 523Principles of Thanatology

3.0

THAN 524Hospice: History, Principles and Administration

3.0

THAN 525Seminars in Thanatology

1.0

THAN 528/COUN 528Developmental Perspectives in Thanatology

3.0

THAN 529Historical and Multicultural Perspectives in Thanatology

3.0

PSY 575R, PSY 590, PSY 595, THAN 525: Not eligible for the comprehensive exam.

Certificate Opportunity

Certificate in Thanatology

In addition to the MA degree in Interdisciplinary Studies in Human Behavior, students may obtain a Certificate in Thanatology if they choose the following as their four elective courses:

THAN 521/COUN 521Grief and Loss

3.0

THAN 523/COUN 523Principles of Thanatology

3.0

THAN 528/COUN 528Developmental Perspectives in Thanatology

3.0

THAN 529Historical and Multicultural Perspectives in Thanatology

3.0

Students must indicate intent to complete the Certificate in Thanatology by emailing the Office of the Registrar at hoodgrad@hood.edu.

NOTE: Course substitutions are not permitted. A student may be exempted from these requirements by petition to the appropriate department. The petition must be in writing and, if approved, written evidence of the exemption must be forwarded to the Office of the Registrar by the program director. The exemption is made a part of the student’s record. When a course is formally exempted, another course must be taken. Exemption does not constitute credit.

A Comprehensive Examination or Master’s Thesis

Comprehensive exam

Students take a comprehensive examination of five completed courses: any three of the four required Psychology courses and any two electives except PSY 575R, PSY 590, PSY 595, THAN 525. Students must pass at least four of the five course examinations.

Master’s Thesis

Students may choose to write a thesis which would require an additional six credits above the 30-credit course requirement. Students must obtain faculty permission to pursue this option, and it is recommended that they have a strong background in statistics and research methodology. 

Graduates of the Program

Graduates of the versatile M.A. program in Interdisciplinary Studies in Human Behavior (previously Human Sciences) have worked in a wide range of areas, including:

  • schools/universities
  • alternative health practices
  • government
  • community service organizations
  • juvenile justice system
  • community organizing
  • conflict resolution/mediation
  • international group facilitation
  • political and social activism
  • human resources
  • community health centers
  • occupational therapy centers
  • non-governmental organizations (NGOs)
  • ministry
  • social entrepreneurship
  • public policy research
  • restorative justice
  • international relief
  • media