Focus Areas, Credentials & Minors
Our Human Development and Learning (HDL) students create focus areas of study that address their academic interests and future plans. By combining courses from existing departments, students have the opportunity to construct an interdisciplinary program of study that has internal topical coherence. Students will receive guidance from an academic advisor and HDL program faculty.
All students in the program complete courses in at least one focus area to guide their course of study. Focus areas in the program are grouped into three categories:
- Focus areas that lead to credentials
- Focus areas that lead to a minor
- Focus areas dedicated to a particular area of study with no credential or minor
Early Childhood Focus Area
The Early Childhood Education focus area is offered to students who are interested in working with young children and leads to the Illinois Gateways Level 5 Early Childhood credential. The coursework is a combination of required coursework for the Human Development and Learning degree in the College of Education as well as additional Educational Psychology (EPSY) courses required for the credential.
Youth Development Focus Area (Anticipated January 2020)
A focus area of Youth Development is designed for students who are seeking to become professionals’ dedicated to and passionate about working with youth in urban contexts. Coursework will allow students to prepare to help youth by creating spaces, programs and organizations that support youth developing their emotional, physical, social and intellectual selves and in gaining a voice and place in society.
Coursework leads to the Illinois Gateways School Age and Youth Development Credential. This credential promotes high-quality services for children and families by preparing and supporting qualified and well-trained school-age/youth development practitioners. It provides adults working with school-age children/youth the opportunity to gain professional recognition for demonstrating competencies in their on-the-job skills.
Disability and Human Development Focus Area
Students can choose an area of focus under the framework of Disability Studies by following the minor track in Disability and Human Development. Students will be allowed to complete the minor area of study in Disability and Human Development if they meet the transfer-eligibility criteria at the time of application (minimum GPA 2.50/4.00). A minimum of 2.50/4.00 is required for the minor field.
Law and Society Focus Area
The focus area of Law and Society is a track following the Law and Society minor program. This program is designed to assist students in developing knowledge that would be of value in the pursuit of law school and in careers related to law. The minor gives students interested in law a formal preparatory course of study that provides a helpful degree of direction, discipline and focus.
Social Justice Focus Area
Students can choose an area of focus under the framework of Social Justice by following the minor track in Social Justice. Students will be allowed to complete the minor area of study if they meet the transfer-eligibility criteria at the time of application (minimum GPA 2.50/4.00). A minimum of 2.50/4.00 GPA is required for the minor field. A focus area in Social Justice is designed for students who are interested in gaining experience working with community-based organizations and opportunities to combine their experiences with new skills and strategies for future careers in organizing, non-profits or simply applying a social justice lens to any professional fields.
Art Museum Educators
The art museum educator focus area was developed by students interested in working through numerous programs and resources to increase art awareness and appreciation for students of all ages in informal settings.
Child Life Specialist
Child life specialist focus area was developed by students interested in training to eventually become child development experts who work to ensure that life remains as normal as possible for children in health care settings and other challenging environments.
Pre-Law Focus Area
The Pre-Law focus area could aid a student in developing knowledge in areas that are beneficial to pursuing legal education. In addition to foundational courses, UIC also offers courses and programs that are related to the study of law.
The social work focus area can prepare students to enter a MSW program upon completing their undergraduate degree. Social work promotes or restores the relationships between people and their environment in order to improve quality of life for individuals, families, communities or organizations.
The zoo educator focus area was developed for students with an interest in teaching visitors about the animals kept at the zoo and promoting conservation efforts. Students will focus on developing knowledge of animals, developing programs and instructional products and working with youth.