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Human Development & Learning

PhD in Educational Studies, Low-Residency

Explore factors that affect human development across the lifespan.

At Lesley, our goal is to inspire the imagination, courage, and persistence to improve teaching, learning, and leading.

In our Human Development and Learning PhD program, you’ll advance your knowledge of the social, psychological, and biological factors that affect the development of human beings, with particular emphasis on adults. You’ll learn theories of human development, learning, and cognitive and emotional development. Explore developmental neuroscience, adult learning, adult development, and mental health. 

You'll also acquire a deep understanding of the interdisciplinary field of developmental science. Gain insights into how individuals change over time in real-life contexts. Examine culture and conflict, and organizational development and change.

Prepare to serve individuals of all ages in a variety of academic, social, and political contexts, such as community and social services, correctional facilities, colleges, and governmental agencies. Some of our alumni also go on to positions in higher education.

See the panel below for a list of courses you'll take when you start the program this summer.

Program Structure

Low-residency PhD program

45 Credits
PhD residency students at long desk

After receiving senior advisor and doctoral committee approval for your qualifying paper in the second year, you will be eligible to write your dissertation proposal and dissertation. The oral defense of your dissertation is open to the public. Year three is devoted to helping you write your dissertation proposal and dissertation. The program of study concludes with a public defense of your dissertation, doctoral committee approval and graduation.

Gain Skills and Expertise
Our PhD in Educational Studies program prepares you to:
PhD in Human Development & Learning Summer 2020
Students entering our PhD program this summer will take the following program.
Average salary for education professionals with a doctoral degree in New England (Source: Burning Glass Labor Insight)
Superintendents and other hiring managers across Massachusetts prefer to hire Lesley graduates. With a combination of theory and practice, our graduates are prepared for leadership positions on day one. (Source: Radius Global Market Research)
Top Schools
Massachusetts ranks as the best state to work in education, with some of the highest performing schools and best salaries in the country, according to US News.
Stephen Gould
Dr. Stephen Gould
Steve is director of the Human Development and Learning and Educational Leadership PhD programs. He has over 30 years of experience as an assistant superintendent, principal, and teacher, and served on the Massachusetts Elementary School Principals Association for over 10 years. His expertise includes leadership development, organizational development, team building, strategic planning, and executive coaching.
Where You'll Work
Graduates of our PhD in Human Development and Learning are prepared for rewarding careers in a range of settings, including:


Total approximate cost for this PhD degree program. Tuition and fees are for the 2020–2021 academic year.
Human Development & Learning
  • Tuition
    $1,050/credit x 45
  • Fees
    PhD Matriculation Fees
    Residency Fees
    Registration Fees
    Degree Completion Fee
  • Total
Estimated Cost

Review all graduate tuition and fees, and what they cover.

Tuition and fees are subject to change each year, effective June 1.

Apply Now

Your degree is an investment, and we're committed to ensuring its value. That's why we offer the best education programs in Massachusetts, at competitive tuition rates.
We'll help ensure your degree is as affordable as possible. Use our step-by-step guide to apply for federal and university funding. Scholarships, grants, Work-Study, and loans. It’s all right here.

Next steps to apply

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