Best Online Bachelor’s in Human Development

Earning one of the best online bachelor’s in human development can help you enrich the lives of others and push for societal change. 

Many people, particularly college-age students, are looking to make their mark on the world and help marginalized communities both in their home countries and beyond. Whether through social work or through one-on-one therapy sessions, these would-be heroes need a great education to help them reach their academic goals and prepare them for the work ahead. Let’s dive into these versatile degrees and see what they can offer you.

What is a Bachelor’s in Human Development Degree?

A bachelor’s degree in human development is arguably the premier degree for social work. It can usually be earned through an interdisciplinary curriculum that focuses on many aspects of human change and behavior. It looks at how individual pressures, the effects of society, and the family unit can inspire a person to make certain choices or affect their growth.

Obtaining this degree enables graduates to work as therapists, social workers, nonprofit managers and organizers, and other humanitarian professionals. It’s an incredibly versatile degree, not only because of the classes you’ll take but because of the potential career choices available after graduation.

How Much Can You Earn with a Bachelor’s in Human Development Degree?

A bachelor’s in human development degree doesn’t qualify you to become a certified therapist, as you need a master’s degree to obtain this position. But you can still earn an excellent salary through several career options.

For instance, many graduates of this degree become social workers, who earn an average salary of about $49,000 per year. Graduates can also become social and service managers, leading change through societal efforts or through nonprofit organizations. These individuals earn about $65,000 per year and will enjoy a 13% job growth rate over the next ten years.

What Is Required for a Bachelor’s in Human Development Degree?

A bachelor’s degree in human development usually requires an interdisciplinary curriculum that covers a variety of topics and classes, including:

  • Sociology
  • Psychology
  • History
  • Economics
  • English
  • Communications

Most programs for this degree require good high school grades and often prioritize applicants who have some volunteer experience under their belts. Many programs will also require an in-person work experience to qualify for graduation. This is true even for some online programs.

What Are the Best Bachelor’s in Human Development Degrees?

OSR uses six data points: three school-wide and three program specific. For school-wide, OSR uses Student Satisfaction, Admission Rates, and the number of programs the school offers online. For program-specific, OSR checks the Median Debt of graduates from that program, how many degrees are offered within that program’s umbrella department, and what percentage of students at that school graduated from that department.

The six statistics are displayed by each school. The sliding bar under each statistic represents how that school compares to other US institutions. “Not reported” means a school did not release that information to the US Department of Education. A more detailed description of the OSR process can be found on the methodology page.

Now let’s check out the 20 best online Bachelor’s in Human Development degrees!

  1. Pacific Oaks College

    Quick Facts

    • Tuition: $21,090(in state) / $21,090(out of state)
    • 120 credits
    • $55 application fee
    • Seven-week sessions

    School Wide

    Student Satisfaction85%
    Admission RateNot Reported
    Programs offered online2

    Program Level

    Median Debt$23,435
    Programs in Department1
    Popularity at School91.90%
    100%
    OSR Score

    This flexible and easily accessible online program comes with five possible emphases, including Social Change and Elementary Education. Your coursework will be geared toward the specialization you choose, while still using a common core curriculum. Many of the classes are eligible to be replaced by experience credits, which are based on your volunteer or work experience.

  2. American Public University System

    20-Year ROI
    $1,257,003

    Quick Facts

    • Tuition: $6,480(in state) / $6,480(out of state)
    • No application fee
    • Eight-week classes
    • 120 credits

    School Wide

    Student Satisfaction73%
    Admission RateNot Reported
    Programs offered online45

    Program Level

    Median Debt$29,620
    Programs in Department2
    Popularity at School3.55%
    86%
    OSR Score

    APU offers an online program that allows you to transfer up to 77% of your credits from other institutions and put them toward this degree. The major examines human interaction and emphasizes the degree to which people are affected by their environment. Many of the classes can lead to certifications, like those for a family life educator or child life specialist.

  3. The University of Alabama

    Quick Facts

    • Tuition: $10,780(in state) / $28,100(out of state)
    • $10 application fee
    • 120 credits
    • Year-round start dates

    School Wide

    Student SatisfactionNot Reported
    Admission Rate53%
    Programs offered online10

    Program Level

    Median Debt$25,509
    Programs in Department4
    Popularity at School6.92%
    86%
    OSR Score

    The University of Alabama provides a BS in Human Development and Family Studies that focuses on the growth and development of children from birth to age eight. As such, it’s a perfect choice for future child educators and family therapists. It also allows you to apply your prior work experience toward the degree.

  4. University of Utah

    Quick Facts

    • Tuition: $7,697(in state) / $26,940(out of state)
    • 46 credits for major
    • Three start dates
    • $55 application fee

    School Wide

    Student Satisfaction75%
    Admission Rate66%
    Programs offered online113

    Program Level

    Median Debt$19,842
    Programs in Department3
    Popularity at School3.46%
    80%
    OSR Score

    The University of Utah’s online program focuses on how social, political, economic, and physical environments can affect the development of both families and individuals. The online program makes for a phenomenal student experience. It allows you to complete the program either entirely online or in a hybrid format.

  5. Hope International University

    20-Year ROI
    $706,193

    Quick Facts

    • Tuition: $30,700(in state) / $30,700(out of state)
    • 120 credits
    • Christian focus
    • $40 application fee

    School Wide

    Student Satisfaction78%
    Admission Rate28%
    Programs offered online6

    Program Level

    Median Debt$34,217
    Programs in Department1
    Popularity at School15.30%
    75%
    OSR Score

    Hope International provides a bachelor’s degree with five different concentrations, including Family Studies, Addiction Studies, and Counseling. Each specialization carries certification options and can lead to dedicated careers. All classes are taught by faculty with extensive experience in the field. 

  6. Warner Pacific College Adult Degree Program

    20-Year ROI
    $814,285

    Quick Facts

    • Tuition: $12,360(in state) / $12,360(out of state)
    • 43 credit hours for major
    • Five-week class lengths
    • $50 application fee

    School Wide

    Student SatisfactionNot Reported
    Admission RateNot Reported
    Programs offered online4

    Program Level

    Median DebtNot Reported
    Programs in Department1
    Popularity at School30.04%
    75%
    OSR Score

    This online program emphasizes both psychology and human development, making it a perfect degree for future psychologists. It can be completed in less than two years, depending on the prerequisites you already have under your belt. A special six-week counseling theory class ends the major and may require a little in-person work on your part.

  7. Oregon State University

    Quick Facts

    • Tuition: $9,075(in state) / $27,735(out of state)
    • 180 credits
    • Four start dates per year
    • $30 application fee

    School Wide

    Student Satisfaction72%
    Admission Rate79%
    Programs offered online20

    Program Level

    Median Debt$23,621
    Programs in Department1
    Popularity at School10.37%
    73%
    OSR Score

    Oregon State University’s flexible program has a curriculum that explores how individuals develop in relation to their families and environment. Free online tutoring and career guidance make this online university a great choice for most. Hybrid options are available for students in the Portland area.

  8. Pennsylvania State University-World Campus

    Quick Facts

    • Tuition: $13,484(in state) / $13,484(out of state)
    • 120 credits
    • Several opportunities for licensure
    • $65 application fee

    School Wide

    Student SatisfactionNot Reported
    Admission Rate67%
    Programs offered online42

    Program Level

    Median DebtNot Reported
    Programs in Department1
    Popularity at School4.11%
    72%
    OSR Score

    Pennsylvania State University-World Campus’ bachelor’s in human development and family studies has a particular emphasis on how family dynamics are changing and the increasing need for childcare and care for older adults. An additional focus in life span human services is available for those interested in further tailoring their degree. All students must complete an internship at a human service organization in their community.

  9. Washington State University

    Quick Facts

    • Tuition: $9,530(in state) / $23,956(out of state)
    • Two start dates each year
    • 42 credits for major
    • $50 application fee

    School Wide

    Student Satisfaction73%
    Admission Rate73%
    Programs offered online13

    Program Level

    Median Debt$20,756
    Programs in Department1
    Popularity at School6.28%
    71%
    OSR Score

    Washington State University’s human development program emphasizes a holistic look at the human being from birth to death, making it a versatile degree option. It also incorporates several internship opportunities to let you apply your knowledge to real-world scenarios. A practical culminating experience is required for graduation.

  10. University of Colorado Denver/Anschutz Medical Campus

    Quick Facts

    • Tuition: $7,776(in state) / $23,928(out of state)
    • Several start dates throughout the year
    • 120 credits
    • Totally bilingual program

    School Wide

    Student Satisfaction73%
    Admission Rate65%
    Programs offered online10

    Program Level

    Median DebtNot Reported
    Programs in Department1
    Popularity at School< 1%
    71%
    OSR Score

    This bachelor’s program focuses on human development and family relations, making it perfect for future family counselors and social workers. Experiential education is emphasized in an attempt to graduate students who are immediately able to work. Students will be required to find in-person work experiences at local social work centers or through international programs offered through the university.

  11. Brigham Young University-Idaho

    20-Year ROI
    $859,727

    Quick Facts

    • Tuition: $4,018(in state) / $4,018(out of state)
    • 120 credits
    • Several start dates each year
    • $35 application fee

    School Wide

    Student Satisfaction80%
    Admission Rate95%
    Programs offered online10

    Program Level

    Median Debt$14,137
    Programs in Department1
    Popularity at School4.35%
    71%
    OSR Score

    BYU provides a bachelor’s degree in marriage and family studies. The degree comes with several certificates to allow you to find employment more easily after graduation. The degree can be customized based on the certificates you decide to take, and each online program is relatively the same length of time, regardless of focus.

  12. Concordia University-Saint Paul

    20-Year ROI
    $979,788

    Quick Facts

    • Tuition: $21,750(in state) / $21,750(out of state)
    • Seven-week course lengths
    • 43 credits for major
    • Opportunities for certification

    School Wide

    Student SatisfactionNot Reported
    Admission Rate55%
    Programs offered online17

    Program Level

    Median Debt$28,217
    Programs in Department1
    Popularity at School6.48%
    70%
    OSR Score

    Concordia University-Saint Paul offers an online BA in Family Science, making it a perfect choice for students who are especially interested in family behaviors and dynamics. It can help students learn how to facilitate positive communication and connections for family therapy situations. The curriculum culminates in a practical experience, so students are ready for the real world after graduating.

  13. San Diego Christian College

    20-Year ROI
    $718,583

    Quick Facts

    • Tuition: $21,057(in state) / $21,057(out of state)
    • Three start dates each year
    • 123 credit hours
    • Capstone course required for graduation

    School Wide

    Student Satisfaction78%
    Admission Rate62%
    Programs offered online7

    Program Level

    Median Debt$35,263
    Programs in Department1
    Popularity at School16.09%
    70%
    OSR Score

    San Diego Christian College provides a Christian focused framework that integrates biblical truth with psychological knowledge. It promotes academic progression along with spiritual growth and is ideal for future faith-based social workers and counselors. If desired, online classes can be bolstered by evening classes in a hybrid format.

  14. Colorado State University-Fort Collins

    Quick Facts

    • Tuition: $9,152(in state) / $26,660(out of state)
    • 120 credits
    • Extra certifications available
    • $50 application fee

    School Wide

    Student SatisfactionNot Reported
    Admission Rate83%
    Programs offered online8

    Program Level

    Median Debt$19,364
    Programs in Department1
    Popularity at School9.19%
    68%
    OSR Score

    Colorado State’s Fort Collins campus provides an online program in human development and family studies. This is a highly customizable program that combines coursework and field experience to teach you about individual and family development throughout a human life span. Five degree concentration choices are available, and students can specialize in one or two of these concentrations. 

  15. California State University-East Bay

    Quick Facts

    • Tuition: $5,742(in state) / $17,622(out of state)
    • 120 credits
    • One start date each year
    • $70 application fee

    School Wide

    Student SatisfactionNot Reported
    Admission Rate74%
    Programs offered online5

    Program Level

    Median Debt$18,913
    Programs in Department1
    Popularity at School5.07%
    67%
    OSR Score

    CSU East Bay’s program follows a cohort structure in which all students take online classes together and follow the same class schedule, so everyone completes the program at the same time. Three concentrations are available depending on your interest. A senior capstone requirement is needed for graduation, regardless of focus.

  16. Stephen F Austin State University

    Quick Facts

    • Tuition: $5,808(in state) / $15,768(out of state)
    • 120 credits
    • Several start dates each year
    • $45 application fee

    School Wide

    Student Satisfaction77%
    Admission Rate65%
    Programs offered online5

    Program Level

    Median Debt$30,772
    Programs in Department1
    Popularity at School5.42%
    67%
    OSR Score

    This online program emphasizes family studies alongside human development, so it’s a perfect choice for those wanting to work with families across the entire human life span. An internship experience is required for graduation, and one class is set aside to prepare you for this capstone. The program is interdisciplinary and trains students to work with families from a variety of cultural backgrounds.

  17. Geneva College

    20-Year ROI
    $766,142

    Quick Facts

    • Tuition: $26,070(in state) / $26,070(out of state)
    • Eight-week terms
    • 120 credits
    • Can be paired with 18 credit minGeneva’s online program focuses on child and family services: an ideal match for those who want to benefit children and family populations at large. The curriculum focuses on current social systems and how they might change to benefit the welfare of families. It can be completed in as few as 16 months, depending on your prerequisite completions.

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    School Wide

    Student Satisfaction74%
    Admission Rate69%
    Programs offered online7

    Program Level

    Median DebtNot Reported
    Programs in Department1
    Popularity at School< 1%
    67%
    OSR Score

    Geneva’s online program focuses on child and family services: an ideal match for those who want to benefit children and family populations at large. The curriculum focuses on current social systems and how they might change to benefit the welfare of families. It can be completed in as few as 16 months, depending on your prerequisite completions.

  18. University of Wisconsin-Stout

    Quick Facts

    • Tuition: $7,014(in state) / $14,981(out of state)
    • Three start dates
    • 120 credits
    • $60 application fee

    School Wide

    Student SatisfactionNot Reported
    Admission Rate87%
    Programs offered online12

    Program Level

    Median Debt$23,513
    Programs in Department1
    Popularity at School8.18%
    66%
    OSR Score

    University of Wisconsin-Stout’s online program studies human development in relation to family structures and interactions. It’s a multidisciplinary curriculum taught by award-winning instructors, with plenty of applied learning opportunities. It also leads directly to the school’s graduate program if you want to continue your education afterward.

  19. Eastern Kentucky University

    Quick Facts

    • Tuition: $8,996(in state) / $18,774(out of state)
    • Eight-week terms
    • 120-125 credits required
    • $35 application fee

    School Wide

    Student Satisfaction74%
    Admission Rate87%
    Programs offered online17

    Program Level

    Median Debt$30,366
    Programs in Department1
    Popularity at School1.84%
    65%
    OSR Score

    Eastern Kentucky University offers a child and family studies program that combines psychology, sociology, and early childhood development in its curriculum. Several certificates are available. The program is based on the latest research practices and findings, so each class is based on modern material.

  20. Kansas State University

    Quick Facts

    • Tuition: $9,273(in state) / $24,630(out of state)
    • 120 credits
    • Several buyer programs also available
    • $80 application fee

    School Wide

    Student Satisfaction73%
    Admission Rate94%
    Programs offered online5

    Program Level

    Median Debt$24,001
    Programs in Department1
    Popularity at School8.10%
    64%
    OSR Score

    This online program emphasizes both human development and family science. It includes an internship series that all students must complete, ensuring that every graduate is ready for employment after program completion. Several financial aid options and scholarships are available.