Human Development and Social Relations | Earlham College
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Human Development and Social Relations

Please note: The HDSR major is no longer available to new students. The program was officially laid down in the the fall of 2020. As of fall 2020, only currently enrolled students who completed HDSR 115 Persons & Systems were able to complete a degree with this major. The information below is listed as a reference for remaining HDSR majors.

For students seeking a similar program, please visit  Earlham's major in social services.


Human Development and Social Relations (HDSR) helps students understand individuals in the context of contemporary social systems. Combining psychology, sociology, anthropology and philosophy, students study social problems in all their complexity, learn how to work with individuals and groups within larger organizational settings, and appreciate diverse perspectives and cultures. 

Students who choose HDSR take advantage of this major by focusing on interdisciplinary and experiential learning within the classroom and larger community, developing a service- and people-oriented perspective, as well as the ability to analyze and respond to problems creatively.

Graduates of the program enter fields such as public health, education, social advocacy, medicine, law, social work, counseling, public administration, journalism and ministry. Chosen careers include research psychologist at a substance abuse research center, marketing executive in the New York headquarters of a Japanese corporation, family practice physician, social worker in an AIDS/HIV clinic and attorney for a victims' rights group.

HDSR Earlhamites in Action

Maryia Pupko
Child of Chernobyl

Maryia Pupko is proof that good comes from even the worst disasters. The compassion she experienced after her mother's death has inspired her to advocate for the otherwise disregarded.

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Arlo Townsley
No Ivory Tower for Arlo

Being at Earlham has helped Arlo Townsley ’20 realize how much he took for granted back home on his family’s organic farm in rural Wisconsin.

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Earlham College, an independent, residential college, aspires to provide the highest-quality undergraduate education in the liberal arts and sciences, shaped by the distinctive perspectives of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers).

Earlham College
801 National Road West
Richmond, Indiana
1-765-983-1200 — Main Switchboard
1-800-EARLHAM (327-5426) — Admission


Earlham admits students of any race, color, national and ethnic origin, age, gender and sexual orientation to all the rights, privileges, programs, and activities generally accorded or made available to students at the school. It does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national and ethnic origin, age, gender and sexual orientation in administration of its educational policies, admissions policies, scholarship and loan programs, and athletic and other school-administered programs.