FAQs, Human Development and Social Relations | Earlham College
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Why should I consider a major in HDSR?

  • The program brings together several disciplines — Psychology, Philosophy, Sociology and Anthropology — and considers the relationship between the theory and practice of these disciplines.
  • HDSR fosters an integrative way of thinking — a "synthesis" of the disciplines.
  • Graduates excel in the areas of human services and social justice. Their deep understanding of persons, systems and the interaction between the two allow HDSR grads to become effective instruments of change.

HDSR-classroom _0What can I do with an HDSR major?

  • What CAN'T you do with a major in HDSR? Although the main focus is preparation for working in the general area of human services. HDSR makes a broad range of career options accessible.
  • Interpersonal, critical thinking and analysis skills lead our graduates to careers in social services and advocacy, education, mental health, medicine, and ministry — just to name a few.
  • HDSR can be applied to virtually any career or graduate program that involves dealing with individuals, social systems, and the relationship between the two.

If I major in HDSR, will I be able to take courses outside the major and still graduate on time? Can I study abroad?

  • Yes, yes and yes! HDSR has specific requirements for graduation in addition to Earlham's general education requirements, but there is enough flexibility in the schedule that students can — and are encouraged to take elective courses in other areas.
  • There are several options for students to study off campus for a semester — and earn credits at the same time. Students work with their academic advisors to map out a four-year plan that will fulfill graduation requirements AND allow for an off-campus experience.

What is the HDSR Field Study?

  • The HDSR Field Study provides a first hand opportunity to integrate theory with experience.
  • Students spend 200 hours on-site at a setting agreed to by the student, the Field Study Coordinator, and the HDSR Program Director.
  • Field Study is an opportunity to "try out" a career possibility, to work with a population in need, and to challenge yourself in ways you may never have considered.

Will HDSR give me the preparation I need for graduate school?

  • HDSR graduates have been very successful in gaining admission to the graduate program of their choice.
  • HDSR grads report that they were very well prepared for the rigors of graduate school, and credit their experience at Earlham and in their HDSR courses for giving them that preparation.
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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.