human behavior

Interdisciplinary Studies in Human Behavior (M.A.)

  • Master's

About this Program

The first program offered in 1971 when the Graduate School at Hood College opened, the master's degree in interdisciplinary studies in human behavior offers an interdisciplinary approach to the study of the complexity of human nature and the issues of contemporary society. This program can provide existing career enhancement, as well as a stimulating path for life-long learners.

Program Overview

Challenge for the mind

Extending liberal arts to the graduate level, the interdisciplinary studies in human behavior master's degree program challenges students to develop a deeper understanding and broader perspective of the human experience and the world in which we live. Outstanding faculty scholars and adjunct instructors strengthen the unique interdisciplinary curriculum with extensive research, professional and teaching expertise.

Skills for practical use

With its intense focus on critical thinking, research, analysis, problem solving and communication skills, the program has ready application in many facets of career, community and personal life. The degree can provide career enhancement opportunities in fields such as education, community health, government, community service, human resources, the juvenile justice system, community organizing and the media.

Traditional and accelerated schedules

Students may choose from two paths to the master's degree: 30 credits plus a comprehensive exam or 36 credits including a thesis. A wide variety of electives accommodate multiple interests and goals. Evening and accelerated weekend classes and summer-term sessions mean even part-time students can complete the degree in less than two years.

Degrees Offered

  • MA

For students applying to the masters in art in interdisciplinary studies in human behavior program, please submit the following to the Graduate School:

  • The graduate school application
  • One copy of official transcripts from each institution of higher learning attended
  • A written personal statement (300 to 600 words) of your experience, education, future goals, and how the interdisciplinary studies in human behavior program fits in with these aspects. Note: The quality of the personal statement may carry considerable weight in determining admission to the program.

A 2.75 minimum GPA is required for admission to the Graduate School and to the Master of Arts in interdisciplinary studies in human behavior program. No GRE is required.

Program Requirements

Two routes to the master’s degree in the Interdisciplinary Studies in Human Behavior are available. They are:

  • 30 credits plus a comprehensive written examination.
  • 36 credits that include a Master’s thesis (by permission only, see below).

Course Requirements

Completion of 12 Core credits. Students take the following four core courses:

PSY 500/COUN 500Human Development as a Lifelong Process


PSY 501Theories of Personality


PSY 505Social Psychology: A Survey


PSY 531/COUN 531Diagnosis & Psychopathology


Completion of 6 Cross-Discipline. Students elect any two of the following:

BIFX 545

Leading Reproducible Research3.0

BMS 542

Ethics in Science3.0

CYBR 535/IT 535

Security Policies, Ethics and Law3.0
ECON 551Foundations of Economics


ENV 501

Introduction to Environmental Biology

MATH 500Statistics


PSCI 500Government in Contemporary Society




PSCI 505/PSCI 405Civil Liberties


Completion of 12 Elective credits. Students elect any four of the following elective courses:

PSY 511/COUN 511Theories and Principles of Counseling


PSY 534/COUN 534Tests and Measurements


PSY 575Independent Study

1.0 - 3.0

PSY 590Teaching Assistantship

1.0 - 3.0

PSY 595Independent Research Project


PSY 597

Internship for Human Behavior

THAN 521/COUN 521Grief and Loss


THAN 523/COUN 523Principles of Thanatology


THAN 528/COUN 528Developmental Perspectives in Thanatology


THAN 529/COUN 529Historical and Multicultural Perspectives in Thanatology


PSY 575RPSY 590PSY 595, THAN 525: Not eligible for the comprehensive exam.

Certificate Opportunity

Certificate in Thanatology

In addition to the MA degree in Interdisciplinary Studies in Human Behavior, students may obtain a Certificate in Thanatology if they choose the following as their four elective courses:

THAN 521/COUN 521Grief and Loss


THAN 523/COUN 523Principles of Thanatology


THAN 528/COUN 528Developmental Perspectives in Thanatology


THAN 529/COUN 529Historical and Multicultural Perspectives in Thanatology


Students must indicate intent to complete the Certificate in Thanatology by emailing the Office of the Registrar at

NOTE: Course substitutions are not permitted. A student may be exempted from these requirements by petition to the appropriate department. The petition must be in writing and, if approved, written evidence of the exemption must be forwarded to the Office of the Registrar by the program director. The exemption is made a part of the student’s record. When a course is formally exempted, another course must be taken. Exemption does not constitute credit.

Comprehensive exam

Students take a comprehensive examination of five completed courses: any three of the four required Psychology courses and any two electives except PSY 575RPSY 590PSY 595, THAN 525. Students must pass at least four of the five course examinations.

Master’s Thesis

Students may choose to write a thesis which would require an additional six credits above the 30-credit course requirement. Students must obtain faculty permission to pursue this option, and it is recommended that they have a strong background in statistics and research methodology. 

Program Contact

Andrew Campbell

Program Director

Nick Masucci '17

Assistant Director of Graduate Admission


Fast Fact

You will benefit from the opportunity to learn in small classes taught by caring, dedicated, world-class faculty and adjunct instructors who bring in-depth knowledge and expertise to instruction. 

All Faculty

Shannon Kundey

  • Professor of Psychology, Department Chair
  • Co-Director, Hood Honors Program
Diane Graves

Diane R. Graves

  • Associate Professor of Psychology
  • Program Director, Master's in Interdiscipinary Studies in Human Behavior
President Andrea Chapdelaine

Spotlight on President Chapdelaine Classroom Engagement

President Andrea Chapdelaine Faculty Graduate School Graduate Student

Hood College President, Andrea Chapdelaine, Ph.D., is a tenured faculty member in the psychology department, teaching social psychology at the graduate level.

  • Academics
  • Social Sciences & Humanities
Kim Longfellow

Graduate Student Spotlight | Kim Longfellow

Kim Longfellow, Interdisciplinary Studies in Human Behavior Graduate School Graduate Student

"The interdisciplinary nature of this master’s program appealed to my curiosity about a program range of academic disciplines and allowed me to customize the program to further fit my interests and professional goals"

  • Academics
  • Social Sciences & Humanities
Ellie Weber

Graduate Alumna Focus | Ellie Weber

Ellie Weber, Interdisciplinary Studies in Human Behavior, M.A. Alumni Graduate School Graduate Student

Ellie Weber graduated from Hood College in 2020 with a M.A. in Interdisciplinary Studies in Human Behavior. She was a research intern for a suicide prevention non-profit called REBORN.

  • Academics
  • Social Sciences & Humanities
  • Community Involvement