Lynch School of Education and Human Development

To enhance the human condition, expand the human imagination, and make the world more just—that’s the mission driving the work of our faculty and students.

We put our mission into action through teaching, research, and service—informing policy, improving practice, and preparing students to serve diverse populations in a variety of roles.

And we define education expansively—as an opportunity to shape the future of humanity and our society. Toward that end, the Lynch School employs the Jesuit, Catholic holistic approach to student formation. We educate our students as whole people so they, in turn, can empower others to prosper and lead full lives.

Enhancing the Human Condition

We recognize that people develop and flourish across many interrelated dimensions: cognitively, emotionally, morally, socially, and spiritually. We prepare our students to transform others’ lives across each of these dimensions and at their intersections.

Expanding the Human Imagination

By providing us with new paradigms and new information, universities have the capacity to spur people to think differently, expanding our approaches to problems and potential solutions. Through education, we progress beyond conventional ways for understanding the world and discover unexpected patterns.

Making the World More Just

As a community of scholars and practitioners, we have an obligation to help people realize their aspirations, increase access to societal opportunities, and lift up those who have fewer advantages. We engage in individuals’ lives and build social contexts that promote justice, equality, and a sense of community.

Introduction to Graduate Programs

Consistently ranked among the top 25 schools of education and as the top-ranked Catholic school of education in the country, the Lynch School at Boston College offers 22 master’s programs, eight doctoral programs, and five dual-degree programs. Theory, research, and practice are integrated across programs, which also leverage the robust practicum opportunities available in schools, hospitals, mental health centers, and universities in the Boston metropolitan area. The Lynch School’s focus on expanding social justice is a hallmark of our programs and the work of our students and faculty.


Department of Teaching, Curriculum, and Society

The Department of Teaching, Curriculum, and Society (TCS) prepares educational leaders for instructional and administrative roles in public and private schools, in institutions of higher education, and in related organizations. The intent is to provide a blend of scholarship, disciplined inquiry, and professional experiences that will develop the sound understanding, practical skills, ethical values, and social responsibilities that are required of competent educators.

Student programs are individualized under the guidance of a faculty advisor, with special consideration given to each student’s career goals and licensure requirements. The list of specific courses required for each program is available on the Lynch School website under Programs of Study.


Teaching, Curriculum, and Society Programs


Department of Formative Education

An unprecedented​ ​venture in American higher education, the Department of Formative Education (DFE) is devoted to the interdisciplinary exploration of questions at once perennial and pressing: How do we educate whole persons for meaningful lives? How do we cultivate community? How do we nurture vision and values? In DFE, faculty ​conduct groundbreaking research​ ​on the cultivation of character, the expansion of imagination, and realization of purpose.

Through An Expansive View of Education, we propose that:

  • Education involves both knowing and doing: understanding the world and changing it.
  • Education goes beyond the transmission of discrete knowledge and skills to encompass the transformation of the whole person.
  • Education must address the full scope of our humanity: intellectual and practical, moral and civic, aesthetic and spiritual.
  • Education in school is just one aspect of a life-wide and lifelong formative process.
  • Education is not a technical matter of finding efficient means to given ends, but calls for judgment about the worthiness of the ends themselves.

Department of Educational Leadership and Higher Education

The Department of Educational Leadership and Higher Education prepares educational administrators and leaders of educational institutions ranging from pre-schools, to K-12, public, Catholic, charter schools to universities, to post graduate institutions. Graduates are prepared to bring perspectives from sociology, psychology, history, and philosophy, as well as social justice and public policy to their analysis and articulation of educational issues. Course work and field-based learning experiences develop reflective practitioners who integrate theory with practice. Courses in the department encompass these primary themes:

  • Social justice
  • Diversity
  • Reflective practice
  • Partnerships and collegiality

Courses in the various programs of study explore how economic, societal, political, and global forces change the way people think about schooling, educational leadership, and the post-secondary administration. To keep up with the constantly changing world there have been broad shifts in the knowledge and skills required of educational leaders today:

  • From technical skills to interpersonal skills
  • From command and direction to consensus building and motivating
  • From resource allocation to being accountable for learning processes and outcomes
  • From campus administrators to coordinator of institutional and community services
  • From policy recipient to shaping and informing policy

These shifts have been reflected in courses throughout the Educational Leadership and Higher education programs. The list of specific courses required for each program is available on the Lynch School website under Programs of Study.

Programs in Educational Leadership


Programs in Higher Education


Department of Counseling, Developmental, and Education Psychology

The Department of Counseling, Developmental, and Educational Psychology (CDEP) department promotes psychosocial well-being, positive social change, and social justice through innovative and rigorous teaching, research, and professional training in applied and counseling psychology. The department engages in psychological research and its applications to advance more equitable and socially just policies and practices in partnership with diverse local, national and global communities. CDEP programs prepare students to engage in culturally informed research and practice within and across disciplines and settings.

Programs in Counseling and Counseling Psychology

Programs in Counseling and Counseling Psychology have, as a mission, the preparation of mental health counselors and school counselors at the master’s level and counseling psychologists at the Ph.D. level for competent professional practice in schools, universities, and a variety of non-school health care delivery settings.

The primary focus of the multi-level program is the facilitation of healthy functioning in clients and a respect for individual and cultural differences. Competencies are developed in psychological theories of personality and behavior, human development, counseling strategies, and career development. Developmental concepts are integrated with supervised practice through field placements and varied instructional approaches.

The list of specific courses required for each program is available on the Lynch School website under Programs of Study.


Programs in Applied Developmental and Educational Psychology

The theoretical orientation of the programs in Applied Developmental and Educational Psychology is development and learning in sociocultural context. The programs are designed to develop expertise in integrating theory, research, and application to the development of children, adolescents, and adults.

Two degrees are offered: the master’s degree in Applied Developmental and Educational Psychology and the doctoral degree in Applied Developmental and Educational Psychology.

The doctoral program in Applied Developmental and Educational Psychology accepts applications from applicants with a baccalaureate or master’s degree in psychology or a related field. Most applicants have some research experience as well as practice/education experience in the field.

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Applied Developmental and Educational Psychology

We prepare graduate students to serve diverse populations in a variety of professional roles as teachers and researchers in colleges and universities and as researchers and leaders in applied settings, including schools, government agencies, and health and human services organizations. Faculty situate their work within the mission of the Lynch School, which is to improve human well-being through teaching, research, and service.

The focus of the Applied Developmental and Educational Psychology Program is on development and learning in sociocultural context. Areas of program expertise within the study of child development and child functioning include cognitive and socioemotional development from the preschool years through adolescence. We also have expertise on adult functioning in community settings. Development is examined, in both research and curriculum, across multiple, interactive contexts or levels.

These levels include:

Individual Functioning
  • Basic Processes
  • Individual Differences
  • Developmental Disabilities
  • Biological Bases of Behavior
Interpersonal Processes
  • Family Relationships
  • Peer Relationships
  • Parenting
Community, Cultural, and Public Policy
  • Schools and Learning Environments
  • Poverty
  • Race and Ethnicity
  • Gender

Upon completion of the Ph.D. program, graduates will be able to:

  • Demonstrate knowledge of the major concepts and theories in the field of child development.
  • Critically evaluate existing research and integrate research findings across studies.
  • Analyze applied and theoretical issues related to child development from different theoretical perspectives and based on prior research findings.
  • Develop research questions reflecting basic and applied issues in the areas of education, social policy, and human/community development.
  • Use appropriate methodology to design empirical studies addressing research questions.
  • Use a variety of quantitative and qualitative techniques for analyzing data.
  • Communicate research findings clearly and accurately in publications and presentations for both professional and lay audiences.
  • Teach courses in the field and the college and graduate level.

The range of careers available to Applied Developmental and Educational Psychology graduates with a Ph.D. includes university teaching, research, advocacy, consultation, and positions in business, governmental agencies, and human service organizations.

The program guidelines promote active engagement in research with faculty mentors for all students throughout their doctoral program. In addition to this mentored training, the curriculum requires that students take core courses in (1) social, affective, and cognitive development and the contexts of development; (2) qualitative and quantitative research methods and statistics; (3) professional development and teaching preparation; and, (4) application to practice and policy. In addition, students develop expertise in targeted areas of psychology through selected elective courses and through their research and practice experiences. Finally, students with a particular interest in human rights and social justice can obtain a Certificate through the BC-based Center for Human Rights and International Justice.

Department of Measurement, Evaluations, Statistics, and Assessment

Studies in Measurement, Evaluation, Statistics, and Assessment are designed to prepare researchers with specialized competence in testing, assessment, applied statistics, the evaluation of educational programs, and research methodology for the social sciences and human services.


Dual Degree Programs

The Lynch School offers five dual degree programs in collaboration with the Boston College Law School, the Carroll School of Management, and the School of Theology and Ministry (STM).


Certificate Programs

Students and professionals can enhance their knowledge and advance their careers through several certificate programs. Each program can be completed on its own or as part of a master’s degree. Interested applicants or current students may read detailed descriptions on the Lynch School Certificate Programs web page. All Lynch School Certificate and Specialization Programs requests should be addressed to: Boston College, The Office of Graduate Admission, Financial Aid, and Student Services, Lynch School of Education and Human Development, Campion Hall 135, 140 Commonwealth Avenue, Chestnut Hill, MA 02467-3813, telephone 617-552-4214, or e-mail

Certificate Programs Offered:

  • Autism Spectrum Disorder
  • Child and Family Mental Health
  • Early Child Policy and Leadership
  • Educational Policy Development
  • Global Perspectives in Curriculum and Instruction
  • Human Rights and International Justice (interdisciplinary)
  • Inclusive Instructional Design
  • International Higher Education
  • Institutional Research
  • Positive Youth Development
  • Social Justice Leadership
  • Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL)
  • Teaching ELL
  • Traumatic Stress Studies and Intervention