Developmental Psychology (PhD)
The Developmental Psychology Graduate Program aims to understand and support the healthy development of children, youth, and families. Our faculty specialize in the cognitive, social, emotional, cultural, physical, neurological, and spiritual factors that promote typical development and learning in infancy through adolescence. Through research training, coursework, and teaching, students gain the professional skills they need for non-clinical academic or professional careers.
The PhD in Developmental Psychology requires 60 credit hours, a critical review paper, master’s thesis, qualifying examination, and dissertation.
En route to earning the PhD in Developmental Psychology, students complete a master's degree (30 credit hours), unless they enter with advanced standing from a master’s in a relevant field from an accredited institution. An additional 30 credit hours are required beyond the master's degree for the doctoral degree.
|Psychology Core 1|
|PSYC 420||Research Methods in Psychology||3|
|PSYC 482||Advanced Statistics||3|
|PSYC 435||Seminar in Cognitive Neuroscience||3|
|or PSYC 552||Neuropsychology|
|PSYC 491||Multivariate Analysis||3|
|Development Track Requirements|
|PSYC 473||Social Development||3|
|PSYC 475||Cognitive Development||3|
|or PSYC 473||Social Development|
|Choose Four Developmental Courses||12|
|Psychology of Language Development|
|Select Topics in Developmental Psychology (Attention Learning and the Media)|
|Select Topics in Developmental Psychology (Parenting)|
|Select Topics in Developmental Psychology (Child Development and Social Policy)|
|Risk and Opportunity in Childhood and Adolescence|
|Choose One Social or Clinical Course||3|
|Principles of Psychological Assessment Child & Adult|
|Psychopathology of Childhood & Adolescents|
|Social Psychological Theory|
|Attitude and Attitude Change|
|Cognitive Social Psychology|
|Research in Group Dynamics|
|The Self and Self-Esteem|
|Prejudice and Intergroup Relations|
|Seminar in Social Psychology|
|Four Directed Readings||12|
|Integrative Readings in Psychology|
|Directed Readings (Taken Twice)|
|Three Electives 2||9|
|Two Minor Area Courses 3||6|
All courses in Psychology Core must be completed with a grade of B or better to be applied to the degree.
Elective courses may be selected from the Developmental, Social or Clinical Topics courses listed above, or courses in the students’ minor area, but each course can only count only once toward meeting a requirement (i.e., no double dipping).
Minor Areas include but are not limited to: Statistics, Education, and Women's Studies and Gender Studies. Other courses not listed here might also be acceptable to meet the minor requirement, but student must confer with Graduate Program Director. All courses must be taken at the graduate level (400 or above).
All PhD students and students in thesis-based Master's degree programs must successfully complete UNIV 370 Responsible Conduct in Research and Scholarship or other approved coursework in responsible conduct of research as part of the degree requirements. It is strongly recommended that students complete this two-day training before beginning the dissertation/thesis stage of the program.
Minor Area Options
|Minor Area Options|
|Structural Equation Modeling|
|Hierarchical Linear Models|
|The Exceptional Child|
|Psychology of Learning|
|Prevention, Assessment & Intervention: Early Childhood|
|Women's Studies and Gender Studies|
|Foundations of Women's Studies|
The doctoral qualifying exam is taken after the student has completed at least two full years in the graduate program. There are two parts: the Written Qualifying Exam, and the Oral Qualifying Exam.The qualifying examination is the final step before the student begins dissertation research. At this stage the student should have acquired considerable knowledge of the field of developmental psychology and of one or more specialty areas. Students will write a NIH-style grant proposal. Students can propose to write an NRSA or an alternative grant proposal (e.g., NSF, Spencer), but whatever agency/proposal that will be pursued must be approved by their Research Mentor and the Graduate Program Director. The goal is to provide students with the opportunity to prepare a proposal for external funding, and also provide a written context for the subsequent Oral Qualifying Examination. The Oral Exam will require the student to place the work in a still larger context, such as discussion of the linkages to or implications for research and theory in various areas of social and cognitive development, social policy, and/or practice. The questions will not be provided to the student in advance of the exam
Thesis and Dissertation
The Master's thesis is an original research project, supervised by a Psychology Department faculty member, written up as a journal article and orally defended. Students who enter with advanced standing should check with the Graduate Program Director to determine if this requirement is met with previous master's degree.
The Dissertation is the product of a large-scale research endeavor undertaken with guidance and supervision of a faculty committee. A public oral defense of the dissertation is required, and after successful completion the final work will be deposited in a publicly available database in accordance with Graduate School policy.
Graduate & Professional Standards and Regulations
Students in graduate and professional programs can find their Academic Policies in Graduate and Professional Academic Standards and Regulations under their school. Any additional University Policies supercede school policies.
Students who complete the PhD in Developmental Psychology will:
- Acquire broad understanding of psychological concepts, and advanced knowledge of the cognitive, cultural social-emotional, linguistic and neural factors that promote the learning and development of children and youth.
- Become versed in various data gathering methods, the ethical conduct of research, and the use of sophisticated statistical techniques.
- Conduct original research that contributes new knowledge and can ultimately support the healthy development of children, youth, and families.
- Learn about available research funding opportunities, and obtain experience with grant writing.
- Produce high quality oral and written presentations, including posters at conferences, and publications in peer-reviewed journals.