Developmental Program

Chair: Celia A. Brownell, PhD

Developmental Program Faculty

Application Deadline: December 1

The Developmental Psychology Program trains students at the doctoral level in the major areas of development including socio-emotional development, cognitive development, language development, and social-cognitive development.  Students master the basic theoretical issues that drive inquiry in developmental psychology and the research methods needed to address both basic and applied research questions. The goal of the program is to train productive developmental scientists who will work primarily in academic settings but who are also prepared for other careers that require an in-depth knowledge of child development theory and research.

The program is heavily research focused.  Through close interaction with a faculty mentor, students achieve expertise in a particular area of research within developmental psychology. At the same time they acquire broad exposure to the multiple psychological processes underlying development through courses, seminars, colloquia, and attendance at national and international meetings.  Collaborative research and cross-disciplinary training is encouraged. Students become productive scholars with several presentations and publications by the time they earn the Ph.D. Graduates of the program typically are hired into academic or research settings, with some students pursuing more applied careers in social policy institutes or government agencies.

The program has particular strengths in early socioemotional, communicative, cognitive and social-cognitive development; family and peer relationships; atypical development, including autism-spectrum disorders; prevention/intervention and policy-related research.  Current research foci include: development of motor, communicative, and language abilities and their interrelationships from infancy through preschool age; development of prosocial behavior and self-other understanding in infants and toddlers; development of perceptual categories in typical and atypical infants and children; development of spirituality and its understanding in childhood; family factors in the development and prevention of childhood and adolescent social and behavior problems, including aggression, antisocial behavior, risk-taking, and drug abuse; roles of race, ethnicity, culture, and socioeconomic status in social and cognitive development; effects of early experience, especially socioemotional deprivation, on children’s development; early markers of autism and related disorders.

Other notable features of the program include the high quality of faculty research, teaching, and mentoring, and the excellent financial and academic support for students who are treated as junior colleagues in a community of developmental scholars.

For additional information, see Developmental Program Student Handbook

The Department of Psychology also offers PhD training in its Clinical/Developmental Program, and the School of Education offers a PhD in Applied Developmental Psychology.  Which graduate Developmental degree is right for you?   Click here

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