The subprogram in developmental psychology focuses on teaching and research on human development. The goal of this subprogram is to educate outstanding teachers and researchers regarding the origins and development of human thought, emotion and behavior.

Faculty members have expertise in the developmental periods of infancy, middle childhood, adolescence and adulthood; students with cross-cutting interests in developmental and clinical psychology can complete our clinical developmental program. The central focus of the subprogram is on normal development; however, a number of faculty and students also examine the role of developmental processes in adjustment and psychopathology. Developmental faculty members adopt an interdisciplinary perspective and some engage in active collaborations across clusters and departments.

Diverse Developmental Methods

Graduate students have opportunities for training in a variety of developmental methods and techniques, including longitudinal study design, statistical methods for analyzing longitudinal data, study of normal and at-risk populations, and research involving the home, school, and community contexts in human development. In recent years, graduate courses have included seminars on developmental psychopathology and family relationships.

Student-Mentor Model

Graduate students conduct independent research in a student-mentor model. Students are accepted into the graduate program with the expectation that they will work closely with a particular faculty member. This is often, although not always, the faculty member with whom the student is in contact prior to accepting our offer of admission to the graduate program and whose scholarly interests match the student's. Students have the option of changing mentors during their early career should their interests change.

Individualized Programs

Graduate students obtain a master's degree en-route to the Ph.D. and then complete a preliminary exam. Students have a number of options in designing their individualized program of study. In addition to standard seminars and required M.A. and Ph.D. research credits, students may choose to pursue readings in a specialized area under supervision of one or more faculty members, or to design and carry out a project to develop other professional skills (Advanced Readings and Research). Other nontraditional curricular options can be arranged at the student's request and with the agreement of the advisor and graduate committee. Students are funded through graduate teaching fellowships or research assistantships. We do not admit applicants who are seeking a terminal master's degree.

Multiple Career Pathways

The developmental subprogram prepares students for teaching, research, and applied positions in academic institutions, research and service organizations, policy institutes, and governmental agencies. Recent graduates have gone on to post-doctoral fellowships; tenure track academic positions; and positions in the public and private sectors, including state and federal government agencies, community mental health agencies, and private research institutes.

Developmental Psychopathology Specialization

Students in the developmental psychology subprogram may elect to specialize in the area of psychopathology. Developmental psychopathology is concerned with the origins and progression of patterns of adaptive and maladaptive behavior across the lifespan.