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The Program in Developmental Psychology is designed to help graduate students achieve excellence in research, scholarship, and teaching. Our pre-doctoral students obtain research expertise through apprenticeship activities that lead gradually to independent research. Scholarship emerges through some required courses in the Program and access to elective courses in other Programs, and Departments, as well as at neighboring universities. Students who seek teaching skills can acquire them through a mentored process that includes taking a course in undergraduate teaching, serving as a teaching assistant with a faculty instructor, and teaching independently as an instructor of record, while working closely with a faculty teaching mentor.

Graduate students are involved actively in research throughout their time in the Developmental Psychology Program. Growing out of their apprenticeship work with their advisors, students complete independent research projects by the end of the second year. Additional research undertaken in the second and third years leads to the development of dissertation projects. In the fourth or fifth year, each student develops and defends a dissertation prospectus and then conducts, writes, and defends the dissertation.

In terms of courses, the first two years of graduate training usually involve taking a sequence of core seminars in Social Development and Cognitive Development, two semesters of Developmental Research Methods, and two semesters of Advanced Statistics. In subsequent years, students take advanced developmental psychology seminars, fulfill out-of-area requirements, and often consolidate their skills in statistics by completing a minor concentration in Quantitative Psychology Program.

In addition to a student’s ongoing research, the third year of study is usually devoted to completing the Comprehensive Doctoral Examination. The Examination can be completed in various forms, including a significant review of literature or a written response to a set of questions that are specific to the student’s area of research expertise.