Overview of Developmental Psychology Degree
Those interested in pursuing a degree in developmental psychology will need to complete specific coursework in order to qualify for graduation. Developmental psychology studies the evolutions of individuals across their lifespan with an emphasis on how society impacts social and psychological development. There are many undergraduate programs in existence for aspiring psychologists that follow curriculums specific to developmental psychology. After earning their degrees, graduates are eligible to hold a number of careers within the sciences, education, business, and more.
Depending on the program to which candidates apply, admittance requirements will vary. Most planning to earn a bachelor's degree in developmental psychology require a GPA in good standing of at least 2.0, a high school diploma, admission application, and passing scores on the SAT and/or ACT exam. Candidates may also be required to submit an essay for consideration along with their application. Some institutions will also ask that incoming program participants submit a letter of recommendation from a prior instructor.
Common Course Descriptions
While coursework for earning a degree in developmental psychology may vary, program participants will find many commonalities between their individual curricula. The following courses can be frequently found in most developmental psychology programs:
As aspiring graduates prepare for real-world client interactions, they must understand the nuances in personality development among disparate populations. These courses are designed to accomplish just that, exposing candidates to modern theories, research, and interventions in personality development psychology. Program participants will be able to evaluate the societal impact on personality development through the lens of such historical figures as Sigmund Freud. Through this rich understanding, they will be able to better contextualize and apply appropriate intervention in personality development psychology.
Quantitative Psychology & Methodology
Psychologists must apply quantitative methods in order to effectively evaluate and treat their patients. Through this coursework, aspiring psychologists will learn the tools and techniques used by modern clinical psychologists when treating and examining patients. Developing skills in quantitative psychology provides candidates with the knowledge necessary to implement psychometric techniques and analyze them accordingly.
Much of developmental psychology deals with the ways in which society impacts individual development. Social psychology analyzes this in great detail, demonstrating not only how person-to-person interaction affects overall psychology, but exploring the effects that environment and technology can also have on psychological development. Program participants will learn how social, cognitive, and behavioral psychology interventions are linked, empowering them with the skills necessary for successful patient relationships in the future.
Another key component to developmental psychology is language development, memory, and decision-making. Cognitive psychology not only explores these elements in great detail, but evaluates how attention and learning also contribute to one's cognitive development. A firm understanding of cognitive psychology interventions will allow candidates to develop more effective treatment plans during their careers.
Culture, Development & Psychology
This coursework complements the social psychology curriculum in its analysis of how cultural influences impact psychological development. Specifically, themes of oppression, racism, prejudice, socioeconomics, and value differences are explored through the context of how they directly impact individual development. Candidates will also learn how changing cultural values can shift to make significant impacts on how individuals develop psychologically.
How to Choose a Developmental Psychology Degree
The first step to selecting the right developmental psychology degree is to identify programs where candidates will be exposed to multiple areas of study within the broader field of psychology as this will help them gain a more well-rounded education. Participants should also look for programs that offer flexibility for busier schedules — especially if candidates are returning to school as adult learners with full-time working schedules. Additionally, participants should have access to a strong network of professional development opportunities through their specific institution, such as practicum placement, internships, or volunteerism. Such opportunities will better prepare them for future career success upon graduation.
Those who enter a degree program in developmental psychology typically have the goal of becoming a clinical psychologist. According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment in psychology is expected to grow by 14% between 2018 and 2028 — much higher than the national average. The BLS further states that the average psychologist in America can expect to earn $79,010 annually. However, there are many careers graduates with a degree in developmental psychology can pursue, including: