Georgia is home to three universities offering doctoral programs in developmental psychology, all of which include a master's degree, but do not offer stand-alone master's degree programs. Once accepted, students work closely with faculty to design a curriculum specifically suited to their interests and goals. Upon graduation, they may be prepared to work in academic, research or other professional settings.
Georgia Schools Offering Graduate Programs in Developmental Psychology
Georgia State University
This doctoral program at Georgia State University, in Atlanta, aims to train faculty or researchers who will advance developmental psychology science and practices. Coursework focuses on the science and methods of normal and atypical development, covering the spectrum from birth through adolescence. The program also explores specific influences, such as genetic, neuropsychological, perceptual, cognitive and social concerns. Research and training include concentrations in communication/language development and school achievement/policy issues, and is geared toward understanding development within diverse populations. Students earn a master's degree prior to completing their Ph.D.
The Ph.D. program at Emory University, located in Atlanta, offers both a broad, interdisciplinary approach that includes a master's degree, as well as a program focus in cognition and development. Due to the substantial overlap with the program in neuroscience and animal behavior, interested students have the opportunity to apply simultaneously to both programs. The cognition and development concentration employs multiple approaches in its study of cognition, including adult and childhood behavior, neuroimaging, neuroscience, social/situational and computational perspectives. Coursework covers four core areas of study: perceptual cognition, conceptual processes, language and memory.
University of Georgia
Athens' doctoral program at the University of Georgia in behavioral and brain sciences provides the opportunity to focus in developmental science and is intended to train scientists to address research questions from a developmental perspective. Research areas are varied and can include subjects such as infant attention, health, vision science or family relationships. Faculty and students often engage in interdisciplinary research, and students, who also earn a master's degree, are encouraged to take classes in associated schools or departments.
To apply for doctoral study in developmental psychology, prospective students are expected to hold a bachelor's degree - preferably in psychology, though some institutions will accept students in other disciplines who have taken a minimum number of psychology classes. Students who already hold a master's degree can often request to waive similar courses and/or their master's thesis requirement.
Most programs are relatively small, with some accepting only a third to a quarter of the 20-30 students who apply. Students who make the cut tend to have a GPA of around 3.3 or higher, and GRE scores of above 150 for both the verbal and quantitative sections. All three Ph.D. programs cover the tuition of accepted students, and either provide them with a stipend or support them through a combination of teaching assistantships, research assistantships and grants. While stipends vary, they are often competitive and can measure around $20,000 a year.
A Ph.D. in developmental psychology takes around six years to complete. In addition to core coursework, graduate students collaborate with an academic advisor to construct their own curriculum and develop their own research. They're obliged to meet specific requirements as approved by faculty - including a master's thesis, written and oral examinations and a dissertation.
Research Methods in Psychology
This kind of course typically covers various methods of designing research, such as experimental, quasi-experimental, single-case and case studies. It might also delve into various issues that can arise during research and impact its outcome. These issues can include areas such as measurement, reliability, internal and external validity, and artifacts.
Advanced Psychological Statistics
A course in this area might cover advanced topics in the statistical analysis of psychological data. These may include factor analysis, structural equation modeling, and psychometric methods and theories. Students could also take a look at a multivariate analysis of variance.
Social Psychology & Emotion
This type of course commonly analyzes the theory and research in the development of social and emotional processes. It typically considers both normal and atypical patterns of development. In addition, students explore the impact of various social situations and cultural contexts and practice identifying emerging trends.
Cognitive & Perceptual Development
These courses typically cover the cognitive, perceptual, and sometimes linguistic processes from infancy through adolescence. Students might study theory, research and emerging trends. Cognitive and perceptual changes are usually considered through the lens of both normative and atypical development patterns.
Developmental Psychology Seminar
Most programs require students to participate in some kind of developmental psychology seminar, which can include subjects such as professional development and research methodology, along with skills for teaching. These might focus around guest speakers, from within the school or beyond. Often, they will also provide students with opportunities to present their own research.
At least three schools in Georgia offer programs towards a Ph.D. in developmental psychology, which include a master's degree and enable students to tailor the curriculum to meet their personal goals. When choosing between programs, it is advisable for students to consider the faculty members and their research focus, as students work closely with academic advisory committees to meet their own research goals.