Developmental Psychology Graduate Programs in Pennsylvania

Apr 19, 2019

There is a range of opportunities for students to earn a Doctor of Philosophy in developmental psychology at universities throughout the state of Pennsylvania.

Developmental psychologists are interested in studying emotional, cognitive, and social development throughout the human lifespan. Those who wish to pursue this area of study often earn a Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in psychology, focusing their coursework and research into areas of human development. This degree can often be earned in five years of full-time study and usually requires coursework, qualifying exams, and a dissertation. Read on for some information about programs in the state of Pennsylvania where students can earn the Ph.D. in developmental psychology, including common admission requirements for these programs.

Developmental Psychology Ph.D. programs in Pennsylvania

Penn State University

At Penn State University in University Park, students can pursue a Ph.D. in psychology with a focus in developmental psychology. Students can focus on a range of themes, including ecology of development and gender. Penn State's Child Study Center is affiliated with the developmental psychology program, and many doctoral students utilize its facilities, including video labs and interview rooms, to conduct research into normal and atypical child development. Local schools and on-campus early childhood programs also provide opportunities for research and practicums.

University of Pittsburgh

The University of Pittsburgh offers graduate students the opportunity to pursue a Ph.D. in psychology focused upon developmental psychology. Doctoral students can focus on several sub-areas in the field, including socio-emotional development and motor development. Students will gain experience in different research methodologies, such as experimental, interview, and observational approaches. Another option at the University of Pittsburgh is to earn a Ph.D. in applied developmental psychology through the school of education.

Temple University

Temple University, located in Philadelphia, provides an opportunity to earn a Ph.D. in psychology, with a concentration in developmental psychology. Students with an interest in developmental psychopathology can plan their coursework and research interests to reflect this emerging field. Research institutes including Adolescent Development and Decision-Making and Developmental Science promote graduate student research interests.

University of Pennsylvania

Students at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia can earn a Ph.D. in psychology in brain, cognitive, and decision science, with a specialization in developmental psychology. The program has a particular focus in cognitive development, and has close relationships with other departments including neuroscience and linguistics. Students must engage as teaching assistants for at least two semesters.

Lehigh University

Lehigh University offers a selective psychology Ph.D. program in the small city of Bethlehem. Students can focus on developmental psychology, and cross-collaboration is also encouraged. Significant research is required, including a first-year project and master's thesis in preparation for the dissertation. Students are expected to teach at least one undergraduate course.


Students applying to Ph.D. programs in developmental psychology typically have an undergraduate degree or significant coursework in psychology. They should plan to submit GRE scores, statement of purpose, recommendations, and a transcript. Some programs may require or recommend the submission of a writing sample, such as an undergraduate thesis. It might be recommended to directly contact faculty members as part of the admissions process. Some programs may require submission of applications through PSYCAS, the Centralized Application Service for Graduate Psychology. Many universities provide funding for the Ph.D. students.

Earning a Ph.D. in developmental psychology can allow students to learn more about human development in a range of areas. There are many options in the state of Pennsylvania for students to pursue this degree.

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