Developmental psychology is a branch of study that examines the way that humans develop over time. Some of the topics developmental psychology may explore are the ways humans acquire language, the effects of aging on development, and the connections between family, society, and development. Many universities offer graduate-level degrees in developmental psychology, and you will find the top programs of this kind below.
Top PhD Developmental Psychology Programs
New York University (NYU)
NYU offers a PhD in developmental psychology that incorporates both theory and research. During this program, you will take foundational courses in psychology as well as courses related to behavioral statistics, quantitative analysis, language development, and adolescent social development. You will also undergo professional development training and will have to present research findings for peer review as well as for conference audiences. In this program, you will also need to join a faculty member's research team and devote 20 hours per week to the efforts.
Duke University also offers a PhD in developmental psychology. This degree program should take about five years to complete and will include core coursework, statistics training, and concentration coursework in developmental psychology. At the end of the program, you will also need to complete the dissertation process. Other requirements of the program include attending developmental working group meetings, where you will need to give presentations, and completing a research practicum in a lab setting.
Arizona State University
The PhD in developmental psychology at Arizona State University is an 84-credit hour program that offers specializations in areas like developmental psychopathology, community science, and community interventions. You will need to meet several requirements that include core coursework, elective coursework, research hours, and a dissertation. There are also seven research labs in which you will be able to participate. Lab topics include adolescent stress, courage, learning and development, and parent-child relationships.
University of Florida
The University of Florida's PhD in developmental psychology is a five-year program that will have you working with a singular faculty advisor. The first three years of this program require completing coursework, developing and finishing your master's thesis, giving lectures, and presenting your research at conferences. The fourth and fifth years will be spent completing your qualifying exams, teaching courses, producing journal articles or presentations, and finishing your dissertation.
Florida Atlantic University
Located in Boca Raton, Florida Atlantic University offers a PhD in experimental psychology with a concentration in developmental psychology. This is an 80-credit hour program that can be completed within 4-5 years. The program will entail coursework, comprehensive exams, and a dissertation process. Some of the research interests of this program include language acquisition, social cognition, and evolutionary development.
Common Entrance Requirements
There are several common entrance requirements to gain admission to a PhD-level developmental psychology program. Most, if not all programs, will require that you hold a bachelor's degree, ideally in psychology or a related field. Some schools may require that you hold a 3.0 GPA in your undergraduate work as well as GRE test scores. Other common application materials could include transcripts, a statement of purpose, and letters of recommendation.
On the average, a PhD program in development psychology will take you five years to complete. In that time, you will complete coursework, conduct research, and most likely, develop your own unique dissertation, which will be based on your specific specialization or research interests in the field.