Developmental Psychology FAQs

Developmental Admissions FAQ

What is it like living in Tempe, AZ?

Tempe is about 20 minutes from Phoenix. There is a college-town feel, but it is surrounded by major cities and attractions. The work-life balance is great!

Do graduate students typically live in Tempe?

Many students live in Tempe, but others also choose to reside in Phoenix, Scottsdale, Mesa, or Chandler, which are each about 20 minutes from Tempe.

What resources are available for students from underrepresented backgrounds?

The Department of Psychology is committed to fostering diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging (DEIB) within the department and among students and faculty. For example, graduate student and faculty committees have developed a speaker series centered on underrepresented voices and designated a lounge area for students to connect. In addition, the ASU graduate college has many funding opportunities for underrepresented students, and mentors within the Psychology department have a strong track record for securing funding opportunities for their students (see below, and also the “News and Events” section on the department page). Lastly, our department established the ENERGIZE program to connect undergraduate students who are underrepresented in the sciences with research laboratories in Psychology. The ENERGIZE program also provides one-on-one mentorship from graduate students from similar backgrounds.

Program Funding

Students are assigned to academic year assignments (9 months) and receive stipends for their work as research assistants, teaching assistants, or fellowships. All of our faculty work closely with students to apply for prestigious fellowships such as National Science Foundation Predoctoral Fellowships, NIH National Research Service Award Fellowships, Ford Foundation Fellowships and more! There are also opportunities for summer funding.

Do you have funding for travel?

Yes! The developmental program offers a travel grant that can award up to $500 to students seeking funds to attend conferences, workshops, and other relevant expenses. These grants can be submitted at any point during the year. In addition to this, the psychology department as a whole also offers funding, along with ASU’s Graduate and Professional Student Association (GPSA).

What is the admissions committee looking for in a prospective student?

The faculty take a holistic approach to evaluating prospective students. Prospective students are evaluated based on previous research experience, GPA, written statement and letters of recommendation. Faculty are also looking for students who will offer new perspectives and ways of thinking, who are motivated about research in developmental science, and who thrive in a collaborative environment.

Who is the best person for me to contact to learn more about the program?

It is strongly encouraged that you reach out to your professor(s) of interest to briefly introduce yourself and confirm that the faculty member is currently accepting students. If you are interested in learning more about current projects within the research labs, or gain a student perspective of the program, we encourage you to reach out to the lab’s current graduate students . If you are interested in learning more about the requirements of the Developmental PhD program, you can contact the program area head Dr. Leah Doane ( Lastly, if you are hoping to gain general knowledge about the program from a student perspective, please contact the current graduate student representative for the developmental program: Marissa Castellana

How many students are admitted per year?

This number differs, depending on how many faculty members are recruiting, faculty grant funding, and the number of applications we receive. In recent years, we have been able to offer admission to approximately 2-4 students per year.

What do alumni from the developmental program end up?

Graduates of ASU’s Developmental Psychology program have acquired a variety of jobs within both academia and industry. Some examples of jobs that alumni currently hold are prestigious postdoctoral positions, tenure-track positions at research intensive universities and small liberal arts colleges, research positions, teaching positions, and baseball analytics.

What is there to do for fun in the Tempe area?

There is a ton of fun to be had in Tempe and the larger Phoenix Metropolitan Area! Hiking, biking, kayaking in Tempe Town Lake (Tempe Beach Park), going downtown (movie theatre, restaurants, etc.), events on ASU’s campus, farmer’s markets, and breweries are just some of the many fun things available. Additionally, downtown Phoenix is just a short drive which has an assortment of museums (art and science), as well as professional sports (baseball, basketball, football, hockey, soccer) and baseball spring training.

Do I need a car in Tempe?

Many students who live in Tempe prefer to walk or bike, so having a car isn’t necessary if you are living closer to campus. In addition, Tempe has a great light rail and bus system that makes it easy to get anywhere you need to go without having to pay for a tank of gas! If you have to drive to campus, there are many freeways leading to campus which makes for quick access wherever you choose to live.

Cost of living, do you need a roommate to afford Tempe?

Students living in the Tempe area closer to campus report that costs of living can differ, but that getting a roommate helps alleviate the costs dramatically. Tempe has become a popular city in the past few years, attracting both students and working young professionals. Many students who live slightly further from Tempe, such as Phoenix (~15-20 minutes away) or Mesa (~12 minutes away) report that living alone is affordable.

Can I take courses in other departments? (e.g., School of Social and Family Dynamics, School of Social Work, etc.)

Yes, and it is highly encouraged! Part of the developmental program’s course requirements are that students are required to take courses outside of their immediate developmental area. While some students may choose to take these classes in other psychology areas, such as behavioral neuroscience or cognitive psychology, many students take courses in the school of social and family dynamics. ASU’s psychology department welcomes cross-departmental collaborations, as we believe these will help students’ training take multiple perspectives.