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The PhD in Developmental Psychology aims to understand and improve the lives of individuals and families across the lifespan. Faculty in the Developmental Psychology Program study infancy, childhood, adolescence, young adulthood, and midlife into old age. Through the innovative combination of basic science, community-based interventions, and use of contemporary methods of analysis, the Developmental Psychology program offers unique opportunities for students to build both skills and relationships across the university and local communities. Your research at ASU will have practical applications and you will be able to see the difference that you make in the lives of real people. For a full list of labs, visit the Developmental Labs section of the website here.
The Doctor of Philosophy program in psychology with an emphasis on developmental psychology offers training in the theories and methods of developmental psychology and how they are applied in real world settings. By development, we mean the transformations and changes that occur across the lifespan and the processes that influence not only behaviors, emotions, and cognition, but also the underlying genetic and biological mechanisms.
Developmental psychologists work in a variety of settings, including academia, government agencies, health care facilities, and schools. Those working at universities tend to focus primarily on research and teaching. Others work in applied settings, such as nonprofits and health care facilities. Developmental psychologists may work with individuals at any age. The majority of the graduates of our Developmental Psychology program have gone on to research and teaching careers in academia or government and industry.
IMPORTANT: To be considered for PhD program, you must complete the application through ASU's online portal AND submit your material through Slideroom
The 84 credit-hour program of study includes a master’s thesis, comprehensive exam, and a dissertation. Coursework covers theory, methods, advanced statistics, professional development (e.g., grant writing and teaching), general psychology breadth courses, and developmental psychology depth courses. Prospective doctoral candidates should have a passion and interest in developmental psychology, have demonstrated research skills through experience in a research lab or senior thesis, and have a minimum of a 3.00 cumulative GPA.
The FAQ tab on the left contains more information on the graduate program and application process. The faculty take a holistic approach to evaluating applications of prospective students, including the review of their written statement, research experience, GPA, and letters of recommendation. We also understand that applying to graduate school can be an expensive process. Please contact us if you have financial need and/or assistance with application fees.
Applicants who are interested in learning more about the faculty’s current research projects and whether they are accepting students are encouraged to reach out to them or a member of their lab directly. Click to read about faculty who are accepting graduate students for the 2021-2022 academic year and contact information for current graduate students in their lab.
"I was especially drawn to the Developmental area's diverse and transdisciplinary research interests. ASU has relationships with many community organizations and resources can provide me the opportunity to engage in unique training and experiences."
- Reagan Breitenstein , Doctoral Student, Developmental Psychology
Graduate students in Developmental Psychology receive coursework training in the areas listed below. The total number of hours required by the Graduate College for the PhD is 84; 42 of coursework and 42 of research/reading & conference. Other courses offered by developmental faculty, affiliated faculty, visiting professors, or offered in other departments may be substituted by approval of the developmental faculty.
Requirements and electives
Total hours required
Expand the options below to see what courses are available in each required area. Graduate students are expected to complete 84 credit hours.
Developmental Theory Courses. Students are required to take at least one course:
Developmental Methods Courses. Students are required to take at least one course:
Quantitative Courses. Students are required to take at least four of the following courses:
Plus others that may be offered outside the Department of Psychology, such as longitudinal modeling, categorical data analysis, qualitative data analysis, time series analysis, subject to approval by the developmental faculty.
Depth Courses: Topical Courses of a Developmental Nature. Students are required to take at least four courses with at least two from developmental faculty:
Plus others that may be offered outside the Department of Psychology, such as speech and language development, subject to approval by the developmental faculty.
Breadth Courses: Psychological Foundations. Students are required to take at least two courses from other areas within the department that will provide the student with a broader perspective including the social, cognitive, and/or biological bases of human behavior. These courses are taught by Department of Psychology faculty; coursework from other departments or schools are subject to approval from the developmental faculty.
Research: Reading & Conference, Master’s Thesis. Students are required to take 42 research credits and this requirement could be satisfied with some combination of masters, dissertation, RA, and supervised research via the courses listed below. When those 42 credits are completed, there are no more research requirements.
Transfer students: with the approval of the degree program and ASU's Graduate College, students may include a maximum of 12 graduate-level credit hours with grades of “B” or better that were not used towards a previous degree. Preadmission credits must have been taken within three years of admission to the ASU degree program to be accepted. The PhD program can also accept an admitted students Master’s degree and this would count as 30 credits towards the 84 required for the program.
Child Emotion Center (Lemery-Chalfant)
Courage Lab (Pina)
Healthy Aging and Life Events Lab (Infurna)
Theory of Mind / Father and Divorce Labs (Fabricius)
Learning and Development Lab (Benitez)
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