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Grad Program: Developmental Psychology

Basic Information

Developmental psychologists track perceptual and cognitive growth, language acquisition, social development, and a variety of other processes from birth to old age. They work with different populations, including children (the most popular area of study), the elderly, and families. Many developmental psychologists work directly with one or more of these groups, focusing on the reasons behind their behavior.

Graduate students in Developmental Psychology gain a broad theoretical background, which can be coupled with an area of specialization. Recent trends in Developmental Psychology include studies of aging and memory, the effects of divorce on children, theories of the mind, peer relationships, economics, and social development.

Research and practice provide invaluable experience for students. The integration of class work with clinical experience and research allows the student exposure to a variety of disorders and methods.

Degree Information

Most graduate work in Developmental or Child Psychology culminates in the Ph.D., which usually takes at least four years to complete (six or seven years is a more typical figure). A terminal master’s degree (M.A.) in Developmental or Child Psychology is another option although career opportunities are more limited.. Those students wishing to become child psychiatrists must pursue an M.D., which involves four years of medical school, three years of residency, and two additional years of psychiatric training.

Questions to Ask Yourself When Choosing a Degree Program
  • Will you be required to choose an area of specialization?
  • What concentrations, if any, are offered?
  • What are some of the current or recent research projects of students and faculty?
  • What opportunities does the program offer for research or field experience in the community?
  • How successful is the program in placing its graduates in jobs?
  • What kinds of jobs have graduates gone on to pursue?
  • Are students required to be teach as T.A.s during the graduate program?
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