Applied Developmental Psychology Concentration

Catalog Year: 2023-2024

Banner Code: LA-PHD-PSYC-APD

The PhD in Psychology provides knowledge of the basic content areas in psychology and practical experience in applying this knowledge to solve human problems in relationships, work, and education. Core course requirements cover subject matter identified by the profession as essential to doctoral training. This includes biological, social, cognitive, and individual bases of behavior, as well as the history of psychology. The program offers the following concentrations: applied developmental psychology, clinical psychology, cognitive and behavioral neuroscience, human factors/applied cognition, and industrial/organizational psychology.

The University Catalog is the authoritative source for information on program requirements and courses. The Schedule of Classes is the authoritative source for information on classes scheduled for this semester. See the Schedule for the most up-to-date information and see Patriot web to register for classes. Requirements may be different for earlier catalog years. See the University Catalog archives.

Degree Requirements

Total credits: 72

Students should be aware of the specific policies associated with this program, located on the Admissions & Policies tab.

In addition to satisfying the requirements for all doctoral degrees, students must successfully complete 72 credits of required coursework. 

Concentration in Applied Developmental Psychology (APD)


The applied developmental psychology concentration is concerned with enhancing developmental processes and preventing developmental disorders in individuals and families across the life span. It uses the knowledge base and methodologies of developmental science to assist the development of individuals who vary in cultural and ethnic backgrounds; economic and social opportunities; physical, social, emotional, and cognitive abilities; and conditions of living (e.g., families, neighborhoods, communities, and physical settings). The program's emphasis is on child development (infancy, early childhood, middle childhood, and adolescence), and students may focus their studies on the cognitive, social, emotional, language, personality, or physiological aspects of development.

The applied developmental concentration has two goals: to train students to teach and do research on basic and applied issues in child development for employment in such settings as universities, research institutes, and organizations, and to train students to do applied work in developmental psychology (consultation, program evaluation, assessment and evaluation, developmental interventions, and parent training) in such settings as schools, hospitals, courts, child care facilities, and other organizations. 

Students pursuing this concentration must complete 72 credits comprised of doctoral coursework and at least 12 credits of dissertation research. The number of credits required may be reduced for a prior master's degree as described above.

Doctoral Coursework

Developmental Core

PSYC 704 Life-Span Development 3
Total Credits 3

Psychology Core

Select one course from the following: 3
Cognitive Bases of Behavior  
Biological Bases of Human Behavior  
Social Bases of Behavior  
Emotional Bases of Behavior  
Total Credits 3

Quantitative and Specialized Methods

PSYC 642 General Linear Modeling I 4
PSYC 643 General Linear Modeling II 4
Additional courses 9
Choose at least two from the following:
Psychometric Methods  
Longitudinal Data Analysis  
Doing Social Network Research in Psychological Science  
Quantitative Methods IV: Multivariate Techniques in Psychology  
Advanced Topics in Statistical Analysis (with approval)  
Structural Equation Modeling and Meta-Analysis  
Special Topics (with approval)  
Special Topics in Psychology (with approval)  
Additional course can be taken from the following:
Program Evaluation  
Qualitative Methods in Educational Research  
Mixed Methods Research: Integrating Qualitative and Quantitative Approaches  
Item Response Theory  
Hierarchical Linear Modeling  
Special Topics (when topic is Matlab for Psychologists)  
Seminar in Human Factors and Applied Cognition (when topic is Python for Psychology)  
Applied Statistics and Visualization for Analytics  
Total Credits 17

Developmental Specialized Content

Choose four courses from the following: 12
Social and Emotional Development  
Cognitive and Perceptual Development  
Language Development  
Developmental Psychopathology  
Applied Developmental Psychology  
Advanced Learning, Motivation, and Self-Regulation  
Special Topics 1  
Special Topics in Psychology
Total Credits 12

When topic is Adolescent Development; Autism Spectrum Disorders; Child Development and Social Policy; Executive Functions Development; or developmental in content, with approval.

Professional Seminar/Professional Ethics

Students take 1 credit in fall and 1 credit in spring of their first year and 1 additional credit at any other time (preferably in their second year). 

PSYC 890 Seminar in Professional Psychology (3 credits) 1-3
Total Credits 3

Directed Reading and Research or Practicum

Students may fulfill this requirement with 8 credits of PSYC 897 Directed Reading and Research or a combination of PSYC 897 Directed Reading and Research and PSYC 792 Psychology Practicum.

Select 8 credits from the following: 8
Directed Reading and Research (can be repeated for credit)  
Psychology Practicum (A maximum of 6 credits may be applied to this requirement.)  
Teaching Practicum in Psychology  
Total Credits 8

Elective Courses

Select 14 credits in consultation with your advisor to complete 72 total required for the degree. 14

Students complete the 72 credits required for the degree with additional coursework from within or outside the department, excluding PSYC 798 Thesis Proposal and PSYC 799 Master's Thesis, with prior approval of the advisor.

Advancement to Candidacy

To advance to candidacy, students must complete all courses required by the program. Students must also successfully complete and pass written and oral comprehensive exams.

Dissertation Research

The dissertation requirement is designed to demonstrate the student's ability to apply psychological principles to research problems. Once enrolled in PSYC 999 Doctoral Dissertation, students must follow the university's continuous registration policy as specified in AP.6.10.6 Dissertation Research. Students who defend in the summer must be registered for at least 1 credit of PSYC 999 Doctoral Dissertation.

Students complete a minimum of 3 credits of PSYC 998 Doctoral Dissertation Proposal and 3 credits of PSYC 999 Doctoral Dissertation. They must apply a minimum of 12 dissertation credits (PSYC 998 Doctoral Dissertation Proposal and PSYC 999 Doctoral Dissertation combined) to the degree. Because of the continuous registration policy, students may be required to register for additional credits of these courses.

Select 12 credits from the following: 12
Doctoral Dissertation Proposal  
Doctoral Dissertation  
Total Credits 12