Developmental Psychology


The Developmental Psychology Ph.D. program at the University of Rochester prepares students for careers that combine research and teaching at the college or university level. The program provides students with the theoretical perspectives and methodological skills needed for advanced scholarly work. To achieve this goal, students obtain extensive and structured research training, take courses, and obtain teaching experience in the larger psychology department and through other supporting centers and institutes.

Our training program specifically focuses on normal and atypical development during the first two decades of life. The small size of the Developmental Psychology program cultivates a cohesive, supportive, and personal training environment that insures that graduate students receive individualized attention from their faculty mentors. We operate from a junior colleague model of graduate training where students are regarded as invaluable, integral members of the program. We encourage students to develop their own identity as researchers and scholars. Thus, the training experience is designed to facilitate mastery of the scientific skills in the substantive knowledge area of the program faculty while allowing students to develop a research program that uniquely reflects their own interests. This process, in our view, is best fostered by intensive collaborative exchanges with faculty.

Our small size enables students to have extensive interaction with program faculty while having access to numerous training opportunities. Students who enter the program have access to a wide number of research experiences. Many students in our program are financially supported on research grants. Likewise, the interlocking interests among faculty and students in the developmental, clinical, and social psychology programs in the department also creates a number of opportunities for further training and collaboration at the department level. In addition, our close affiliation with centers (e.g., Mt. Hope Family Center), institutes (e.g., The Children’s Institute), and departments in the University of Rochester Medical Center (e.g., Psychiatry, School of Nursing) provide further opportunities for students to develop individualized training programs. Research training is also facilitated by professional seminar and presentation series both within our program (e.g., Developmental Psychology Presentation Series), and across programs and disciplines in the University (e.g., Developmental Psychopathology Presentation Series). These training mechanisms provide a forum for presenting research and for facilitating students’ professional development that are critical to becoming a well-rounded research scientist and academician.