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Developmental & Learning Sciences

The Graduate Certificate in Developmental and Learning Sciences is designed to educate participants in an emergent, interdisciplinary approach to understanding children’s development and learning that includes the integration of theory and research from the fields of developmental psychology, cognitive science, neuroscience, and education. The work in the discipline of Developmental and Learning Sciences is geared toward improving developmental and learning outcomes for children. Recognizing that these improved outcomes  depend on the dissemination of research-based knowledge  in usable formats for classroom teachers, the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) and the Society for Research in Child Development (SRCD) made the following recommendations in a joint report in 2007: 

  1. identify potentially effective approaches to translate research into effective classroom practices and policies,
  2. develop effective strategies to increase the number and quality of faculty and graduate students in early childhood education, and
  3. generate practical and innovative ways to strengthen the bridge between early childhood research and practice (see (

These are the aims of the Graduate Certificate in Developmental and Learning Sciences. 

This discipline is recognized by funding agencies, such as the

  • National Science Foundation: Developmental & Learning Sciences Program
  • Institute of Education Science: Cognition & Student Learning Program;

professional societies, such as the

  • American Educational Research Association: Learning Sciences Special Interest Group,
  • Cognitive Development Society, International Society of the Learning Sciences, 
  • Society for Research in Child Development;

and journals, such as 

  • Applied Developmental Science,
  • Child Development, Developmental Science,
  • Journal of the Learning Sciences, and
  • Mind, Brain, and Education.

Quick Info

Program Code


Real-World Learning Components



1 years

Admission Criteria



Main Campus


Educational Studies
College of Education, Criminal Justice, and Human Services


Developmental & Learning Sciences Research Center
University of Cincinnati P.O. Box 210105
Cincinnati,OH  45036
Rhonda Douglas Brown, Ph.D.
Phone: 513-556-3622

Student Success Factors

Individuals who are successful in the field of Developmental and Learning Sciences (DLS) have a good rapport with children, adolescents, and adult student populations and care about their development and learning outcomes. They have strong reading and writing skills that lead to successful performance in courses that involve reading theories and research and writing literature reviews. Success in DLS also relies on a strong interest in understanding research, particularly experimental and quasi-experiment studies using quantitative measures of developmental and learning outcomes. 

Career Possibilities

Career paths of participants in the Developmental and Learning Sciences Graduate Certificant program include practitioners and researchers in the fields of education and psychology and other fields concerned with child development and learning (e.g., Communication Sciences & Disorders, Social Work). For more information on career paths in learning sciences see




Additional career options are listed on the Center for Exploratory Studies website.

Major Details

The Developmental and Learning Sciences Graduate Certificate is housed under the Educational Studies MA and Ph.D. Program in Early Childhood Education & Human Development in the College of Education, Criminal Justice, and Human Services. Most full-time students can complete the Certificate in one to two years.


These tools assist students to identify course requirements and individual progress toward completion of academic programs. It is important to utilize these resources with personalized guidance from a UC academic advisor regularly to ensure timely graduation..

My Degree Audit - for confirmed and current students

My Transfer Course Equivalencies - for students considering transfer to UC

UC Schedule of Classes - search course availability and descriptions

Curriculum Guide Versions:

Curriculum Guide by Requirement

Predominant Program

    Required Courses
    • EDST6099, Applied Research in Developmental & Learning Sciences, 1 - 12
    • EDST8035, Introduction to Cognitive and Learning Sciences, 3
    Quarter Electives
    • N/A

UC Advantages and Special Opportunities

The Developmental and Learning Sciences Graduate Certificate is housed at the Developmental and Learning Sciences Research Center, which is designed to support synergistic activities between the Arlitt Child and Family Research and Education Center, Early Childhood Education & Human Development faculty, university-wide faculty (e.g., Psychology; Communication Sciences & Disorders), and Cincinnati Children’s Hospital. Goals include engaging in research at the Arlitt Center, including the lab school and the PlayScape initiative, and its community of children and families, and collaborating on grant writing, and pedagogical innovation. The Center serves as an administrative home to the School of Education Undergraduate Research Participation Pool.

Special Programs

Current faculty and student research includes investigations into the neural correlates of mathematical cognition and disabilities using functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI) technology (Dr. Rhonda Brown, Lori Kroeger, M.Ed.,), on the cognitive, perceptual, and orthographic processes involved in the development of reading and fluency (Dr. Beth O’Brien), as well the interaction of motivational mechanisms and learning (Dr. Marcus Johnson), and effective learning environments for higher education students (Professor Harry Prats). Faculty are also engaged in an NSF-funded project on science learning in Playscapes (Dr. Vicki Carr).

Admission Requirements

  • Individuals with a bachelor’s degree from an accredited four-year college or university are eligible to apply. They may enroll in the certificate program when they concurrently enroll in a graduate degree program at UC, or they may take courses as a non-matriculated student.
  • Only candidates with an undergraduate GPA of at least 3.0 on a 4.0 scale will be considered for admission.
  • To earn the graduate certificate, an application should be submitted before the start of courses or during the first term of enrollment, when possible.

Application materials required for admission include the following:

  • Online graduate school application form (
  • College transcripts (new students only, showing all undergraduate and graduate course work completed, including degrees granted and dates of degrees, with overall GPAs of 3.0 or above on a 4.0 scale).
  • Curriculum Vitae or Resume (with name, address, phone number, e-mail address, colleges attended with degrees and dates, employment history, professional experiences and names and contact information for references who may be contacted for further information).
  • Career Goal Statement and Study Plan (a 1000-word or less narrative about academic and professional experiences, immediate and long-range aspirations, how the Certificate will help meet the goals, and a timetable for completing the required and elective courses).
  • Application fee (nonrefundable $20 by credit card or electronic check).

Application Deadline and Procedures

Prospective students will complete the on-line application for their requested program by the posted application deadline.  It is the applicant’s responsibility to ensure that all required materials and support documents are successfully submitted.  Incomplete applications will not be processed or reviewed.


Providing academic records during the application process. All applicants are required to upload their unofficial transcripts during the application process. The university defines “unofficial” transcripts as transcripts that have been in the hands of students, are typically printed on plain paper, and do not have a college seal or registrar's signature. Applicants should NOT send official transcripts as part of the application process.

Providing academic records after admission. Once an applicant has been extended an offer of admission to the University of Cincinnati and has accepted the offer, s/he must submit an official transcript showing conferral of a baccalaureate degree or higher as soon as possible to the address below. The university defines “official” transcripts as transcripts that have been received from a secure, authenticated issuing institution and bears validation (e.g., a seal, logo, or watermark), including a date, and an appropriate signature. Official transcripts MUST be sent forward in their original, sealed envelope. The absolute final deadline for submission of official transcripts is one week before the start of the student’s first semester. Students will NOT be allowed to complete a full semester without providing verification of an earned baccalaureate degree or higher. Any discrepancy later found between student-provided unofficial transcripts and official transcripts will be grounds for dismissal. Official Transcripts should be sent to one of the following addresses:

Regular U.S. postal mail: Delivery via parcel delivery service (FedEx, DHL, UPS, etc.):
Graduate School
University of Cincinnati
110 Van Wormer Hall
P.O. Box 210627
2614 McMicken Circle
Cincinnati, Ohio 45221-0627
Graduate School
University of Cincinnati
2614 McMicken Circle
110 Van Wormer Hall
Cincinnati, Ohio 45221-0627

UC Alumni

Students who have received degrees from the University of Cincinnati do not need to submit official paper copies of their UC transcripts.


Students with degrees received in China

Applicants who have received degrees in China will upload their unofficial transcripts during the application process. The university defines “unofficial” transcripts as transcripts that have been in the hands of students, are typically printed on plain paper, and do not have a college seal or registrar's signature. Unofficial transcripts do NOT need to be verified at this stage of the application process.


After being accepted to join a graduate program

Applicants who have earned a degree in China must submit an English-version verification report from the China Academic Degrees and Graduate Education Development Center (CDGDC) of their final transcripts and degree certificates.  All verification reports must be sent to the University of Cincinnati directly by the CDGDC to be considered official. No other verification will be accepted. Applicants with Chinese transcripts must contact the CDGDC after their degree is completed and request that their degree verification report be submitted directly to the University of Cincinnati. Students who request a verification report prior to degree conferral will be required to submit a second report after conferral.

Verification reports can be ordered at the following websites:


Verification reports are due to the Graduate School one week prior to the start of the student’s first semester. Failure to submit verification reports on time will result in a student being placed in non-matriculated status and loss of his/her student visa status. Verification reports should be sent to one of the following addresses:

Regular U.S. postal mail: Delivery via parcel delivery service (FedEx, DHL, UPS, etc.):
Graduate School
University of Cincinnati
110 Van Wormer Hall
P.O. Box 210627
2614 McMicken Circle
Cincinnati, Ohio 45221-0627
Graduate School
University of Cincinnati
2614 McMicken Circle
110 Van Wormer Hall
Cincinnati, Ohio 45221-0627

Transferring to UC Requirements

Up to six graduate credit hours may be transferred into the Developmental & Learning Sciences Certificate from UC if completed less than five years prior to admission and grades are B- or above. Many of the Developmental & Learning Sciences courses are transferrable to other degree programs at UC, subject to program approval.

Application Deadlines

Admission Term

Application Deadline

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The University of Cincinnati and all regional campuses are accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Gainful Employment Disclosure

Effective July 1, 2011, federal regulations published in the Federal Register on October 29, 2010 [75 FR 66665 and FR 66832] by the U.S. Department of Education require postsecondary institutions that participate in the student financial assistance programs authorized under Title IV of the Higher Education Act of 1965 (HEA), as amended, to disclose to prospective students certain information about the institution's GE Programs.

Generally, GE Programs include:

  • At public and private not-for-profit institutions: Title IV-eligible non-degree programs (e.g., certificate and diploma programs).
  • At for-profit institutions: All Title-IV eligible instructional programs, degree and non-degree.