Developmental and Learning Sciences

The Developmental and Learning Sciences area of concentration focuses on an interdisciplinary approach to understanding development and learning that includes theory and research from the fields of developmental psychology, cognitive science, neuroscience, and education. Students may choose courses in life span human development, cognitive development, and early childhood education. The courses in this area of study provide graduates with a broad-based foundation for understanding human development specific to phases of the human life span and a deeper appreciation of the diversity and similarity of human behaviors. Course work in the Developmental and Learning Sciences offers an overall theoretical and practical examination of age-related and individual differences that emerge in factors affecting physical, behavioral, social-emotional, cross-cultural, biological, cognitive, and personality development and learning. The influences of family, community, and social environments are also examined.

Examples of research opportunities for students available through the Developmental and Learning Sciences Research Lab and The Center for Education, Research, and Sustainability include working with faculty on projects investigating math cognition and learning difficulties, motivation, nature play and science learning, and early childhood education.

Work in the discipline of Developmental and Learning Sciences is geared toward improving developmental and learning for individuals. Graduates are prepared to assume a myriad of responsibilities but, most commonly, work as faculty members in higher education teaching or administrative settings, and in community service agencies, or in positions where they conduct research related to development and learning.

All course work decisions are made in concert between the student, his or her mentor, and the committee and will be individualized depending on previous graduate course work, areas of interest, and professional goals. The list below represents the courses that are currently available in the Developmental and Learning Sciences area of concentration.

Program Objectives

By graduation, you will have:

  • Completed courses that provide critical training in the intellectual pursuit of advanced knowledge in educational, social, and behavioral sciences
  • Participated in research apprenticeships with Graduate Faculty in the School of Education
  • Faculty mentoring that allows you to author and/or co-author publications and presentations at national and international conferences
  • Preparation for academic and administrative positions in educational institutions and social service agencies

Required Courses

  • Applied Research Experience (3 credit hours required):
    • EDST 6099 Applied Research in Developmental and Learning Sciences
  • Developmental and Learning Sciences Core Courses (3 credit hours required):
    • EDST 6060 Human Learning
    • EDST 8035 Introduction to Cognitive and Learning Sciences
  • Human Development Courses (3 credit hours required):
    • EDST 7030 Childhood to Adolescent Development
    • EDST 7031 Human Development: Early & Middle Childhood
    • EDST 7032 Human Development: Adolescence
    • EDST 7074 Human Development: Lifespan
  • Emphasized Developmental and Learning Sciences Courses/Seminars (at least 9 credit hours required):
    • EDST 7094 Self-Concept and Achievement
    • EDST 7095 Motivation and Cognition
    • EDST 8036 Brain Development, Cognition, & Learning
    • EDST 8037 Cognitive Development
    • EDST 9089 Seminar in Educational Studies (with DLS core faculty)


  • EDST 7027 Partnerships/Families
  • EDST 7033 Adult Development
  • ECE 7031 Projects and Documentation in Early Childhood Education
  • ECE 7032 Environments as the Third Teacher
  • ECE 7033 The Languages of Children: The Role of Graphic Arts in ECE
  • ECE 7041 Young Learners in Early Childhood Special Education
  • ECE 7042/7043 Early Intervention and Support
  • ECE 7055 Early Intervention /Field Experience
  • ECE 7064 Romancing Nature with Young Children
  • ECE 7066 Playscapes, Science, and Young Investigators
  • ECE 7067 Environmental Education and Young Children
  • ECE 7074 Contemporary Professional Issues in Early Childhood Education
  • ECE 7086 Readings in Early Childhood Education
  • ECE 7096 Constructivism in Education
  • ECE 7097 Learning through Inquiry
  • EDST 7092 Cultural Diversity & Mental Health
  • EDST 7093 Learning in Groups
  • EDST 8038 Culture & Cognition
  • EDST 8039 Mathematics Cognition
  • EDST 8040 Cognitive Science of Learning to Read
  • EDST 8061 Guided Research Experience
  • EDST 8071 Individual Study in Educational Studies
  • ECE 9025 Seminar in Early Development and Education