Developmental and Learning Sciences- Ph.D.

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