Developmental Psychology

technician working with small child

The Developmental area studies social-emotional and cognitive development, from infancy through late life.


Additional Information

During the first year, each student should formulate a general plan of study with their advisor. In addition to departmental requirements, program requirements are as follows:


Students must take two graduate-level methods or statistics courses. These can be in any department, but they must be approved by the program (submitted to head of program).

Developmental Courses

Students must take three graduate-level courses taught by faculty in the developmental program. These can be either regular courses or seminars. Substitutions (e.g., a course in developmental psychopathology or developmental neuroscience taught by faculty outside the program, including at UNC) must be approved by the program (submitted to head of program).

Other Requirements

Students are expected to regularly attend the developmental working group meetings. They are required to give at least two talks in this meeting: prototypically one on their masters work early in their tenure, and one on their dissertation work later in their tenure.

Students are required to complete a research practicum in a lab other than their advisor’s by the end of their third year. This is prototypically with another developmental faculty, but exceptions are possible with approval. The practicum can be method- or content-based, and students are expected to continue their work in their primary lab (to some degree) during this time.

Students are required to fill out a Graduate Student Activities Report at the end of each school year. Early in the summer they will receive written feedback from the developmental faculty on their progress for the year.

This is a possible scenario conforming to the P&N requirements and developmental area requirements:

  Fall Spring
Year 1
  • First Year Seminar
  • Concentration/Core Class 1
  • Practicum Project 1
  • First Year Seminar
  • Concentration/Core Class 2
  • Practicum Project 2
Year 2
  • Concentration/Core Class 3
  • Stat or Method Course
  • TAship 1
  • Concentration/Core Class 4
  • Stat or Method Course
  • TAship 2
Year 3*
  • Stat or Method Course
  • TAship 3
  • Defend "Major Area Paper" (MAP)
  • TAship 4
  • Brownbag Lecture 1
Year 4
  • Defend Dissertation Proposal
Year 5  
  • Defend Dissertation

UNC-Duke Collaborative Graduate Certificate Program in Developmental Psychology

The faculties in developmental psychology at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and Duke University offer a collaborative approach to graduate training in developmental psychology: the UNC-Duke Collaborative Graduate Certificate Program in Developmental Psychology. Graduate students at Duke in the Department of Psychology & Neuroscience and students in UNC's Department of Psychology & Neuroscience can apply to this program that offers training opportunities in addition to those of their home department. Students in the certificate program attend developmental talks at both universities and have opportunities to take developmental seminars or engage in supplemental research training with the faculty of their non-home university. Among the research emphases of the participating faculty are cognitive development, social development, applied development, and developmental psychobiology. Students apply to the program by the beginning of their third year of graduate study

NOTE: Our program has made the GRE General Test optional for admission to the fall 2024 class. You may submit scores if you have them, and they will be considered by the admissions committee. Applications without GRE scores will be given equal consideration. 

Faculty from other areas of P&N or other departments may be involved in some way in graduate student training. 

Admitting students for the fall 2024 class:

If you wish to be in the Developmental area but your desired mentor does not appear on this list, please contact the area head Tamar Kushnir to discuss your application.