Developmental Psychology

The mission of the PhD program in Developmental Psychology is to provide students with a strong foundation in developmental theories and research from a lifespan perspective. Students examine individual and environmental influences at multiple, nested levels on the development of infants, preschoolers, children, adolescents, and adults, especially in urban environments. In particular, the program focuses on the ways in which culture and context shape developmental processes, including social and emotional, cognitive, identity, and language development.

Areas of Research Focus
  • The intersections between culture, context, and human development
  • Family and school influences on human development
  • Cognitive, language, and social development in infants and young children, including research on at-risk and international populations
  • Children's learning, academic achievement and attitudes toward school
  • Social and emotional development among children and adolescents in the US and worldwide
  • Etiology of risk behaviors, resiliency, and coping in at-risk populations
  • Identity development among adolescents from diverse cultural communities
What expertise do graduate students acquire in the Developmental Psychology PhD program?
  • A strong foundation in the core areas of developmental psychology with a focus on how culture and context shapes developmental processes
  • The ability to think critically and creatively about how basic research can address the social problems faced by individuals in a multi-cultural, urban society
  • A wide range of quantitative and qualitative research methodologies, including survey research, experimental, observational, ethnographic, narrative and case studies
  • The skills to identify the influences of family members, peers, schools, neighborhoods and communities on the developmental trajectories of individuals, as well as how individuals shape their own experiences
  • An understanding of how ethnicity, race, social class, gender, sexual orientation, and health influence human development within and across national boundaries
What positions do graduates obtain?
  • Professors in academic settings
  • Researchers in academic, community and governmental agencies
  • Human service professionals in hospitals, schools, and community settings
  • Directors and evaluators of mental health and health-promotion programs

View our alumni page to see where our recent graduates are employed.

Program benefits for international students

If you’re an international student, you may be able to work in the United States after graduation for an extended period of time. Most students studying on F-1 visas will be eligible for 12 months of Optional Practical Training (OPT) off-campus work authorization. F-1 students in this program may also be eligible for STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, or Mathematics) OPT extension, allowing you to extend your time in the United States to pursue degree-related work experience for a total of 36 months or 3 years. For more information on who can apply for this extension and how, see NYU’s Office of Global Services: STEM OPT.