Developmental Psychology


Students in the Ph.D. program are required to take a rich assortment of classes focused on developmental theory and research, as well as advanced seminars that examine topics such as theories of change at the individual and institution level and theories of culture from psychology, sociology, and anthropology.  

Students also take at least 6 courses (18 credits) in research methods that focus on either quantitative or qualitative methods. Finally, they are required to engage in community and/or laboratory-based research for the entire length of their studies. This requirement involves working closely with faculty on research and also acquiring research experience in the context and/or culture under investigation. This latter requirement is based on our philosophy that in order to conduct developmental research that is ecologically grounded, the doctoral student must have experience working in the contexts and/or cultures in which they are examining.

Our research takes place in laboratories at New York University, as well as in the homes, daycares, schools, hospitals, neighborhoods, and community settings of the multi-ethnic and richly diverse City of New York. We also conduct international research in countries such as China, India, South Africa, and Peru.

General Program Requirements

Students take between 45 and 72 credits, depending upon prior graduate course work. Academic offerings/requirements include:

  • Core courses in the foundational areas of psychology
  • Courses covering a variety of developmental processes (e.g., Cognitive Development, Social Development, Language Development)
  • Seminar courses on advanced topics in developmental psychology
  • Research classes in quantitative and qualitative methodologies
  • Advanced statistical classes (eg., HLM, SEM) 
Sample of courses offered for Doctoral Students in Developmental Psychology

APSY-GE 2003
Social Psychology
Professor Joshua Aronson

Social psychological concepts, theories and research and their relation to educational problems. Concepts treated are attitudes, values, roles, norms, communication, conformity; areas emphasized are group processes and influence, social motivation, prejudice, authoritarianism.

APSY-GE 2055
Child Language Development
Professor Gigliana Melzi

Provides students with breadth and depth of knowledge in language development. Discussion of developmental milestones and processes of different areas of language; covers the main theoretical debates around major factors influencing language development.   (syllabus)

APSY-GE 2073
Research Design and Methods in the Behavioral Sciences
Professor Cybele Raver

Planning and implementing research in the behavioral sciences; analysis of data; interpretation of findings. Formulating problems and hypotheses; specification of types of variables and operational definitions; experimental and non experimental research designs; use of randomization and controls; sampling problems basic to statistical inference.

APSY-GE 2097
Social Development of Children and Adolescents
Professor Niobe Way

Rigorous examination of the social development of children and adolescents based on current theoretical positions and research. Topics include social learning, identification, sex and gender roles, friendships, peer-group relationships and social development in different cultural contexts. (syllabus)

APSY-GE 2105 Culture Context and Psychology
Professor LaRue Allen
In depth examination of cultural and contextual factors and how these factors impact every aspect of psychological theory, practice and research. Major theories, assessment approaches, clinical practice and research in psychology will be critiqued by investigating universalistic principles, behavior and experience as it occurs across cultures and contexts and is influenced by culture and context, as well as issues such as oppression, racism, prejudice, social class and value differences.(syllabus)

APSY-GE 2115
Psychological Research in Infancy
Professor Catherine Tamis-LeMonda

Theory and research of infant behavior and development with an orientation toward professional application. Infant observation and evaluation techniques included. (syllabus)

APSY-GE 2222
Cross-Cultural Research Methods: An Introduction
Professor Selcuk Sirin

Examination of relationship between culture and methods of research. This course begins with an exploration of the meaning of culture and then examines the ways in which the cultural identities of researchers and participants shape each stage of the research enterprise. Particular attention is paid to the role that ethnographic research methods can play in shaping qualitative and quantitative research.

APSY-GE 2261
Emotional Development
Professor Clancy Blair 

 Focuses on the ways in which emotion develops from infancy through middle childhood. Topics include definitions and theories of emotion; the neural basis for emotion; the development of emotion in infancy and childhood; and the relation of emotional development to temperament, personality, and cognitive development.
APSY-GE 2265
Professor Clancy Blair 
 Focuses on the development of self-regulation from infancy through middle childhood. Topics include definitions and theories of self-regulation, temperament, self-control, and executive functions; the neural basis for self-regulation including emotional and cognitive aspects; the measurement of self-regulation in infancy through middle childhood; research methodologies used to study self-regulation development.

APSY-GE 2271
Survey of Developmental Psychology: Advanced
Professor Catherine Tamis-Lemonda

Nature of psychological development in childhood and adolescence considered and attention paid to developmental implications for adulthood and old age. Rigorous analysis of developmental theories is undertaken with emphasis on research findings and methods as reported in current literature. (syllabus)

APSY-GE 2272
Adolescent Development: Theory and Research
Professor Niobe Way

Examine theories and research on adolescent development with a particular focus on adolescents from diverse cultural backgrounds. Topics include: identity development; family and peer relationships; sexuality; risk-taking behavior; and the impact of family and peer relationships, schools, and neighborhoods on psycho-social adjustment. Different methodological approaches to the study of adolescent development will be examined. Implications for prevention and intervention programs for adolescent will also be discussed. (syllabus)

APSY-GE 3009
Departmental Seminar:
Theories of Change in Applied Psychology
Professor Lawrence Aber

Graduate seminar for students who are planning to teach or do research in psychology. Aims and objectives, content, methods of instruction, preparation and use of materials for evaluation and a survey of research, literature and methods. (syllabus)

APSY-GE 3021 Current Issues in Developmental Psychology (Theories of Culture)
Professor Niobe Way

 The aim of this advanced doctoral seminar is to explore and analyze classic theories of culture that are found in psychology, anthropology, and sociology. The course will provide students with a theoretically grounded understanding of the debates within the social sciences regarding the meaning and dynamics of culture and the methods of studying culture. (syllabus)

For complete current offerings, see Class Schedule Search at the NYU Registrar.