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Doctor of Philosophy
Developmental Psychology

The mission of the PhD in Developmental Psychology is to provide you with a strong foundation in developmental theories along with the research skills required to advance the science on development in context.

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Degree Details

Official Degree Title

PhD in Developmental Psychology

Start Date
Application Deadline

Students holding a master's degree or graduate credits in developmental psychology or related field complete 39-48 credits; the total required credits are determined on admission based on alignment of previous coursework with program curriculum. Students admitted with a BA/BS must complete 51 credits.

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  • Please note the GRE is optional for applications for the Fall 2024 admissions cycle.



  • If you have questions regarding admission requirements, please review our "How to Apply" page.
  • If you have any additional questions that are not addressed on the "How to Apply" page, please contact us at

Our Developmental Psychology doctorate emphasizes intersections among biology, culture, and context in developmental processes across areas of social, cognitive, language, and emotional development. You will apply a variety of methods (e.g., experimental, quasi-experimental, survey, observational, semi-structured interviews) to the study of individual and environmental influences on the development of infants, preschoolers, children, and adolescents at multiple, nested levels. You will be required to take classes in developmental content areas and analytic methods and research, and advanced seminars on theories of change and theories of culture.

You’ll engage in community- and/or laboratory-based research for the entire length of your studies under the supervision of primary and secondary faculty mentors. We conduct our research in laboratories at New York University and in the homes, daycares, schools, hospitals, neighborhoods, and community settings of the multiethnic and richly diverse city of New York.

Additionally, international research is a cornerstone of the program, with faculty and students engaged in studying developmental processes and contextual influences across countries such as China, India, South Africa, Korea and Peru. We work closely with our affiliated global faculty at NYU Shanghai and NYU Abu Dhabi.

What expertise do doctoral students acquire in the Developmental Psychology doctorate?

  • A strong foundation of knowledge on domains of development (e.g., social, cognitive, emotional, language) and how research methods and theories can be applied to current issues in developmental science.
  • The ability to think critically and creatively about the ways that research on development, context, and culture advances theories and knowledge of human development.
  • The understanding and skills required for the application of theories and knowledge in developmental science to the design, implementation, and evaluation of interventions, programs, and institutions that serve children and families.
  • Expertise in the use of multiple methods and research designs—including longitudinal, survey research, experimental, quasi-experimental, observational, ethnographic, narrative, and case study methods—and the application of a range of statistical tools in the analysis of findings.
  • The ability to generate and disseminate scientific knowledge to scholarly and community audiences and to be a productive member of a community of scholars.

We demonstrate extraordinary success in placing our students in postdoctoral fellowships, academic positions, and research and policy organizations immediately upon graduation, with placements occurring in the final year of study. 

More specifically, over 90% of our graduates continue to engage in cutting-edge research in developmental science through traditional academic and research tracks. The remaining minority of students pursue work in related fields, including NGOs (such as Promundo) and nonprofit foundations and community agencies (including leading Head Start and Early Head Start programs).

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 our program may also be eligible for the 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 visit NYU’s Office of Global Services: STEM OPT.

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