Developmental Psychology

Information about the Developmental Psychology Graduate Major

Developmental Psychology at UCLA

The Developmental Psychology Graduate Program at UCLA is research intensive. Our research examines human development from infancy to young adulthood using a variety of laboratory and naturalistic techniques. The goal of the program is to produce independent scholars, and incoming students are expected to become research-active quickly upon beginning the program.

Support for student research is excellent. Students have access to the most advanced methods (including MRI, EEG/ERP, genetic, physiological, microbiome, eye-tracking, school-based research, and cross-cultural field work in multiple countries) and resources for research in affective and cognitive neuroscience, neuroscience of emotional and physical health, perceptual and cognitive development, language acquisition, family processes, peer influence and relationships, the study of culture and development, and developmental disorders.

Developmental Faculty

Bridget Callaghan
Adriana Galván
Scott Johnson
Jaana Juvonen
Catherine Sandhofer
Jennifer Silvers
James Stigler

Faculty with Developmental

Andrew Fuligni

Lucina Uddin

Our research, training, and coursework are united by core themes:

Cognition, Perception, and Language

Faculty in this area research the development of perception, language, and cognition, as well as how cognitive development is constructed through attention, perception, and language.

Culture, Education, Learning, and Social Development

Research in this area aims to understand learning and social development in their cultural contexts, whether in formal or informal settings, including the impact of technology media, cultural values, and social change on learning and development.

Emotion, Stress, and Risk Taking

Faculty in this area study motivation, reward processes, emotional learning, emotion regulation and risk taking behavior across development. Faculty also examine the phenomenology of chronic and acute stress exposure during key periods of developmental change.

Identity, Family, and Peers

Neurodevelopment and Neurobiological Bases of Development

The faculty in this area study the neural building blocks of development using a variety of methods aimed at characterizing brain structure and function.

The PhD Program

The PhD program is heavily focused on research. Students begin working with a faculty advisor during their first quarter at UCLA. Coursework is comprised of two courses in statistics, one additional methodology course, three developmental courses, and three additional courses. Students also participate in developmental forums and seminars on teaching.  Most students graduate in year 5 or 6. For a list of Required Courses please see the Psychology Handbook.

Year 1Year 2Year 3Year 4+
first year research project2-3 graduate seminarscomprehensive paperDissertation Research
2 statistics coursesresearchresearch
1 additional methodology course
2-3 graduate seminars
courses in teaching training