The Developmental Psychology Program is designed to provide students with a broad academic and research background in developmental psychology and special competence in at least one sub-area (e.g., social development, cognitive development). The program is oriented toward the examination of basic research and theoretical issues, although this can be combined with work on applied problems. Students are expected to be actively involved in research from the time they enter the program. The program is designed for students whose primary interest is in development rather than for those who have peripheral interests in developmental questions within some specific content area.
Much of the research conducted by the faculty and graduate students in the Developmental Program occurs at the Children's Research Laboratory, a facility containing observation and testing rooms, as well as offices, meeting rooms, and a library. In addition, the Developmental Program is affiliated with the Institute of Human Development and Family Studies. The Institute promotes interdisciplinary research into contemporary problems of human development.
The goal of the Developmental program is to provide students with the training and experiences that will allow them to function effectively in doctoral-level positions in academia, basic research settings, and applied research settings. The faculty believes that, regardless of whether a student's interests lie in basic developmental psychology or in more applied problems, a thorough understanding of basic research findings, theories, and methodologies relevant to all aspects of development is essential to success in the constantly changing world of developmental psychology.
A key principle of the program is the importance of initiative, rather than conformity. Effectiveness as a scholar, scientist, and teacher can never be based solely on the fulfilling of requirements set by others; it is in the nature of professional work that the individual is the origin both of goals and the motivation to attain them. This program is designed to provide experiences through which the students will become increasingly capable of professional functioning. Perhaps, ironically, then, this document can never specify any requirement fully, so that its completion will guarantee success. Rather, this document only describes a framework within which we hope students can attain their own purposes.
With these principles in mind, we have attempted to structure the program to allow students to gain the training and experiences most relevant to their particular interests while at the same time receiving broad training in basic developmental psychology. The result is a program with a minimum of fixed requirements, and even some of these can be met in a variety of ways.
It is anticipated that a student should be able to complete the program within a period of about five years (though it is possible to complete the requirements in four years). Most of the program's requirements can best be stated in terms of their year in the program and are described in that context. The "due dates" for the various requirements represent the expected dates of completion and should be met. Failure to meet the due dates hinders students' timely completion of the training.