The doctoral program in developmental psychology focuses on human developmental processes—including biological, cultural, social and psychophysiological factors. Our program values a collaborative, integrative approach to psychological science that fosters intellectual curiosity and innovation, invests in people in a supportive, inclusive environment, and serves the public good.

One of our primary goals is to prepare you for independent research, scholarship and teaching careers. We collaborate with Denver area organizations like the Denver Health Hospital Authority so that you receive unique, hands-on opportunities to develop practical knowledge and skills. You can also participate in faculty grant efforts and pursue independent research grants.


Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience

The specialization in Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience is open to students in any of the graduate programs in Psychology. It is designed to equip students with advanced knowledge and training in an interdisciplinary approach to neuroscience and psychology.

The coursework covers diverse fields and research methods including neuroimaging, computational modeling, computer programming, psychophysiology, neuropsychology, neuroendocrinology and behavioral genetics. The program prepares students to be leaders in collaborative science approaches.

The PhD program in Developmental Psychology offers:

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    Developmental research labs that use technologies like structural and functional MRI, genotyping, cognitive testing and video recording to examine developmental processes

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    Ongoing collaborations with sites like the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center, the Institute for Behavioral Genetics and with community partners like local Head Start centers

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    Professional development and support through weekly faculty-student meetings and a formal mentoring program for incoming graduate students

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    Regular opportunities to present research at conferences like the Society for Research in Child Development and the International Society of Developmental Psychobiology

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    Support and encouragement in obtaining external grants to support student work and advance careers. Students are active collaborators with each other and with faculty in diverse projects.


Explore the theory and research of developmental processes that will shape your future in psychology.

Ready to learn more about the PhD in Developmental Psychology?

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Degree Requirements

  • Students earn a master’s degree on their way toward obtaining the PhD; however, students are not required to obtain an official master’s degree.
  • For the MA, you will complete at least 28 credits of the 45 minimum number of credits in content coursework, which excludes Independent Study and Independent Research credits.
  • For the PhD, you will complete a total of 120 credit hours, as well as non-coursework requirements including a first-year project, a master's research paper or thesis and oral defense, comprehensive exams, regular research presentations, dissertation prospectus and dissertation oral defense.

See the DU Graduate Bulletin for full course requirements.

Featured Faculty

Pilyoung Kim

Pilyoung Kim


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Sarah Watamura

Sarah Enos Watamura


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Jena Doom

Jenalee Doom

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Kamlah B. Legette

Kamilah B. Legette

Assistant Professor

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