Developmental Psychology

At NIU, our Ph.D. program in developmental psychology is designed to prepare you for academic careers in research and teaching as developmental psychologists, or for non-academic careers in applied fields related to developmental psychology.

Through both coursework and individual mentoring, we provide you with extensive background in psychological theory and research related to cognitive and social development. This training prepares you for teaching college/university courses in developmental psychology as well as in general psychology. Financial support is available in the form of research assistantships and teaching assistantships.

Areas of Research

This concentration emphasizes developmental processes during childhood and adolescence. Special strengths include:

Cognitive Development

  • Social Cognition
  • Metacognition
  • Theory of mind
  • Perspective-taking
  • Reasoning about social categories

Social Development

  • Parent-child relationships
  • Parenting practices related to peer relationships
  • Parent goals
  • Peer influence
  • Social skills
  • Friendship quality
  • Adolescent development
  • Ethnically diverse families
  • Ethnic identity development
  • Ethnic socialization

Research Opportunities

You will participate in research throughout your graduate career. We offer a low student-faculty ratio and many research opportunities that help you become a highly competent research scientist. Opportunities are provided through research assistantships and independent studies as well as through the master's thesis and doctoral dissertation.