The Developmental program takes a life-span (prenatal to death) perspective on the study of human development, providing students with a strong foundation in dynamic modern developmental theories and models. Students may focus on one aspect of development or integrate across a variety of specialized developmental domains (e.g., cognitive, language, social-emotional, or psychobiological) and stages (e.g., infancy, early childhood, middle childhood, adolescence, emerging adulthood, adulthood, or late adulthood). Current studies focus on risk and resilience, longitudinal modeling, developmental contexts (e.g., poverty, SES, neighborhoods, child care, race/ethnicity, culture), ethology and marital relations, parenting, parent-child relationships/attachment, stress reactivity, emotion regulation/knowledge, temperament, joint attention, school readiness, language development, autobiographical memory, and child maltreatment.

Development Courses Offered in Recent Years

  • Development of Memory
  • Cognitive Development
  • Psychology of Infant Behavior and Development
  • Lifespan Developmental Psychology
  • Developmental Psychobiology
  • Attachment Relationships Across the Lifespan
  • Developmental Assessment: Infancy
  • Social Development Across the Lifespan
  • Developmental Psychology of Adolescence
  • Psychological Development in the Adult Years
  • Current Issues in Developmental Psychology (special topics)


Area Faculty with Developmental Research Focus

Prospective graduate students should review faculty profiles and contact potential advisors directly prior to submitting an application to ensure the faculty member is currently accepting new students.   


Marjorie Beeghly, Professor and Area Chair
Ph.D., University of Colorado, 1981.
Interests: Infants’ socio-communicative and socio-emotional development; parent child interaction, risk and resilience, atypical development.
Joseph Fitzgerald, Professor
Ph.D., West Virginia University, 1974
Interests: Gerontology, adult development, adolescent development, memory and the legal system.
Ty Partridge, Associate Professor
Ph.D., Wichita State University, 1998
Interests: Biology-behavioral relationships, developmental systems theory, child temperament, statistical and computational modeling.
Image result for no image availableOlivenne Skinner, Assistant Professor
Ph.D., University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, 2014
Interests: Black child development; gender development; academic achievement and motivation; intersectional approaches to understanding Black youth's experiences; family relationships
Glenn E. Weisfeld, Professor
Ph.D., University of Chicago, 1978
Interests: Ethology and evolutionary psychology, dominance, marital satisfaction, adolescents.

Affiliated Faculty with Primary Appointment in Another Area (can be co-advisor, not primary advisor)

Rita CaseyRita Casey, Associate Professor
Ph.D. Psychology, 1998, University of Texas at Austin
Interests: Emotional development & the emergence of psychopathology in child and adolescent development
Christopher TrentacostaChristopher Trentacosta, Associate Professor
Ph.D., Clinical Psychology, University of Delaware, 2006
Interests: Self-regulatory skills and emotion competence among parents and their young children.


WSU Institutes with Developmental Focus

Merrill Palmer Skillman Institute for Child and Family Development (MPSI):  Conduct research that focuses  on urban populations that experience community, environmental, biomedical, psychosocial and other challenges.

Institute of Gerontology (IOG):  This interdisciplinary research institute provides opportunities to study psychological and sociological aspects of aging, both on-site and in the community.


General Doctoral Program Information

Doctoral Program Admission Requirements

Doctoral Program Application Procedure


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