Graduate Programs

Developmental Psychology

Area Contact: Dr. Bradford H. Pillow

Welcome! The Developmental Psychology faculty at Northern Illinois University invite you to learn more about our Doctoral training and our research.

At Northern Illinois University, our Ph.D. program in Developmental Psychology is designed to prepare students 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 students with extensive background in psychological theory and research related to cognitive and social development. This training prepares students for teaching college and 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

The Developmental Psychology 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

Students participate in research throughout their graduate careers. Toward this end, a low student-faculty ratio is maintained. Research opportunities that help students become highly competent research scientists are provided through research assistantships and independent studies as well as through the master's thesis and doctoral dissertation.