Graduate Programs

Developmental Psychology

Area Contact: Dr. Nina S. Mounts

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, social, and language 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 Emphasis

The Developmental Psychology concentration emphasizes developmental processes during infancy, childhood, and adolescence. Special strengths include:

  • Cognitive Development: developmental changes infants’ and children’s cognitive abilities, the development of children’s social cognitive and metacognitive abilities
  • Social Development: development and impact of parent-child and peer relationships
  • Language Development: the roles of parent-child interaction and infant imitation in language learning

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.

Cognitive/Instructional, Developmental, and School Psychology

The graduate program in Developmental Psychology at Northern Illinois University is part of a broader program in Cognitive/Instructional, Developmental, and School Psychology. Students with interests in Developmental Psychology typically concentrate their course work and research on developmental issues. However, the multi-disciplinary approach of the area affords an opportunity to interrelate conceptual, methodological, and practical information from cognitive/instructional, developmental, and school psychology. Thus, while most students may choose to focus primarily on developmental psychology, students have the option of combining developmental psychology with cognitive or school psychology if they wish.

Flexibility in each student’s program allows for individual programs of study to be developed in consultation with area faculty. Students also may wish to combine the study of developmental psychology with work in other graduate programs within the Psychology Department or the University. This can be done by applying simultaneously to both the Developmental Psychology program and other programs of interest.