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Developmental Psychology

We offer a Ph.D. program in Developmental Psychology. Therefore, in Developmental Psychology, we admit students who wish to eventually pursue a Doctoral Degree. Students are initially admitted into the Master’s degree program with the expectation that they will continue to work toward the Ph.D. after completing the M.A. Students who have completed an M.A. degree prior to enrolling at NIU may petition to count their M.A. coursework toward the Ph.D., and students who have completed an M.A. thesis at another institution may begin working toward the Ph.D. upon enrollment at NIU.

  • Course requirements for the Master’s Degree: Thirty semester hours must be taken for the master’s degree. Of these, 15 hours will consist of the departmental foundation courses listed below, and 6 hours will be thesis credit.
  • Course requirements for the Ph.D.: For the doctoral program, 90 semester hours are required beyond the baccalaureate degree. The dissertation will account for approximately two semesters of this total.
  • Additional requirements:  Additional requirements for the Master’s Degree and Ph.D. include completion of the first year exam, the Master’s proposal, the Master’s thesis and defense, the Doctoral Candidacy exam, the Dissertation proposal, the Dissertation and Dissertation defense. 
  • Timeline for progress:  A timeline for progress through the program and completion of these requirements is available here: Graduate Student Progress and Assessment.

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.


Area Contact

Bradford H. Pillow, Ph.D.

Office: PM 353
815-753-8088 (fax)  

Contact Us

Northern Illinois University
Department of Psychology
Psychology-Computer Science Building, Room 400
DeKalb, IL  60115

815-753-8088 (fax) 

Director of Graduate Studies
Dr. Brad J. Sagarin

Administrative Aide
Louise Calderone