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programs and specializations / Developmental Science Specialization

Developmental Science Specialization

The Developmental Sciences specialization is designed to train students in the areas of social, cognitive, emotional, and biological aspects of human development. This specialization involves intensive research apprenticeships with faculty mentors, coursework in core courses and advanced seminars, and exposure to leaders in Developmental Science through the colloquia and professional development weekly seminar organized by the Center for Children, Relationships, and Culture, which is housed in the Department of Human Development and Quantitative Methodology.

The goal of the program is to train students for research careers in academic or applied areas of child development; graduates have obtained positions as university professors and research scientists. The program encourages engagement in collaborative research with faculty and students in a wide range of developmental science areas. In addition to coursework, students enroll in a one-credit weekly colloquia series and professional development seminar which hosts invited speakers from the Washington, D.C. metropolitan universities, institutes, and research "think tanks," as well as provides for professional development sessions on various topics such as conference preparations, dissertation projects, grant writing, and career options.

Specific topics investigated include peer relationships, parent-child relationships, attachment, emotional development, developmental neuroscience, social-cognitive development, moral judgment, motivation, social goals, intergroup attitudes and relationships, prejudice, linguistic development, play, cognitive development, parent-child discourse, father involvement, early childhood policy, civic engagement, and cultural influences on development.  

The Department of Human Development and Quantitative Methodology at the University of Maryland has a National Institutes of Health (NIH/NICHD) Graduate Training Program in Social Development award. This award provides financial support for selected pre-doctoral graduate students as well as funds for the infrastructure of the doctoral program.

The Developmental Science area is also connected to the University-wide Graduate Field Committee in Developmental Science  which sponsors key note talks from prominent developmental scientists, hosts a range of professional development activities, and funds graduate student organized one-day workshops on a developmental science topic.

The Developmental Science area in the Department of Human Development and Quantitative Methodology has a mentorship model. Students interested in the Developmental Science specialization must contact a faculty member with whom they would like to work with during their graduate training. This is essential information for the graduate application and should be clearly designate in the Statement of Purpose as part of the application process.  For general information about the Developmental Science area, contact Dr. Melanie Killen (Area Head),

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