Overview

PSYCHOLOGICAL SCIENCES DEPARTMENT

Miller TeachingThe Psychological Sciences Department occupies the Weston A. Bousfield Building (86,000 sq. ft.) in the heart of the Storrs campus, near the library, the bookstore, and the graduate dormitories. The faculty of the Psychology Department consists of about 50 professors, most of whom maintain research programs and teach undergraduate and graduate courses. There are about 150 graduate students in the department.

Graduate classes in psychological sciences are typically seminar in nature with enrollments ranging from three to fifteen students; the upper part of this range is exceeded only in a few instances. The emphasis is on quality of instruction rather than on number of students. Advanced students usually assume a tutorial and close working relationship with their major professors.

DEVELOPMENTAL PSYCHOLOGY PROGRAM AIMS

The program is designed to provide training leading to the Doctor of Philosophy degree in psychology with a concentration in Developmental Psychology. The program emphasizes the collaboration of full-time faculty members and graduate students on research projects, as well as more traditional classroom instruction. The current faculty members are unified by a focus on the critical role that contexts play in the processes that govern the emergence and organization of behavior during development.   Each faculty member approaches this issue via his or her specific research interests, but all are ultimately interested in how experiential and maturational processes, broadly defined, continually influence each other to shape developmental trajectories and outcomes.  Our specific research interests span several areas of development, including the development of auditory processing, the perceptual abilities of typically developing infants and consequences of deprivation, socioemotional development in the contexts of peer relationships and parent-child interaction, the emergence of linguistic structure and meaning, and similarities and differences in the development of typical and atypical children.

DEVELOPMENTAL PSYCHOLOGY RESEARCH

Psychology class

The Developmental Psychology program has research laboratories in the Bousfield Building, Building 24, and Waterbury Campus. Cooperative relationships exist with the Child Development Laboratories in the Department of Human Development and Family Studies, and with a number of local school systems across the State of Connecticut. Many Developmental graduate students also work closely with faculty in the Clinical, Perception-Action-Cognition, and Social Divisions. Collaborations with faculty in other departments and institutions (e.g., Linguistics, Communication Disorders, Physical Therapy, Haskins Laboratories, Yale Child Study Center) are common and encouraged. These relationships facilitate the conduct of research in developmental psychology.

DOCTORAL PROGRAM

Our students are admitted directly to the Doctoral Program. They typically complete several research projects and from 50 to 60 credits beyond the Bachelor’s Degree. The quality of each individual’s program is given primary attention. Emphasis is placed on competence in the core areas of developmental psychology, as well as in research methods and statistics. Students ordinarily take two or three courses and work on a research project each semester. Prospective students are encouraged to visit the American Psychological Association’s website for a listing of graduate programs in developmental psychology in order to find the best match for their interests. (Go to www.apa.org and navigate to the home page for Division 7, then follow the link to Graduate Programs.)

Candidates for the Ph.D. degree must take and pass a General Examination, usually during their third year of graduate study, and must write and successfully defend a dissertation. Most students require four to five years to complete the work for the Ph.D. degree. Prior to completing the Ph.D. General Examination, students receive a Master’s of Psychology degree based on a research project and a successfully defended thesis.