Developmental Science Doctoral Program

College of Human Sciences and Education ⋅ Department of Human Development and Family Science ⋅  North Dakota State University

Developmental science is an emergent interdisciplinary field that studies human development across the lifespan in various family, social and cultural contexts. NDSU’s program has exciting, relevant and flexible opportunities for study and research to help you reach your goals.

At NDSU, you’ll be surrounded by active scholars with cutting-edge research programs and state-of-the-art equipment and labs. A highly supportive environment is designed to help develop your interests and skills in research and teaching. Faculty genuinely care about your welfare and are dedicated to helping you become the best professional you can be.

For More Information contact:
Dr. Heather Fuller, Program Coordinator 701-231-5621

Program Requirements, Curriculum, and Coursework

You may enter the program directly after earning a bachelor’s degree, in which case you will earn a master’s degree along the way to completing your doctoral degree. If you already have a relevant master’s degree and have completed a research-based thesis, you also are eligible for the program. Students entering with a bachelor's degree and enrolling full time can expect to complete the program in 5 years.  Students entering with a master's degree and enrolling full time should be able to finish the program in 3 years.

Additional Program Requirements Information, including curriculum and course descriptions.

2022 Developmental Science Graduate Student Manual

Research at NDSU

Develop your interests in tandem with engaged and passionate faculty and students. Our faculty’s research covers the lifespan with immediate and meaningful impacts on the wellbeing of individuals and families.

At NDSU, you’ll find faculty who study both socioemotional and cognitive development across a variety of ages. Rather than focus on how groups of people at different ages vary from one another, we are concerned with how individuals grow and develop over time. In particular, we focus on how this growth and development relates to family, social, and cultural contexts.

Highlights of recent faculty interests and projects include: 

Preventive interventions for disruptive children

Cultural variances in parenting and early parent-infant communication

Parent training to promote parent and child optimal development

Social connections and psychological well-being in later adulthood

Age-related differences and changes in cognitive and functional abilities, such as driving

In addition, you’ll find a strong emphasis on quantitative methodologies and their application to the study of development. To be able to address research questions in developmental science, a high degree of knowledge in advanced quantitative techniques is required. Our program will provide you with those skills.

Financial Assistance

We are committed to offering every student accepted into the program a full tuition waiver plus a stipend for graduate assistantship. Assistantship options are available for both research and teaching.

Application Information

Early, preferred application due date is February 1st. Late applications may be considered. Please contact the DS coordinator or the faculty member of interest for more information. For more application information visit our application page.

Current Students' Research and Information

Visit our current student page to learn more about the research and projects that our current Developmental Science Ph.D. students are doing, the faculty they are working with, and their education backgrounds.

Gerontology Doctorate Dual-degree Option

At NDSU, you can combine studies in developmental science with a Doctor of Philosophy dual-major option in gerontology. The mission of the option is to promote aging-related research and education that uses a discipline-based perspective that serves to enhance the length and quality of life.  It represents an intellectually exciting field of study in which students can integrate information from diverse fields of study.  Learn more at the Gerontology Dual Major page.

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