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The program provides students with the deep grounding in theoretical perspectives and diverse methodologies needed for advanced scholarly work – often combining practice-based multiple methods (qualitative, quantitative, ecological, participatory, critical discourse, etc.). Our curriculum is organized to promote understanding of the synergies between theoretical ideas and applications of particular methodologies; ability to situate theoretical ideas, concepts, and research methodologies within broader developmental paradigms and cultural-historical contexts; ability to recognize how contextual, cultural, political and ethical factors are involved in the production of psychological knowledge and practice; understanding of the implications of psychological knowledge for institutional practices and policies such as schooling, family, and social service agencies. In addition, students obtain extensive research training and teaching experiences in the larger psychology department. Students are encouraged to work on original research topics of interest to them and in collaboration with the faculty.

En-route Master’s Degree

The Psychology Ph.D. Program only offers doctoral degrees in psychology. As part of the required course work, it is possible to attain an en-route Master’s degree. A student must first complete 45 letter-graded credits with an average grade of B, pass the First Doctoral Examination, and satisfactorily complete a major research paper. The student may then apply for an en-route Master’s degree. The degree is awarded formally by one of the participating CUNY colleges.

The Master of Philosophy degree (M.Phil.) will be awarded upon request to Ph.D. students who are currently enrolled at The Graduate Center, have been advanced to candidacy, and have met their financial obligations to the University. Application forms for the degree are routinely sent to students at the appropriate time, but if this form is not received it is the responsibility of any student wishing this degree to obtain an application from the Office of the Registrar. The M.Phil. degree is not awarded to students in the D.M.A. degree program. Please note that the date of filing for the degree determines the date upon which the degree will be conferred.

Language Requirements

There are no language requirements in the Ph.D. Program in Psychology.

Completing the Degree

All requirements for the degree must be completed no later than eight years after matriculation. A student who matriculates after the completion of 30 credits of acceptable work must complete all requirements within seven years.

Program of Study

In this intellectual and practical context, we have crafted our training model for a rigorous and exciting five-year Ph.D. program. Student support includes a combination of teaching fellowships and research assistantships. Twenty-two credits are taken during the first year, including required courses with a focus on Developmental Psychology Theory and Developmental Psychology Research Methods, culminating in a first doctoral exam at the end of the year. Foundational courses continue into the second year, when students also begin to take electives across areas for variety of careers as Developmental Psychologists. By the end of the 2nd year, successful students will have prepared and presented an original research project and completed coursework. The third year in the program typically involves taking a second doctoral exam, and proposing a dissertation research project, to be carried out during the fourth year, written and defended during the fifth year. From the first year, courses and individual advisement involve students in funding, organization, conference, and publication venues.

Developmental Psychology Training Area, Program of Study



1st year

2nd year

3rd year

4th year

5th year

Required courses Developmental Psych 1 & 2 2nd Year Research Seminar1 & 2 Electives, including advanced methods Dissertation proposal (if not done in spring 3rd year)  
Research Methods and Ethics 1 &2
Statistics and Computer Programming 1 & 2 Developmental Psychology electives and advanced methods
Proseminar*  Proseminar* 
1 or 2  electives
Milestones Requirements & elective(s) First doc paper & presentation (festival) Fall – Second doc essay Dissertation research Dissertation writing & defense
Spring – Advance to level 2 Spring – Advance to level 3;
Dissertation proposal
Credits achieved 23 – 26 credits
(20 required)
(6 elective core)
40 – 46 credits
(14 required)
(6-9 elective core)
60 credits

* 1 credit, all 1st & 2nd Year Students plus open to others – Proseminar meetings alternate between outside speakers conducting new and relevant research, personal journeys of Developmental faculty, and professional development topics.