The developmental science PhD concentration is for students who are interested in aspects of social, cognitive, and/or language development and the cultural and family context in which that development takes place. This concentration prepares students for careers in research, teaching, and applied developmental work. It is for students who are interested in typical development or atypical development, and who are interested in either basic research or applied research. Successful applicants have strong academic skills, background in psychology or human development, and a keen interest in research. Each student in the concentration works closely with one of the primary (core) faculty involved in this concentration.

Coordinator: Dr.Andrea Glenn

a young blond boy pointing to a drawing in a book; a researcher looks on

Areas of Research

To develop a specific area of expertise within the developmental concentration, students work with a specific core faculty mentor and will complete  their first year project, thesis and dissertation in their area of research.  Students are also encouraged to work with their mentor to establish interdisciplinary research collaborations. Some key areas of research at the University of Alabama are:

Adolescent Relationships

Adolescent Socio-emotional Competence

Autism Spectrum Disorders


Brain Development

Civic Engagement

Cognitive Aging

Conceptual Development

Developmental Disabilities

Down Syndrome

Early Childhood Develop

Ecological Systems

Emotion Processing

Emotion Regulation

Executive Functions

Family system dynamics



Gender Stereotypes




Peer Relations

Positive Well-being

Pretend Play

Psychopathic Traits


School Readiness

Self Esteem

Social Attention

Social Cognition

Social Motivation and Exclusion


Youth Aggression


Dual Concentration Option

Students have the option to complete a dual concentration in developmental science and cognitive psychology or developmental science and social psychology. Students who choose this option complete all requirements for both concentrations.



First-Year Project

Students complete a first-year project in which they conduct a research project designed by their primary research mentor. Students present their research in a mini-conference at the end of the year.

Developmental Proseminar

Developmental proseminar is a weekly research presentation meeting for all faculty and students involved in the developmental concentration.