Training in Developmental Science provides students with the skills to describe and explain change over time in humans and other organisms. Unique aspects of the program at FIU include a focus on advanced coursework in statistics/methodology and a shared systems view among the faculty. Students begin working in a faculty member's lab upon program entry and develop a marketable research portfolio. Students complete a master's thesis on the way to earning their PhD. 

Download the program handbook for AY2023-2024.

  • Coursework

    The program requires 2 years of coursework (12 total courses). 

    Students entering Fall 2023 or beyond:

    Three statistics courses in the psychology common core sequence: Quant I, Quant II, and Multivariate.

    Three theory and methods courses including Developmental theory, History & Systems, and one advanced statistics/methods course from the list below or a course approved by the program director:

    • Developmental methods
    • Qualitative research methods in psychology
    • Longitudinal data analysis
    • Introduction to SEM for psychological research
    • Categorical data analysis
    • Missing data
    • Multilevel models
    • Statistical graphics and communication

    Two developmental area courses (DEP prefix) from the list below or a course approved by the program director:

    • Proseminar in infancy, childhood, and adolescence
    • Proseminar in the psychology of adulthood and aging
    • Integrating theory and research in Developmental Science
    • Cross cultural perspectives of emerging & established adulthood
    • Biological basis of behavior 
    • Cognitive development
    • Seminar in psychosocial development
    • Seminar in psychology of life-span social development

    Four elective courses drawn from any graduate-level psychology course not used to fulfill an above requirement or other courses approved by the program director.

    Independent study cannot be used to fulfill course requirements. 

    Students who enrolled prior to Fall 2023 should refer to the FIU Graduate Catalog for the year that they entered the program and their Panther Degree Audit to determine course requirements. 

  • Research Benchmarks

    Year 1: Students establish their dissertation committee no later than April, and propose their master's thesis project (a written document with a presentation to their committee).

    Year 2: Students defend their master's thesis (a written document with a presentation to their committee). The format of the document should be a publishable paper in their field. If the project involves collaborators, the student must be first author. 

    Year 3: Students submit their qualifying paper (a first author paper that is different from the master's thesis paper) to their committee along with a prospectus for two additional planned first-author papers. These three collected papers will comprise the dissertation. To advance to candidacy, the student must pass an oral committee defense of the qualifying paper/proposal. 

    Year 4: Students complete their dissertation research and defend their document to their committee in an oral defense.