PhD in Child Study and Human Development

The doctoral program at Eliot-Pearson helps graduate students integrate developmental research and theory with understanding or modeling effective practice, and offers opportunities to work in agencies and organizations that serve children, youth and families, and to conduct research. The PhD in Child Study and Human Development provides individually designed programs of study in the context of common milestones and shared training objectives. We subscribe to a primary-mentor-mentee model of doctoral preparation; however, doctoral students are supported by our community of scholars in various ways. Through a rigorous combination of research training, coursework and other mentored experiences, and an applied internship, students develop substantive expertise in an area of scholarship, and develop competencies in ten other areas.

In general, the PhD program is for full-time students only. Tuition scholarships, teaching assistantships, and research assistantships are available, on a competitive basis, to full-time PhD candidates.

The doctoral program prepares students to make important contributions to theory, research, policy, and/or practice and to contribute in diverse settings. Alumni of Eliot-Pearson's doctoral program work in a variety of settings/roles, including academia, children's media, high-tech for children, learning environments, congressional policy fellowships, early childhood education, secondary and high education administration, international early childhood consultation, international NGOs (e.g., UNICEF, World Bank), and research firms or organizations. 

Program Requirements and Policies for Students Who Matriculated in 2018 and Beyond

Each student is required to complete a minimum of 58 credits as part of their fulfillment of the requirements for the Doctor of Philosophy degree. These include:

  • 46 credits of course work
  • 12 credits for Internship
  • Dissertation Work

The specific course requirements for each of these are as follows:

  1. A minimum of 48 credits taken from department or university offerings.

    Includes 33 credits for required courses:

    • Graduate Pro-Seminar (2 courses or 4 credits)

      Students are required to take this course for 1 credit each semester during the first and second years of the doctoral program, for a total of 4 credits.

    • Research Methods (3 courses or 9 credits)
      • CSHD 144: Qualitative Research Methods 
      • CSHD 247: Program Evaluation 
      • CSHD 285: Advanced Research Methods in Applied Developmental Science
      • Other advanced research methods courses offered at Eliot-Pearson (e.g., Structural Equation Modeling in Developmental Science)
        Note: As is the case for other required courses, if the student has this competency, this requirement may be filled by taking another course in the research methods area, selected in consultation with the advisor. Approved alternatives may be taken outside the dept. (e.g. Psychology) or outside the university (e.g. the New England Consortium Schools; Boston University, Boston College, and Brandeis University).
    • Statistics (3 courses or 9 credits)
      • CSHD 146: Intermediate Statistics for Developmental Science
      • CSHD 249: Applied Regression Analysis for Developmental Science
      • Other advanced statistics courses offered at Eliot-Pearson (e.g., Structural Equation Modeling in Developmental Science)
        Note: Students may select alternative statistics courses to be approved by their advisor. Approved alternatives may be taken outside the dept. (e.g. Psychology) or outside the university. 
    • Theory Courses in Content Areas (3 courses or 9 credits)

      Students must complete 3 courses in core developmental content areas. Potential areas and courses include:

      1. Intellectual Development (CSHD 151 or approved alternative)
      2. Language Development (CSHD 155 or approved alternative)
      3. Personal/Social Development (CSHD 161, 261, or approved alternative)
      4. Theories of Human Development (CSHD 211) or Applied Developmental Science: Theoretical, Methodological, and Empirical Foundations (CSHD 248)
    • Electives (5 courses or 15 credits)

      The 5 remaining courses 5 courses (or 15 credits) may be selected from a variety of offerings, including directed research courses and independent studies. Students should meet with their Program Advisors to plan their course of study. When available course offerings do not meet students' individual program of study needs, students are encouraged to discuss with their advisors and consider designing courses that meet their needs. These possibilities include: Directed Research, Independent Study, or Community Field Placement and other applied courses.
  2. Internship (12 credits)
    The duration of the internship may vary, but it typically will extend for two consecutive semesters, and it must total at least 600 hours.
  3. Dissertation
    Dissertation Study is undertaken for zero credits. In general, the dissertation work is begun after successful completion of the course work, internship and qualifying review. When undertaking dissertation work students must register for CSHD 297 (fall) and 298 (spring).