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Eliot-Pearson Department of Child Study and Human Development

Ph.D. Program

Marina Bers with students

The Eliot-Pearson Department of Child Study and Human Development offers a Ph.D. in Child Study and Human Development.

The doctoral program at Eliot-Pearson help graduate students integrate developmental research and theory with understanding or modeling effective practice, and each offers opportunities to work in agencies and organizations that serve children, youth and families, and to conduct research.

The goal of Eliot-Pearson's doctoral programs is to prepare Ph.D.'s who have a "signature” of research-practice integration. We aim to achieve these goals through a competency-based approach, with the goal of embedding students' accomplishments in the process of their training within an overarching vision of applied child development as necessarily integrative, extending beyond boundaries of particular disciplines, theories, and methodologies.

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

Program Highlights

  • Small class sizes
  • Personalized path of study
  • Mentorship from professors at the top of their fields
  • Collaborative research that crosses disciplines
  • Exclusive internship opportunities
  • Emphasis on research, practice, and integration (RPI)

Program Advisors

Upon matriculation, each student is assigned a Program Advisor from among the tenured or tenure-track faculty; these faculty members are able to serve as chairs of doctoral committees. Advisors offer guidance regarding courses, field placements, internships, and the planning of dissertation research. By the end of the first year (or second semester) of the student's program, each student is required to select an additional Program Advisor from among the tenured or tenure-track faculty in the department. The two Program Advisors will work in collaboration to advise the student on program matters until dissertation work begins. At that time, the student will identify a Chairperson and members for his/her dissertation committee. A student may ask one or both of their Program Advisors to serve on his/her dissertation committee or may select other faculty members depending upon the dissertation topic and availability of faculty for dissertation supervision.

Students are expected to actively seek out dissertation advisors for guidance. The interaction between the graduate student and a faculty member is one of the most significant aspects of a graduate student's time at Tufts. Ph.D. students also have a dissertation committee that works with the Dissertation Chairperson to ensure success. All candidates for the Ph.D. degree must defend their dissertation in an oral examination in an open forum.

General information for Ph.D. applicants

Our admissions process looks at each student as an individual and review the complete application for strengths and indications of ability to be successful in our program.

We make our final decisions about offers of admission based on whether a student's interests are a match for one of the faculty who has decided to admit a student for the coming year. Applicants should read faculty profiles and learn about the various department sponsored labs and research projects.

The faculty who can serve as primary mentors for Ph.D. students include:

Graduate School of Arts and Sciences

Ph.D. student competencies

Learn more about CSHD faculty and research