The Developmental Psychology program in the Department of Psychological Sciences at the University of Connecticut invites highly motivated students to join its PhD program in Fall 2020.


We offer students an integrative research and training program with strengths in cognitive development, language acquisition, socio-emotional development, and developmental cognitive neuroscience. Our Developmental faculty and students are integral members of several multi-disciplinary initiatives at UConn, including the Connecticut Institute for the Brain and Cognitive Sciences, the Center for the Ecological Study of Perception and Action, the Brain Imaging Research Center, an NSF Research Traineeship in the Science of Learning, and UConn KiDS (Kids in Developmental Science) – a university-wide consortium that supports participant recruitment and community engagement. Several faculty and students have ties to the departments of Linguistics, Philosophy, and Speech, Language, and Hearing Sciences, as well as to Haskins Laboratories. 


UConn’s core developmental laboratories include (* labs recruiting for Fall 2020):   


*Dr. Kimberly Cuevas‘ C.A.P. Lab investigates how underlying brain-behavior associations contribute to the development of early cognitive processes (e.g., imitation, memory, learning, executive function).


*Dr. Umay Suanda’s Communication and Development Lab studies how the input and early experiences shape language development, the mechanisms of word learning, and the dynamics of early social interactions.


*Dr. Marie Coppola‘s Language Creation Lab focuses on the role of the learner in language development, the emergence of new (sign) languages and the relationship of language experience to cognitive development, particularly numerical cognition.


Drs. Jim Green and Gwen Gustafson direct the Infancy Lab, which focuses on social and prelinguistic development in the first two years of life, especially the roles that changes in infants’ capabilities play in altering the caregiving environment. 


*Dr. Nicole Landi‘s lab examines reading and language development in typically developing children and in children with reading and/or language disorders using cognitive neuroscience approaches (ERP, MRI, & imaging genetic analyses).


*Dr. Letitia Naigles‘ Child Language Lab investigates the influences of environment and biology on children’s acquisition of language, comparing children learning a variety of languages as well as children with neurodevelopmental disorders such as autism.


*Dr. Adam Sheya‘s Lab investigates the relationship between the process of perceiving and acting and the development of learning, exploration and problem solving between late infancy and 5 years of age.


*Dr. Rhiannon Smith‘s Social and Emotional Development Lab investigates the impact of friendships and other peer relationships on social and emotional adjustment in childhood and adolescence.   


Graduate students are funded for five years through research assistantships, teaching assistantships, and fellowships. The Department of Psychological Sciences and the University of Connecticut are committed to building and supporting a multicultural and diverse community of students, faculty and staff. We thus encourage applications from members of populations traditionally underrepresented in the academy.


To learn more about our program and the application process:


Applications received by December 1 2019 will be given preferential status for financial support (Departmental and University fellowships, teaching assistantships and research assistantships); applications will continue to be accepted and reviewed for admission until January 1 2020. If you would like more information about the graduate program or a specific lab, please contact the PIs directly.