Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Applied Developmental and Educational Psychology

We prepare graduate students to serve diverse populations in a variety of professional roles as teachers and researchers in colleges and universities and as researchers and leaders in applied settings, including schools, government agencies, and health and human services organizations.  Faculty situate their work within the mission of the Lynch School, which is to improve human well-being through teaching, research, and service.

The focus of the Applied Developmental and Educational Psychology Program is on development and learning in sociocultural context. Areas of program expertise within the study of child development and child functioning include cognitive and socioemotional  development from the preschool years through adolescence. We also have expertise on adult functioning in community settings. Development is examined, in both research and curriculum, across multiple, interactive contexts or levels. 

These levels include:

    Individual Functioning

  • Basic Processes
  • Individual Differences
  • Developmental Disabilities
  • Biological Bases of Behavior

    Interpersonal Processes

  • Family Relationships
  • Peer Relationships
  • Parenting

    Community, Cultural, and Public Policy

  • Schools & Learning Environments
  • Poverty
  • Race and Ethnicity
  • Gender

For international students, Applied Developmental and Educational Psychology is a STEM designated program by the Department of Homeland Security. Learn more on the International Applicants page.

Upon completion of the PhD program, graduates should be able to:

  • Demonstrate knowledge of the major concepts and theories in the field of child development

  • Critically evaluate existing research and integrate research findings across studies

  • Analyze applied and theoretical issues related to child development from different theoretical perspectives and based on prior research findings

  • Develop research questions reflecting basic and applied issues in the areas of education, social policy and human/community development

  • Use appropriate methodology to design empirical studies addressing research questions

  • Use a variety of quantitative and qualitative techniques for analyzing data

  • Communicate research findings clearly and accurately in publications and presentations for both professional and lay audiences

  • Teach courses in the field at the college and graduate level

At a Glance

How many courses?

This program consists of 18 courses for a total of 54 credits. 

How long will it take?

Full time students will typically complete the program in 5 years.

When can I start?

Students can begin the program only in the fall semester.

What are my options?

Students can enroll on a full-time basis.

Program Faculty & Expertise

What will I study?


  • Courses: 18
  • Credits: 54
  • Comprehensive Exam

Where do our graduates work?

University of Washington

Assistant Professor

University of Houston

Assistant Professor

University of Maine
TRIO Upward Bound

Assistant Director

University of Delaware

Assistant Professor

Ruderman Family Foundation

Program Officer

Wingate University

Assistant Professor

University of Connecticut

Assistant Professor

University of Chicago, Chapin Hall


Boston College

Post Doctoral Fellow

University of Hawaii

Assistant Professor

Clemson University

Assistant Professor

University of Michigan, Survey Research Center

Research Investigator

Career paths chosen by previous graduates of the ADEP PhD Program.

Financial Assistance

Our doctoral students are guaranteed funding (including an annual stipend and full tuition coverage and health coverage) for a minimum of three years.

Most students are funded for their full five-year program.

Stipends are derived from research assistantships with faculty and teaching fellowships. 

Application Information


Click the boxes below for additional details on each item


All applicants
December 1

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A non-refundable application fee of $75 is required, however, this fee is waived for select applicants.


To be uploaded to your online Application Form.

In addition to your academic history and relevant work experience, please include any licenses currently held, any social justice-related experience, any language skills other than English, and any research experience or publications.

Personal Statement

To be uploaded to your online Application Form.

In 1,000-1,500 words, describe your academic and professional goals, any experience relevant to this program, and your future plans, expectations, and aspirations.

Letters of Recommendation

Identification of recommenders/instructions to recommenders are outlined in the online Application Form.

Two letters of recommendation are required with at least one required from an academic source. Applicants may submit one additional recommendation of their choice.


All official undergraduate and graduate transcripts must be sent to our office before the application deadline. Please note the following:

  • Only official sealed (unopened) transcripts are acceptable. An official postsecondary transcript must be printed on official institutional paper and include at least one of the following: an institutional watermark, the registrar’s signature, or the registrar's seal.

  • Copies and unofficial transcripts sent directly from applicants are not acceptable, the transcript must come directly from the institution.

  • If you are a current student and have not completed your undergraduate and/or graduate degree, the most updated version of your transcript is acceptable.

Official electronic transcripts are accepted when sent directly to from the institution. When requesting electronic transcripts, you must manually type in to ensure it is received by our office. 

If your degree was obtained from an institution outside of the U.S. you are required to submit a course-by-course evaluation completed by a National Association of Credential Evaluation Services (NACES) approved evaluator. A complete list of NACES-approved evaluators is found on the Directory of NACES Members.

Mailed transcript(s) should be sent to the following address:

Lynch Office of Graduate Admissions, Boston College
Campion Hall 135
140 Commonwealth Avenue
Chestnut Hill, MA 02467

Standardized Tests

An unofficial score report may be uploaded to your online Application Form; however, an official score report – sent directly from ETS – must also be submitted by the application deadline.

  • This program requires all applicants to have taken the GRE in a maximum of 5 years prior to application being submitted, regardless of previous academic coursework, previous degrees/credentials earned, and/or professional experience. No exceptions will be made.

  • The GRE is the only exam that is acceptable for this program; the MAT, LSAT, MTEL, GMAT, and other exams may not be substituted for the GRE.

For more information about the GRE exam, including test dates and testing sites, visit

Lynch School of Education and Human Development GRE Code: 3218

Writing Sample

All applicants to this program are required to submit one piece of work that demonstrates graduate-level writing ability. This document may be an academic term paper, a published work in which you are the primary author, a training manual or curriculum that you have created, or another representative sample of your writing. The document should be approximately 15-25 pages.

International Students

International applicants are encouraged to apply to the Lynch School of Education and Human Development. Learn about requirements for international students.

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