Developmental & Learning Sciences

Developmental & Learning SciencesDoctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)

The Developmental & Learning Sciences program represents the theoretical core of the Department of Educational Psychology and the Ph.D. program prepares students for the high level research and professional positions. Other programs focus on methodology (QQPM) or preparation for specific professional roles (counseling and school psychology). Although virtually all areas of psychological theory and research are potentially relevant to education, this program sees the psychological study of cognition, learning, and development as particularly crucial.

Ph.D. students in DLS develop a broad understanding of cognitive, educational, and developmental psychology, develop expertise in specific topics important to education and learn the high level skills required for successful careers in their chosen areas. Doctoral students are prepared to conduct original research and to teach a variety of courses in psychology and education. Graduates have worked in public and private post-secondary education, have directed, taught and conducted research in private sector training programs, and have worked conducting advanced research and managing programs in state and federal government.

Doctoral students file a customized program of studies that must (a) meet the following program requirements (see .pdf – download at right) and (b) be approved by the student’s own doctoral supervisory committee. Students and their advisors create doctoral supervisory committees have broad latitude to approve individualized programs of study that meet student needs. Doctoral students work with their advisers and committees to prepare a program of studies that meets university and department requirements and further progress toward their own specific educational and career goals.

Other UNL Graduate Studies requirements also apply – please refer to the UNL Graduate Studies Graduate Bulletin and/or the degree requirements webpage:

Program Director

Dr. Mary Zeleny
220 TEAC

PhD Coursework

The Roger and Mary Bruning Scholarship

New DLS graduate students are eligible for the Roger and Mary Bruning Scholarship each year. Recipients receive a $5,000 award applied towards tuition and fees. All new applicants are automatically considered for the Bruning Scholarship.
Roger Bruning was a long-time DLS faculty member who recently retired and he and his wife Mary have given generously to our program in order to provide this award.

Application to this program

Doctoral Admission In general, admission to the Ph.D. program requires a Master’s degree in educational psychology (or a closely related field) with a relevant thesis and evidence of ability to complete a Ph.D. There are no specific cutoffs but factors considered include grades, GRE scores, letters of recommendation, research experience, match of goals to program, and availability of a suitable adviser. Students not meeting the requirements for direct admission to the Ph.D. program are encouraged to apply to the Masters program (Ph.D. track, including thesis), and then apply to the Ph.D. program after completing the Masters degree. Nearly all DLS Masters coursework can be applied to the subsequent Ph.D. program.

Application Guidance: Your Personal Statement should reveal your relevant experiences and your future academic and professional goals. Tell why you want this degree from this program, why you are a good fit for the program. If there is a professor you would want to advise you, then indicate that. Choose at least one letter writer (preferably more) familiar with your academic success and potential.

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