This is the preliminary (or launch) version of the 2024-2025 VCU Bulletin. Courses that expose students to cutting-edge content and transformative learning may be added and notification of additional program approvals may be received prior to finalization. General education program content is also subject to change. The final edition and full PDF version will include these updates and will be available in August prior to the beginning of the fall semester.

Program goal

The Doctor of Philosophy in Psychology offered by VCU prepares students for basic or applied research and includes two specialty areas: developmental psychology and social psychology. The concentration in developmental psychology prioritizes research and applied skills in human development, with an emphasis on development in context. Students conduct research and do applied work in university laboratories as well as various community, school and other applied settings. They focus on a variety of ages and stages (particularly children and adolescents) and populations (e.g., ethnic-racial minorities, marginalized youth, parents, persons with special health care needs). VCU trains students for careers in academic teaching and research settings and for professional work in applied settings. Applied developmental psychologists work in a variety of settings and programs, for example community intervention agents, schools, family service providers, nonprofit agencies, state and national government entities, health care settings, and research organizations. Developmental psychologists do not offer counseling or clinical therapy services.

Student learning outcomes

Program core learning outcomes

  1. Students will achieve competency in their knowledge of psychology.
  2. Students will demonstrate skills required to utilize and generate theories, conduct scientifically sound research, communicate ideas and information to others, and evaluate conclusions statistically.
  3. Students will adhere to the highest standards of ethics in their research, teaching and applied work.

Developmental psychology concentration-specific learning outcome

  1. Students will demonstrate their understanding of the models and theories of developmental psychology.

VCU Graduate Bulletin, VCU Graduate School and general academic policies and regulations for all graduate students in all graduate programs

The VCU Graduate Bulletin website documents the official admission and academic rules and regulations that govern graduate education for all graduate programs at the university. These policies are established by the graduate faculty of the university through their elected representatives to the University Graduate Council.

It is the responsibility of all graduate students, both on- and off-campus, to be familiar with the VCU Graduate Bulletin as well as the Graduate School website and academic regulations in individual school and department publications and on program websites. However, in all cases, the official policies and procedures of the University Graduate Council, as published on the VCU Graduate Bulletin and Graduate School websites, take precedence over individual program policies and guidelines.

Visit the academic regulations section for additional information on academic regulations for graduate students.

Degree candidacy requirements

A graduate student admitted to a program or concentration requiring a final research project, work of art, thesis or dissertation, must qualify for continuing master’s or doctoral status according to the degree candidacy requirements of the student’s graduate program. Admission to degree candidacy, if applicable, is a formal statement by the graduate student’s faculty regarding the student’s academic achievements and the student’s readiness to proceed to the final research phase of the degree program.

Graduate students and program directors should refer to the following degree candidacy policy as published in the VCU Graduate Bulletin for complete information and instructions.

Visit the academic regulations section for additional information on degree candidacy requirements.

Graduation requirements

As graduate students approach the end of their academic programs and the final semester of matriculation, they must make formal application to graduate. No degrees will be conferred until the application to graduate has been finalized.

Graduate students and program directors should refer to the following graduation requirements as published in the Graduate Bulletin for a complete list of instructions and a graduation checklist.

Visit the academic regulations section for additional information on graduation requirements.