The Human Development Program focuses on studies of developmental changes in social behaviors, social cognitions, and social relationships and how such changes are related to, caused by, or predictive of features of cognitive, emotional, motivational, neuropsychological, and psychopathological development. Specializations within the department include the following.

Educational Psychology: The faculty in the Educational Psychology Specialization focus on the processes involved in learning across the lifespan. Themes include cognitive development focusing on language, mathematics, and reading. There are significant strengths in language learning, bi-lingualism, and cognitive neuroscience of reading.

Developmental Science: The faculty in the Developmental Science Specialization focus on the processes involved in social and cognitive development across the lifespan. Themes include the importance of early experience on brain and behavior, the importance of peer relationships, moral reasoning, research on families and the influence of socio-economic status on children’s development.

Current HD Faculty

Patricia Alexander

Patricia Alexander
3304F Benjamin Building
(301) 405-2821


Donald J. Bolger
Donald Bolger
Associate Professor
3304N Benjamin Building
(301) 405-9103
Lucas Butler
Lucas Butler
Assistant Professor
3304P Benjamin Building
(301) 314-1815

Natasha Cabrera
3304E Benjamin Building
(301) 405-2827

Kevin Dunbar
3304K Benjamin Building
(301) 405-7233
Nathan Fox

Nathan Fox
Distinguished University Professor
3304D Benjamin Building
(301) 405-2816

Melanie Killen
3304B Benjamin Building
(301) 405-3176

Elisa Klein
Associate Professor
1117F Benjamin Building
(301) 405-3122

Doug Lombardi Headshot

Doug Lombardi
Associate Professor
3304T Benjamin Building
(301) 405-3604

Kelly Mix
3304M Benjamin Building
(301) 405-5914

Richard Prather

Richard Prather
Assistant Professor
3304S Benjamin Building
(301) 405-2806

Geetha Ramani

Geetha Ramani
Associate Professor
3304R Benjamin Building
(301) 405-8777

Rachel Romeo Headshot

Rachel Romeo
3304Q, Benjamin Building
(301) 405-2809


Ken Rubin

Kenneth Rubin
1108 Benjamin Building
(301) 405-0458

Min Wang

Min Wang
3304C Benjamin Building
(301) 405-8798




























































Emeritus Faculty

Brenda Jones Harden

Brenda Jones Harden
Emeritus Professor


Judith Torney-Purta
Emeritus Professor

Kathryn Wentzel
Emeritus Professor
Allan Wigfield
Emeritus Professor


There are two areas for specialization within the Human Development program: Developmental Science or Educational Psychology.

Developmental Science
The Developmental Science specialization is designed to train students in the areas of social, cognitive, emotional, and biological aspects of human development. This specialization involves intensive research apprenticeships with faculty mentors, coursework in core courses and advanced seminars, and exposure to leaders in Developmental Science through the colloquia and professional development weekly seminar organized by the Center for Children, Relationships, and Culture, which is housed in the Department of Human Development and Quantitative Methodology.

The goal of the program is to train students for research careers in academic or applied areas of child development; graduates have obtained positions as university professors and research scientists. The program encourages engagement in collaborative research with faculty and students in a wide range of developmental science areas. In addition to coursework, students enroll in a one-credit weekly colloquia series and professional development seminar which hosts invited speakers from the Washington, D.C. metropolitan universities, institutes, and research "think tanks," as well as provides for professional development sessions on various topics such as conference preparations, dissertation projects, grant writing, and career options.

Specific topics investigated include peer relationships, parent-child relationships, attachment, emotional development, developmental neuroscience, social-cognitive development, moral judgment, motivation, social goals, intergroup attitudes and relationships, prejudice, linguistic development, play, cognitive development, parent-child discourse, father involvement, early childhood policy, civic engagement, and cultural influences on development.  

Educational Psychology
The Educational Psychology Specialization is a nationally-ranked and internationally-recognized program of study in the Department of Human Development and Quantitative Methodology. 

The goal of the Educational Psychology specialization is to train students in the processes involved in learning across the life span and competent functioning in educational settings. Based on a mentorship model, students work closely with faculty on research and scholarship. Specific topics of research include cognitive development, as it relates to language, mathematics, and reading, social and academic aspects of motivation and self-regulation, and parent, teacher and peer relationships as they relate to school success. Students take courses and advanced seminars on cognition, motivation, learning, language, social influences on learning, and cognitive neuroscience.  Advanced training in quantitative methods is also a specific focus of the specialization.

Educational psychology faculty and students meet bi-weekly as part of a research seminar series that focuses on the discussion of ongoing student and faculty research. The seminar also includes professional development topics such as how to publish and present research, grant writing, job search advice, and networking skills.  

While completing their Ph.D., graduate students are also able to pursue concentrations in quantitative methodology, as well as in interdisciplinary areas such as neuroscience and cognitive science and language science.

The doctoral program provides students with core courses and research experience relevant to the social, cognitive, affective, linguistic and neurophysiological aspects of human development from birth through adulthood. Core courses include: History and Systems of Human Development, Language Development, Cognitive Development and Learning, Social Development and Socialization Processes, Psychophysiological Processes, and Research Methods; students also are required to master intermediate-level statistics.

Students also receive close mentoring in developing their research capabilities and agendas through Research Apprenticeship experiences. As part of this apprenticeship experience, all Ph.D. students are required to complete a first-year research project. Students in the general program are welcome to participate in the colloquium series offered by the Developmental Science and Educational Psychology specializations. The required comprehensive examination consists of a portfolio of the student's research reviewed by three faculty members.

Please refer to the  for more information on program requirements.

Take advantage of research opportunities offered through the labs and centers affiliated with the Department of Human Development and Quantitative Methodology (HDQM) at the University of Maryland, College Park.

Academic advisement for graduate students is provided by the graduate faculty in the Department of Human Development and Quantitative Methodology (HDQM). For general advising information, please contact the Coordinator of Graduate Studies, Jannitta Graham at (301) 405-8432 or

Graduate Policy
Graduate students in the College of Education are responsible for meeting University and the Graduate School policy, and for meeting Program requirements. The Graduate Catalog  is the official listing of Policies governing graduate education at the University of Maryland. The schedule adjustment policy is available from the Office of the Registrar and provides information on adding and dropping courses, penalties, and refund schedules.

Handbooks and Guidelines
The program handbooks provide information about the Masters and Doctoral programs. The handbooks cover topics such as overviews of the programs, milestones, and course requirements.

Graduate students must submit various forms at specific points as required by the Human Development program and as part of the Graduate School process. The Graduate School offers university-level forms, and the College of Education offers college-level forms. To determine the form required by the Human Development program, please refer to the Graduate Student Handbooks.

Templates and Formatting Guidelines for Thesis and Dissertation 
Dissertations are to be submitted to the Graduate School in electronic format after final approval of the dissertation by the Dissertation Examining Committee.  The University of Maryland Electronic Thesis and Dissertation (ETD) website or the University of Maryland Thesis and Dissertation Style Guide include details of this process.

Dissertations submitted to the University through the ETD process will also be deposited in the UM Library's online electronic archive, DRUM (Digital Repository at the University of Maryland). This is a free public archive of academic work by University faculty and graduate students.

Study Fellowships and Awards
A variety of fellowships and awards are available to prospective and current graduate students. Opportunities to apply for these awards are announced through the University, the College of Education, and the Department.

Developmental Science

The Developmental Science area in the Department of Human Development and Quantitative Methodology uses a mentorship model for graduate training. Students interested in the Developmental Science specialization must contact a faculty member with whom they would like to work during their graduate training. This is essential information for the graduate application and should be clearly designate in the Statement of Purpose as part of the application process.

Educational Psychology:

Students interested in the  Educational Psychology specialization must contact a faculty member with whom they would like to work during their graduate training. This is essential information for the graduate application and should be clearly designate in the Statement of Purpose as part of the application process.

Master of Education in Human Development Off-Campus program:
Please view the Program Handbook for information on the off-campus program. Contact Lauren Trakhman, Program Director, at or Ms. Jannitta Graham, HDQM Graduate Coordinator, at for further assistance.

General Overview:

Program Code:     EDHD
Degree: M.A., M.Ed., and Ph.D.
School:  Education
UMD Graduate
School General

1) Statement of Purpose:

“The goal of this essay is to get to know you as an individual and as a potential graduate student.” We recommend that this statement follow these guidelines, and include:

  • Your preparation and motivation for graduate study, including the academic, research, work, and/or personal experiences that prepare you for this graduate program.
  • Your research interests and how these interests fit with this graduate program, including identification of one or more potential faculty mentors because of the program’s strong research mentorship model.
  • How you will contribute to the social, intellectual, or cultural diversity within a scholarly community and demonstrate your persistence to undergo a rigorous academic program.  

2) Transcript(s)*
3) TOEFL/IELTS/PTE (international graduate students)

Program-Specific Requirements:

1) Letters of Recommendation (3): Recommendation letters may come from professors, school administrators, supervisors, and/or any other person who can effectively comment on your potential for success in a research-based PhD program in Human Development with a focus on Developmental Science and Educational Psychology. We recommend that letters of recommendation be from those that know you/your work well and comment on what you have done so far.

2) Open Response: In 200-300 words, describe your quantitative and/or analytical skills, knowledge and prior experience. These may include college and/or AP level mathematics and statistics courses, experience with mathematical and/or statistical software packages, quantitative experience in past research activities and/or work experience. The research-based PhD program in Human Development is mathematically and statistically rigorous to facilitate students’ learning and use of advanced quantitative methodologies. Therefore, evidence of applicants’ quantitative proficiency is required.

3) Writing Sample: Submit an article, report, or manuscript in which you were the primary author (e.g., peer-reviewed journal publication or conference presentation paper in which you were the primary author, or alternatively, a master’s or undergraduate thesis, or school report/literature review). We encourage you to submit something you have already written; though, you may write something new.

Program-Specific Optional:
  • Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores are not considered as a criterion for admission into the program. GRE scores that are submitted are made available to potential faculty advisors.
  • All applicants are recommended to seek advice from a faculty mentor or academic advisor for how to construct a strong admissions application.
  • All applicants are strongly encouraged to contact a potential faculty member(s) in the department regarding their availability, fit, and interest in serving as a mentor in the graduate training program. Applicants may state that this contact was made in their application.
M.A./M.Ed. On-Campus
Application Deadlines:

December 8, 2021 (Fall only, domestic)
December 1, 2021 (Fall only, international)

M.Ed. Off-Campus
Application Deadline:
June 1, 2021 (Fall)
Ph.D. Application
December 8, 2021 (Fall only, domestic)
December 1, 2021 (Fall only, international)

* Please note: EDHD requires all applicants to submit official transcripts (hard copies) to: University of Maryland, College Park, Enrollment Services Operation/Graduate Admissions, Room 0130 Mitchell Building, College Park, MD 20742.
Students are required to submit all required documents before submitting their application:  Purpose Statement, recommendation letters, transcripts, GRE scores (optional) and TOEFL/IELTS/PTE for international graduate studentsDue to COVID-19, the Educational Testing Service is temporarily offering the GRE General Test online. Should students wish for their GRE scores to be considered, please visit the GRE testing site directly.

Master's Cohort/Human Development (MCHD) Off-Campus Program

The department offers an on- and off-campus program. To ensure you apply for the off-campus program, once you arrive to the “Educational Intent” section of the application:

  1. For area of intent, please select for the degree: Masters, then Human Dev. M.Ed., then select term (i.e., Fall '21).
  2. Then, in area of interest, please select Masters in Human Development (off-campus).

If you need additional assistance, please contact Jannitta Graham at or (301) 405-8432.


The Graduate School's guide to International Admissions provides an overview on the application, review, and enrollment process for international students.

The Graduate School's list of Frequently Asked Questions is a helpful resource as you navigate the admissions process.

For other questions about the application process, or to check on the completion of your application, please contact:

Judy Foster, Coordinator of Graduate Admissions
Office of Student Services, College of Education
(301) 405-2359                  

Questions regarding application reviews and decision recommendations should be directed to the Department of Human Development and Quantitative Methodology (HDQM). Please contact:

Jannitta Graham, Coordinator of Graduate Studies
Human Development and Quantitative Methodology
(301) 405-8432

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