VCU Psychology Department

Do physicians’ racial biases affect clinical decision making?

Research has demonstrated that automatic, and sometimes unconscious, racial bias can affect how we make decisions about others. But can it influence something as important as a medical decision? read more...


What affects parenting in high-risk communities?

We know that living in high-risk communities is stressful for parents and youth. How does stress, including exposure to violence, affect parents’ management of their adolescents? read more...


How can we predict future rates of tobacco use?

Longitudinal population-based surveys of tobacco use can depict current prevalence levels as well as transitions over time, but how can they be used to forecast those in the future? read more...


Can coping skills help the bereaved bend but not break?

How do college students cope when a loved one dies? Bereavement is difficult at any time in life, but is coping with bereavement different for college undergraduates? read more...

school lunch

Why are VCU researchers dumpster diving?

If school cafeterias force children to take fruits and vegetables on their lunch trays, will students eat them? Will they like them more over time when fruits and vegetables are served regularly? read more...

Developmental Psychology

The Applied Developmental Psychology Program at Virginia Commonwealth University fosters scholarship, teaching, and outreach to our community with the goal of understanding developmental processes across the lifespan. We emphasize research and applied skills in human development with a special emphasis on development in its social context. We prepare doctoral-level students for university or college teaching and research settings or for professional work in applied settings such as primary prevention, early intervention, or youth support.

This Web site is designed to provide information about our program to students and colleagues interested in Developmental Psychology. We appreciate your interest in our program and hope that you will find the information to be useful. Please contact us if you have any questions or comments.

Mission Statement: The Developmental Division is dedicated to training Developmental Psychologists who will conduct research, teach, and apply developmental science in ways that are scientifically sound, ethical, and sensitive to the needs and diversity of a wide range of individuals, families, and communities.

How to Apply

General information about graduate study at VCU can be obtained from the VCU Graduate School web site. Application for graduate study in psychology with an emphasis in developmental psychology should be initiated online from the VCU Graduate School admissions page. Please note that there is not a separate application for the program or department. A limited number of students (typically, one per year) will be admitted as Developmental/Clinical Students.

Deadline for applications to the Developmental program is January 10. We plan to bring in new students in Fall 2015. The following faculty members are accepting applications for new graduate students: Drs. Zewe Serpell, Marcia Winter, Wendy Kliewer, Geri Lotze, Terri Sullivan and Elizabeth Ayn Welleford (an affiliate member from Gerontology). (Dr. Barbara Myers will not have a new student.) Please look at each faculty member’s description of research interests and consider how your interests make a match. You are encouraged to name at least one, and preferably two, faculty whose interests are a good match for you.

Applicants to the Developmental/Clinical program need to adhere to the Clinical Psychology program deadline of December 1. These applicants should direct their application to Clinical but indicate that they have an interest in being considered as a Developmental/Clinical student. They should also indicate whether, if not accepted for the dual program, they wish to be considered for Clinical only, Developmental only, or for consideration by both programs.

Contact Information

For additional questions, please contact Dr. Terri Sullivan, Director of the Developmental Division.

Virginia Commonwealth University
Developmental Division
806 West Franklin Street
P.O. Box 842018
Richmond, Virginia 23284-2018