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Areas of concentration within Educational Psychology include Applied Developmental Science; Research, Statistics and Evaluation; and Social Foundations. Studies focusing on Applied Developmental Science are designed to prepare promising students for careers pertaining to the social and cognitive lives of children and youth. Students learn theory and research methods in educational psychology, developmental psychology, and education science. The work includes understanding of typical growth and development as well as the formulation and evaluation of interventions designed to alter and improve developmental pathways.
Students emphasizing Research, Statistics and Evaluation (RSE) obtain requisite knowledge, expertise, experience, and professional traits to work productively as researchers, evaluators, policy analysts, assessment specialists, and/or professors in a variety of professional settings that may include: (a) universities, (b) government agencies (federal, state, local levels), and/or (c) contract R & D firms. RSE faculty strive to produce graduates who have a combination of three specific traits: (a) an understanding of historical and philosophical foundations of educational research, (b) methodological expertise in multiple modes of disciplined inquiry, and (c) practical experience in designing and conducting research (mentored experiences). Most students choose to develop a program of study with focus in quantitative methods, qualitative methods, or program evaluation.
Enrollees focusing on Social Foundations obtain conceptual tools essential for a full understanding of educational processes. Unlike most graduate programs in education, Social Foundations makes use of a range of academic disciplines to better understand education. Its multi-disciplinary approach affords insight into questions regarding the aims and consequences (intended or unintended) of any given educational activity or of education taken as a whole. An interdepartmental area of emphasis is offered in Educational Policy Studies. This area is a joint endeavor of the Department of Leadership, Foundations & Policy, the Center for Higher Education, and Social Foundations of Education.
Doctoral training in areas described above emphasizes research that is interdisciplinary in perspective, methodologically rigorous, and relevant to practice and policy. Graduates (Ph.D.) are capable of conducting high quality research on children and youth in school and non-school contexts and teach in higher education settings. Doctoral graduates are qualified to become university professors or work in research institutions.