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Expand and focus your expertise with one of six specializations in the master’s in developmental psychology program.
In this specialization, you will apply the latest psychological research and theory in developmental psychology to real-world situations within healthcare and human and social services settings. Coursework emphasizes the psychology of health and human behavior, and you will have the option to focus on a specific area, such as child/adolescent health, women’s health, or geriatric health.
This sequence represents the minimum credits to complete the program. The number of credits and the time to completion for the program may vary by student, depending on individual progress and credits transferred, if applicable. For a personalized estimate of your time to completion, call an enrollment advisor at 855-646-5286.
|Quarter||1||Course Code||DPSY 6002||Course||Foundations for Graduate Study in Psychology||Credits||(3 cr.)|
|Quarter||1||Course Code||DPSY 6111||Course||Themes and Theories of Developmental Psychology||Credits||(5 cr.)|
|Quarter||2||Course Code||DPSY 6215||Course||Lifespan Development||Credits||(5 cr.)|
|Quarter||2||Course Code||DPSY 6218||Course||Gender and Human Development||Credits||(5 cr.)|
|Quarter||3||Course Code||DPSY 6121||Course||Development in the Digital Age||Credits||(5 cr.)|
|Quarter||3||Course Code||RSCH 6100Y||Course||Research Theory, Design, and Methods||Credits||(5 cr.)|
|Quarter||4||Course Code||DPSY 6745||Course||Health Psychology||Credits||(5 cr.)|
|Quarter||4||Course Code||DPSY 6242||Course||Changing Health Behavior||Credits||(5 cr.)|
Child and Adolescent Health
Contemporary Gerontology and Geriatric Psychology
|Quarter||5||Course Code||DPSY 6393||Course||Capstone||Credits||(5 cr.)|
Students in this course are introduced to Walden University and to the requirements for successful participation in an online curriculum. Students work toward building a foundation for academic and professional success as scholar-practitioners and social change agents. They assess the relationship of mission and vision to professional goals, and they develop a program of study, a professional development plan, and strategies for online success. Students also explore resources used throughout the program, such as the online Walden University Library. They engage in course assignments focused on the practical application of professional writing, critical-thinking skills, and the promotion of professional and academic excellence.
Students in this course are introduced to concepts, theories, and research methods relevant to understanding developmental psychology. Developmental theories will be reviewed, including psychoanalytic, behaviorist, cognitive, social, and ecological theory. Students will critically examine the strengths and limitations of each theory and the research that contributed to each theory. Contemporary applications of developmental theories will be explored, with an emphasis on applications designed to effect positive social change.
Students in this course are provided with an advanced overview of human development through the lifespan, including prenatal, childhood, adolescent, adult, and late-adult phases. Students examine and apply basic processes and theories to developmental milestones that occur within these phases of development. They explore factors of heredity and environmental elements on human development, and they consider ethical issues, research considerations, and global perspectives as they assess strategies to promote optimal development. Students also engage in coursework and discussions that highlight themes of diversity and social change.
In this course, students examine biopsychosocial theories of sex differences and conceptions of gender. Topics include history and theoretical perspectives on gender, differentiation of sex versus gender, gender similarities and differences, gender identity, and transgender psychology. Students will also learn about stereotypes, socialization and culture-appropriate social roles, and influence of socialization agents, such as family, schools, peers, and media on gender role development. Important developmental issues will be addressed as they relate to gender, such as body image, sexuality, emotion, communication, and cognition. Students also examine ethical considerations with regard to policy making and training on gender sensitivity.
Students in this course examine the impact of social media and other digital technology on children, teens, and adults and at different stages of cognitive, social, and emotional development. They also examine how identity development, relationships, and socialization can be affected by the use of digital and social media. Students receive a historic review of electronic media research, including the effect of violent television on viewer behavior, which provides a foundation to examine the current impact of digital media. Current issues such as sexting, online harassment, cyberbullying, and cyberstalking are explored, along with strategies for mitigating these issues. Similarly, positive impacts of social media, such as building social groups, finding communities, overriding generational gaps, seeking health and mental health support and resources, are also explored. Students also examine generational, socioeconomic, and cultural differences in access to and use of digital media. Digital media literacy and public policy are explored, with an emphasis on positive social change.
In this research course, students are provided with core knowledge and skills for understanding, analyzing, and designing research at the graduate level. Students explore the philosophy of science, the role of theory, and research processes. Quantitative, qualitative, and mixed methods research designs and data collection methods are introduced. The alignment of research components is emphasized. Students also explore ethical and social change implications of designing and conducting research. Students demonstrate their knowledge and skills by developing an annotated bibliography.
Health psychologists work toward positive change in healthcare and health behavior through the study of relationships between patients and providers, how individuals and groups adapt to illness, damaging health behaviors, health cognitions, and many other related issues. In this course, students explore the field of health psychology with a focus on the biopsychosocial model. They discuss behavioral and biomedical theories as well as the effect of psychological (personality), behavioral (health behaviors and coping), and social factors (stress and physician-patient relationships) on physical health and wellness. Through the examination of current literature and peer discussions, students explore and address issues related to cardiovascular and immune health, including heart disease, stroke, cancer, and HIV/AIDS. They demonstrate their understanding of course material and consider how topics apply to their personal and professional life through the development of taskforce papers, a health brochure, and a final essay.
Students in this course will review past and current models of health behavior change, disease prevention, disease management, and relapse prevention. They will be provided information on health-related issues, including dietary needs, tobacco and drug use, safer sexual practices, and stress management. In addition, students will examine the analysis of behavior change within specific populations (young, elderly, cognitively impaired, etc.) and factors that predict or serve as obstacles to lifestyle change and adherence.
Students in this course explore diseases and disorders in children and adolescents. Topics include diabetes, anorexia, headaches, epilepsy, burn injuries, cystic fibrosis, asthma, addiction, and adolescent obesity. Health promotion for children and adolescents is discussed, including cardiovascular health, nutrition, and exercise. Also covered are insights into special issues such as post-traumatic stress disorder, daily stress, sexually transmitted diseases, sleep disorders, and ethical and legal issues in pediatric and adolescent health psychology.
Students in this course examine healthcare issues in women and girls. Topics include healthy development, trauma, coping, self-esteem, resilience, self-care, well-being, sexual health, relationships, roles, family, schooling, careers, motherhood, transitions, violence, security, bereavement, and positive aging.
Statistical data indicate that people are living longer and the number of older persons is continually increasing. As the population ages, society must prepare to address their needs. Students in this course are provided with a multidisciplinary approach to the study of aging in contemporary societies. Students examine the biological, psychological, social, and societal contexts of aging. They also explore the historical and cross-cultural perspectives on aging, social theories of aging, managing chronic diseases, cognitive changes associated with aging, mental health issues, sexuality, and social interactions. Through a series of taskforce reports on various topics, such as sexually transmitted diseases, substance abuse, and elder abuse, students apply course concepts and critically examine current issues in gerontology.
Students are provided with the opportunity to synthesize knowledge and skills acquired throughout their program into a practical project designed to promote positive social change in a capstone project. During this course, students work on a capstone project in which they complete a major integrative paper on a topic related to their specialization, incorporating theoretical and practical knowledge as well as social scientific research skills acquired throughout the program. The instructor may approve other capstone projects presented by students.