Explore our MS in Developmental Psychology Adult Development and Gerontology specialization
To meet the needs faced by an aging population in the U.S., this specialization focuses on developmental aspects of adult life, which includes aging, work, sexuality, and geriatric psychology. You will apply the latest theories and research on adult development to impact people’s lives.
- 48 total quarter credits
- Core courses (33 cr.)
- Specialization courses (15 cr.)
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 Specialist at 855-646-5286.
Foundations for Graduate Study in Psychology
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.
Themes and Theories of Developmental Psychology
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.
Gender and Human Development
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.
Development in the Digital Age
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.
Research Theory, Design, and Methods
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.
Psychology of Work
The meaning of work is vast and comprises a wide array of images, ideas, values, and definitions, depending on age, gender, culture, and other factors. In this course, students examine the critical role of work and vocation from multicultural and global perspectives as well as from a developmental perspective spanning childhood through late adulthood. Students explore and integrate into coursework major theories of vocational psychology. They also examine the meaning of work for individuals, groups, families, and societies as well as the interrelationship of work with family and other lifestyle roles, economic factors, and conditions. Additionally, students examine issues impacting work performance, such as crisis, substance abuse, and mental health challenges.
Contemporary Gerontology and Geriatric Psychology
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 a framework for understanding human sexuality in the context of couple, marriage, and family counseling in this course. Students explore empirically supported counseling approaches related to sexual functioning, intimacy, gender, and sexual orientation. They use a systemic framework for understanding the role and impact of sexuality on couples, marriages, and families. Students also explore and discuss specific topics related to issues of sexual diversity, gender identity, sexual offending, trauma, and victimization. Legal and ethical issues related to addressing sexuality in counseling are addressed.
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.
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Tuition and Fees
|Curriculum Component||Requirements||Cost||Total *|
|Tuition||48 total quarter credit||$535 per quarter hour||$25,680|
|Technology Fee||Per quarter||$160||$800|
|Transfer up to 15 credits||$13,224|
|Total with Maximum Transfer Credits†||$13,256|
The tuition reflects the minimum time to completion. Time to completion varies by student, depending on individual progress and credits transferred, if applicable. For a personalized estimate of your time to completion, call an Enrollment Specialist at 844-675-1072.
*Tuition and fees are subject to change. Books and materials are not included and may cost between $2,500 to $3,500.
†Maximum transfer credit total includes reduction in technology fee as related to reduced number of courses over time.
Many Walden degree-seeking students—67%—receive some form of financial aid.* Create a customized plan that makes sense for you.
*Source: Walden University’s Office of Financial Aid. Data reports as of 2018.Find Ways to Save
Program Admission Considerations: A bachelor's degree or higher.
General Admission Requirements: Completed online application and transcripts. Please note that the materials you are required to submit may vary depending on the academic program to which you apply. More information for international applicants.