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Explore our MS in Developmental Psychology Self-Designed specialization

This specialization provides you with maximum flexibility by allowing you to design a program that most closely matches your personal and professional goals. You will choose any three specialization courses from the MS in Developmental Psychology program.

Program Savings

Receive a 10% tuition reduction for the life of the program if you reside in the U.S. and start this program on October 10, 2022. Contact one of our Enrollment Specialists to learn more.

Get Started Now


Completion Requirements

  • 48 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 the number of your transfer credits that Walden would accept, call an Enrollment Specialist at 855-646-5286.


Course Code Title Credits
DPSY 6002
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.

(3 cr.)
DPSY 6111
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.

(5 cr.)
DPSY 6215
Lifespan Development

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.

(5 cr.)
DPSY 6218
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.

(5 cr.)
DPSY 6121
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.

(5 cr.)
RSCH 6100Y
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.

(4 cr.)
DPSY 6393

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.

(5 cr.)
Choose three courses from the following:
DPSY 6114
Language and Cognitive Development

Students in this course are introduced to theories and research related to the development of cognition and language acquisition. Both normative and individual differences will be explored. In the course, students will examine basic concepts in cognitive development in addition to problem solving, decision making, and creativity. Piagetian cognitive theory will be examined, as well as sociocultural and neurobiological perspectives. Contemporary research and theory will be reviewed, including information processing and theory of mind. Students will also learn about psycholinguistics, including the structure of language, stages of language acquisition, and multilingualism. Theories of language acquisition will be explored, including behaviorist and conditioning perspectives, Chomsky's perspective, neural networks, and linguistic relativity. Through the course, students will examine atypical development, such as cognitive delay, language disorders, and autism.

(5 cr.)
DPSY 6214
Consulting for Organizational Change

Organizational and professional development (OPD) professionals promote and implement organizational change by using fundamental techniques of change management. Students in this course examine and apply these tools, including consulting competencies, approaches, and organizational change models to learn the skills of an OPD consultant. Students explore methods for accelerating individual, group, and organizational performance through consulting, coaching, and change management. They also explore related topics, such as organizational assessment; team development; strategic planning; group dynamics; power, politics, and influence; leadership; and conflict management. Students apply course concepts to the assessment of an organization and the development of strategies to address identified needs for change.

(5 cr.)
DPSY 6217
Social and Emotional Development

Through this course, students review contemporary theory, research, and methods relevant to understanding social and emotional development through the lifespan and the way in which culture and context shape developmental processes. The focus of this course is on both normal and abnormal development and the emphasis on individual differences, and social and cultural diversity. Topics include early interaction, emotion and its expression and regulation, temperament, attachment through the lifespan, social cognition, family and peer relationships, prosocial and antisocial influences on human development, social identity, development of gender differences, and intimacy. Students will also explore topics in social-emotional development that are particular to middle and late adulthood, including the impact of retirement, changes in health, and dying and bereavement.

(5 cr.)
DPSY 6228
International Perspectives on Human Development

The focus of this course is on exploring human development from an international perspective and examination of how biological, cognitive, social, and emotional development of children, adolescents, and adults are viewed in an international context. Students will examine human development and behavior in an ecological, psychosocial, and sociocultural framework, with special emphasis on gender and culture. Topics will include cognitive functioning, language acquisition, individual and social identity formation, social-emotional development (such as the parent-child relationship, attachment, social relationships), and gender role development within an international, cross-cultural context and encompass normal as well as abnormal behaviors as valued and accepted in different cultures.

(5 cr.)
DPSY 6242
Changing Health Behavior: Theory and Practice

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.

(5 cr.)
DPSY 6361
Human Sexuality

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.

(5 cr.)
DPSY 6400
Diversity in Child/Adolescent Development and Learning

Diversity can have a profound influence on children's and adolescents' development and learning. Students in this course explore areas of diversity, such as gender, culture, language, disability, and sexual orientation and how they influence developmental and learning needs of this particular population. Applying core concepts and theories of development and learning, psychology students engage in practical approaches through which they reflect on their own perspectives and preconceptions and learn the complex ways diversity influences development and learning of the children and teenagers. Moreover, using the latest research and resources, students work toward gaining knowledge and skills for improving developmental and learning outcomes for children and adolescents.

(5 cr.)
DPSY 6401
Principles/Conceptual Foundations of Behavior Analysis for Children and Adolescents

Applied behavior analysis is a set of skills used in the assessment and treatment of individuals with a variety of behavioral problems and developmental delays, including autism spectrum disorders. Students in this course explore the concepts and principles of applied behavior analysis and gain an understanding and treatment of behavior problems of children and adolescents in applied settings. Students apply these concepts and principles in the development and implementation of data-based decision making using functional behavioral assessments and the creation of intervention procedures. Techniques in observation, use of reinforcement, and repeated measures are explored. These techniques are applied to develop intervention plans and to assess treatment effectiveness.

(5 cr.)
DPSY 6480
Organizational Behavior

Students in this course examine the application of behavioral theories in organizational settings. The focus is on individual, group, and organizational behavior. Topics include individual differences in employee motivation and job satisfaction; group development; team building; organizational leadership; and organizational design, culture, and development. Students acquire a broad knowledge base in organizational psychology, its research, and its applications.

(5 cr.)
DPSY 6573
Child and Adolescent Health

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.

(5 cr.)
DPSY 6574
Women's Health

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. 

(5 cr.)
DPSY 6701
Culture and Psychology

Students in this course explore the cultural components, research, and theory of cross-cultural psychology. In addition to the previously listed goals, students focus on the impact that culture has on the field of psychology around the world. The scope of this course is broad, with the core theme being cross-cultural psychology (focusing on cultures representing different parts of the world) and comparing cultural influence on human psychology. Many of the topics addressed are related to human development. Additionally, interactions among culture and social behaviors, health, mental health, and mental illnesses are emphasized throughout the duration of this course.

(5 cr.)
DPSY 6719
Developmental Psychopathology

In this course, students explore formal psychopathology, including emotional and behavioral disorders and classification systems of infants, children, and adolescents. Students examine contrasting models of psychopathology, classification and epidemiology of childhood psychopathology, co-morbidity rates, differential issues from the current diagnostic manual's outcome of childhood disorders, therapeutic approaches and their efficacy, and developmental resilience. They examine and discuss literature and topics related to assessment, diagnosis, and treatment; a wide range of disorders and disruptive behaviors; and abuse and neglect. Applying course concepts, students assess case studies of diagnostic issues for a contemporary and practical understanding of psychopathology.

(5 cr.)
DPSY 6745
Health Psychology

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.

(5 cr.)
DPSY 6755
Leadership and Leader Development

Effective leadership requires the ability to facilitate positive change, lead others in efforts to effect similar change, and work through challenges when met with resistance to change. Students in this course are provided with an extensive overview of leadership theories. Students explore definitions of leadership, major theoretical leadership models, and contextual and situational factors related to leadership and change. Students also examine various perspectives on leadership and the role of leadership in the achievement of organizational, group, and team goals. Students engage in practical assignments and discussions, focusing on effective leadership issues and practices during the process of organizational change.

(5 cr.)
DPSY 6815
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.

(5 cr.)
DPSY 6227
Development in an Era of Global Crisis

In this course, students will review how recent international issues such as terrorism, civil war, mass migration, and refugee crises influence development and lives of human beings throughout their lifespan. Students will examine how extreme life stressors such as exposure to disaster, war, terrorism, displacement, genocide, instability, loss of family, and death influence health (e.g., sanitation, diseases, reproductive issues) and mental health issues (such as trauma, anxiety, depression, adjustment difficulties, debilitating mental illnesses) and also impact the psychosocial well-being and development of infants, children, young adults, adults, and elders within their specific contextual and cultural background. Students will also examine psychosocial support and intervention programs developed for health and mental health promotion of the affected individuals and how they impact positive social change.

(5 cr.)
DPSY 6224
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.

(5 cr.)

Tuition and Fees

Curriculum Component Requirements Cost amount
Tuition 48 quarter credit $548 per quarter hour $26,304
Technology Fee Per quarter $165 $825


*Tuition reflects the minimum time to completion. Time to completion varies by student, depending on individual progress and credits transferred, if applicable. Tuition and time to complete may be reduced if transfer credits are accepted, or if you receive grants, scholarships or other tuition reductions. Walden may accept up to 15 transfer credits. For a personalized estimate of the number of your transfer credits that Walden would accept, 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.

Paying for Your Education

Our Enrollment Specialists can help you outline a plan and find resources for funding your education.

Learn more

Program Savings

Receive a 10% tuition reduction for the life of the program if you reside in the U.S. and start this program on October 10, 2022. Contact one of our Enrollment Specialists to learn more.

Get Started Now

Admission Requirements

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.



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