Application checklist:
PhD in developmental psychology

We invite applications to our PhD program every fall.

Our admissions committee evaluates applications holistically. Strong candidates have a combination of research and education in psychology or related subjects and show promise to become leading researchers in the field of developmental psychology. Each year, we aim to welcome 10 new students.

You’re eligible to apply if you’ve completed:

  • a bachelor’s degree or equivalent, earned before the fall start of the PhD program
  • at least three courses in Psychology (Recommended: Developmental, Abnormal, and Research Methods)
  • one course in statistics

For a snapshot of our previous admissions data, please visit The Graduate School’s program statistics webpage.


We’re here to help. Get in touch with our student services team:

Lindsey Jendraszak
As the associate director of curriculum and student services at ICD, I’m happy to advise and serve students looking to pursue further studies in developmental psychology. Please don’t hesitate to contact me with questions.

Academic advisor: Lindsey Jendraszak

Application materials and steps

Deadline: December 1

We accept applications for our PhD in developmental psychology for a fall term start each year.

Submit all materials electronically through the University’s online application system. Please do not submit materials via mail. We cannot review your application until you've submitted all the materials listed below.

Before you begin

Before you begin the online application, gather the following materials:

  • Explore our faculty members’ areas of research. Identify one or two faculty members whose research interests you. To find out if an ICD faculty member is accepting new students this year, please visit their faculty profile. Before you apply, we encourage you to email the faculty members you're interested in working with to introduce yourself and your research interests.
  • Unofficial transcripts: You must submit an unofficial transcript or academic record for each institution you’ve attended.
  • Resume or CV: View our CV template to see what information we encourage you to provide.
  • Three letters of recommendation: Identify and get contact information for three people who will serve as your recommenders. We suggest that you seek recommendations from current or former professors who can assess your potential for graduate work and speak to your research experience. Share our letter of recommendation prompts with your recommenders.
  • Personal statement: Address our personal statement prompts in your statement.
  • Diversity Statement: Enrolling and graduating a diverse student body is central to the University of Minnesota's mission. All PhD applicants are asked to submit a diversity statement. Be sure to address our diversity statement prompt in your statement.
  • Application fee: $75 ($95 for international applicants). Must be paid online with a credit card. Learn more about fees.
    • McNair Scholars, you may be eligible for an application fee scholarship. Learn more.
    • Participants in the Next Gen Psych Scholars Program (NPSP) may also be eligible for an application fee scholarship. Please contact Lindsey Jendraszak ( to learn more.

    Optional materials

    • Diversity of Views and Experiences (DOVE) Fellowship application: If you wish to be considered for the DOVE Fellowship for underrepresented students, please indicate this on the developmental psychology page in the online application. Learn more about the DOVE Fellowship and application.
    • Extenuating circumstances statement: If you'd like to provide an explanation of circumstances that contributed to your test scores or GPA, please write a brief statement.

    Information for international students

    • For students whose first language is not English, the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) is required. The only exception is for non-native English speakers who completed the entirety of their undergraduate degree (four years) in an English-speaking country within the last five years. You’ll need to enter your self-reported TOEFL scores in the online application and send your official electronic TOEFL scores to the University of Minnesota (institution code 6874). View the U of M’s TOEFL score guidelines and expectations. Please note that the Institute of Child Development requires a TOEFL speak score of 23 or higher.

Steps to complete online application

Begin or resume the online application. Be sure to save your password so you can work on the application over time. Once you submit the application, you cannot make changes.

Complete the following sections of the online application:

  • Program selection: Choose the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities campus from the drop-down menu. Then, choose your track from the program name drop-down menu -- either "Developmental Psychology - Developmental Psychopathology/Clinical Science - Ph.D." or “Developmental Psychology - Developmental Science - Ph.D.”
  • Term selection: We only accept and review applications for the fall term.
  • Biographical information: Complete the biographical information section.
  • Personal background: Complete the personal background section.
  • Developmental Psychology Section: Complete the developmental psychology section. This is where you'll select the faculty members you'd like to work with, submit information about recommended pre-requisites, and indicate whether or not you wish to be considered for the DOVE fellowship. This also is where you'll upload all of the supporting materials for your application.
    • Academic and research interests: Select at least one but up to two faculty members you're interested in working with.
    • Pre-requisite and course information: Input details about the courses that you believe meet the recommended pre-requisites.
  • Resume/CV: Upload your resume/CV (required for all students).
  • Personal statement: (required for all students)
  • Diversity statement: (required for all students)
  • Extenuating circumstances statement: (optional)
  • Academic history: Complete the academic history section. Be sure to list all colleges and universities you've attended. Upload unofficial transcripts for each institution.
  • Test scores: Enter your TOEFL test scores, if necessary. We also must have an official copy of your scores on file. Send test scores to institution code 6874. GRE scores are not required for the PhD application. If submitted, they will not be considered.
  • Employment section: Leave this section blank. You'll be asked to upload a resume/CV later in the application.
  • Recommendations: Enter name and contact information for your recommenders. They will be notified by the system with instructions for submitting their materials online. The recommendation includes a standard recommendation form and a personal letter. Don't forget to provide your recommenders with our letter of recommendation prompts.
  • Submit your application: Complete the signature and review sections. Pay the application fee: $75 ($95 for international applicants). Must be paid online with a credit card.

After you submit your application, you’ll receive an email confirmation. Application review begins directly after the deadline and continues through mid-January. An admissions committee made up of faculty from ICD will review your application and pass along their recommendations to the entire faculty for a final decision. Students who are offered admission will receive an invitation to our Prospective Student Weekend, which takes place the last full weekend in February.