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Chair's Welcome

Welcome to the Department of Psychology and Human Development! We are a group of faculty, staff, and students who are committed to scholarship in basic and applied psychological science and who work to mutually support each other. Our faculty study questions of theoretical and practical importance; we are eager for our research to have an impact on people’s lives.

Our department operates as part of two larger groups on campus. We are part of the Peabody College of Education and Human Development at Vanderbilt and we benefit from the small college community that Peabody provides. We also work with the faculty in the department of Psychology in Vanderbilt’s College of Arts & Science to jointly administer our PhD training program and our undergraduate honors program. See our shared Psychological Sciences website for a full listing of the faculty in both of these psychology departments at Vanderbilt University. Also check out some of our research labs.

We are committed to providing an intellectually vibrant and supportive learning environment for our students. Our department is composed of four program areas within which we train our Ph.D. students: Clinical Science, Cognitition and Cognitive Neuroscience, Developmental Science, and Quantitative Methods. Students in our Ph.D. program work very closely with our faculty members in strong mentor-mentee relationships to learn about state-of-the-art research in their areas of interest and to contribute new research findings to those areas. Our Ph.D. recipients have been placed in post-doctoral research positions, faculty positions, or positions in health-care, clinical practice, administration, and industry.

We also train students at the Masters level, in two programs: Child Studies (composed of two tracks: applied and research) and Quantitative Methods. Students in these programs obtain strong knowledge and skills in their area of interest and leave prepared for employment or for further study at the Ph.D. level.

At the undergraduate level, our department offers three majors (Child Development, Child Studies, and Cognitive Studies) and several minors (e.g., Quantitative Methods). Our faculty also supervise many undergraduate students in our research labs for a variety of immersive research experiences, including working as research assistants, independent study projects, and working on independent honors theses. Our undergraduate students go on to a variety of graduate programs in psychology, medical school, or careers in industry.

We are a collaborative and interactive group and we work together with each other, with faculty across the Vanderbilt campus and at other universities to answer our research questions. We have collaborators in other departments at Peabody College, departments in the Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, departments in the College of Arts & Science (such as the department of Psychology), as well as collaborators at other universities nationally and internationally.

I encourage you to look through the information about our department and contact faculty or staff who can answer any questions you might have. We look forward to hearing from you!


Bethany Rittle-Johnson
Professor and Chair of Psychology and Human Development