Below you may find the course descriptions for our graduate courses.
Courses Required for Both Concentrations
Core Seminars in Developmental Science
These seminars are designed to help students gain a deep and broad background in the basic theories and methods of developmental science. They are required of all students in Developmental Science.
PSYC-501: Lifespan Development: Brain and Cognition (3 credits)
This course introduces graduate students to the key concepts of developmental trajectories and timing, malleability, plasticity and compensation and normal and abnormal development that are critical to understanding developmental changes in cognitive and brain functioning across the lifespan. The study of development generally, and cognition and brain functioning specifically, is by nature an interdisciplinary enterprise, so readings draw from psychology, neuroscience and related disciplines. The role of neuroscience findings and policy translation are considered throughout the semester. This is a team-taught class and is divided into 4 modules that cover embryology, infancy, childhood, and aging. The first module examines prenatal development including the use of embryonic development, prenatal assault and animal models. The second module examines infant cognition including memory and communication development. The third module covers cognitive neuroscience in school-aged children with a particular focus on executive function and dysfunction. The final module covers cognitive and brain aging. The intent in all four modules is to offer an overview of the constructs and some sense of the theoretical, empirical, and application issues. Each professor highlights the role that very different methods play in assessing cognitive and brain functioning, and covers some of these specialized methods, including animal models, nonverbal methods with infants, fMRI with children, and special considerations with aging populations. Offered Wednesdays 2:00-4:30 in the fall semester of even-numbered years.
PSYC-502: Human Development in Context (3 credits)
This course is designed to introduce graduate students to the theories and research about the contextual influences on human development. The first part of the course examines ecological, life course, and systems theories of development. Then, we consider many of the major developmental contexts highlighted by those theories, including those settings in which individuals have direct experience (e.g., neighborhoods, schools, child care settings) and macro-level influences that set the stage for daily life (e.g., culture, socioeconomic status, policy). The study of human development generally, and systems/contextual influences specifically, is by nature an interdisciplinary enterprise. As such, most of our readings come from psychology but we also draw from sociology, policy, legal scholarship, and related disciplines. Students are encouraged to do the same in their own work for this course. Offered Wednesdays 2:00–4:30 in the fall semester of odd-numbered years.
PSYC-505: Graduate Tutorial in Teaching (3 credits)
The goals of this tutorial are (1) to give students guidance in creating an upper level course which the student will teach during the fourth year, and (2) to help students develop their teaching skills and philosophy. The tutorial is usually taken in the third year, under the mentorship of a faculty member with expertise in the content area of the student’s planned course. The tutorial typically consists of weekly meetings in which the student and faculty member discuss the course syllabus and materials the student is developing, as well as more general teaching techniques and goals. In addition, as part of the tutorial, the student participates in at least some components of Georgetown’s CNDLS (Center for New Designs in Learning and Scholarship) Apprenticeship in Teaching Program. The student chooses the program components, or the full program, in discussion with the faculty member teaching the tutorial, who must approve the student’s choice. By the end of the tutorial, the student will have completed a full draft of the student’s course syllabus, and will have completed, or planned a timetable for completing, the CNDLS components
Psychology Courses Required for the Lifespan Cognitive Neuroscience Concentration
PSYC-511 - PSYC-512: Core Seminars in Lifespan Cognitive Neuroscience
These seminars are required for students in the Lifespan Cognitive Neuroscience track and are open to all graduate students .
PSYC-511: Seminar in Cognition (3 credits)
This graduate course offers grounding in the history, methods, central issues, and theories of cognitive psychology. Students gain a critical understanding of major theories of cognition and of how they are tested via behavioral measures such as errors, reaction times, and protocol analyses. The focus is on behavioral techniques developed for normal adult populations, but throughout the course, we also consider examples of how these theories and techniques have been, and could be, used to study development and aging, the effects of brain damage, and applied problems. Students read, present, and discuss contemporary and classic original research articles, review articles, and chapters. Offered Mondays 2:00-4:30 every fall semester.
PSYC-512: Seminar in Cognitive Neuroscience (3 credits)
This graduate course offers grounding in the history, methods, central issues, and theories of cognitive neuroscience. Students gain a critical understanding of the neural organization of mental function by examination of processes that mediate the functional experience using functional neuroimaging tools, and also by examining clinical conditions, psychiatric and degenerative or acute lesions that perturb it. Students read, present and discuss contemporary and classic original research articles, as well as review articles and chapters. Offered Mondays 2:00-4:30 every spring semester.
Psychology Courses Required for the Human Development and Public Policy Concentration
PSYC-365: Child & Family Policy (3 credits)
This combined graduate and undergraduate course is designed to engage students in a critical examination of the relation between knowledge and advocacy, and the influence of both on the development of child policy in the United States. Students are introduced to the opportunities, dilemmas, and constraints that affect the relation between science and policy, particularly federal legislative policies for children and families. Roles for psychologists in the policy arena, as well as ethical issues associated with these roles are explored.
(Alternately, students can take PPOL 524: Child Development and Public Policy)
Additional Psychology Courses Available to Both Concentrations
PSYC-514: Special Topics in Neuroscience (3 credits)
Please note that this course changes each semester.
PSYC 514-01: Mind, Brain and Education
This course is an introduction to the emerging field of Mind, Brain and Education (sometimes referred to as Educational Neuroscience). The field sits at the intersection of developmental psychology, cognitive neuroscience, educational practice and policy. Such interdisciplinary endeavors provide both exceptional opportunity as well as considerable pitfalls and controversy. We will explore the rapidly changing landscape of this field with two key questions in mind: (1) (How) Can empirically grounded data from psychology and neuroscience inform educational practice and policy? (2) (How) Can insights and challenges from education inform and direct research in psychology and neuroscience? We will draw heavily from reading and mathematics education for examples. However, as the course will be primarily discussion-based and in several cases student-led, additional educational topics of interest may be covered. Offered Spring 2019.
PSYC 514-02: Creativity and Reasoning: Cognitive and Brain-Based Approaches
PSYC-520: Applied Multivariate Analysis (3 credits)
This course introduces multivariate techniques commonly used in behavioral studies, including traditional methods such as Factor Analysis and more recently applied approaches such as Structural Equation Modeling. Emphases are on the conceptual understanding of various techniques, interpretation/presentation of the findings and hands-on experience of applying the methods to real data. Examples to illustrate the methods are demonstrated with popular software packages such as SPSS, SAS and Stata. At the end of semester, students are expected to be able to understand publications using the methods covered in this course and to analyze their own data for publication. This course is reading and analysis intensive. Offered Tuesdays 11:00-1:30 in the spring semester of even-numbered years.
PSYC-901: Graduate Tutorial: Psychology (3 credits )
PSYC-999: Thesis Research: Psychology (0 credits)