When it comes to pursuing a career in developmental psychology, one of the first questions that comes to mind is – What degree do you need? Let’s dive into the educational requirements and qualifications necessary for becoming a developmental psychologist.

Undergraduate Degree

The first step towards becoming a developmental psychologist is obtaining an undergraduate degree. Most individuals pursuing this field opt for a Bachelor of Arts (BA) or Bachelor of Science (BS) degree in psychology. These programs typically take four years to complete, and students learn about various aspects of psychology, including human development, social and cognitive behavior, research methods, and statistics.


During their undergraduate studies, students interested in developmental psychology may take courses such as Child Development, Adolescent Psychology, Lifespan Developmental Psychology, Cognitive Development, Social Development, and Abnormal Psychology. These courses provide a foundation for understanding the physical, cognitive, emotional, and social changes that occur throughout an individual’s lifespan.

Internship/Research Experience

In addition to coursework, many programs require students to complete an internship or research experience. This provides hands-on experience working with individuals across different age groups and settings such as schools or clinics.

Graduate Degree

While an undergraduate degree is necessary for entry-level positions in the field of psychology; a graduate degree is required for those who aspire to become licensed psychologists with independent practice. A Master’s degree in developmental psychology can be completed in two years while a Doctoral degree can take up to six years or more.

Master’s Degree

A Master’s program in developmental psychology focuses on advanced coursework on theories of development across lifespan stages such as infancy/early childhood development or adolescent/adult development. Students also engage in research projects under the guidance of faculty members.

Doctoral Degree

Doctoral programs, including a Doctor of Psychology (Psy.D.) and a Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.), offer specialized training in developmental psychology.

These programs generally involve advanced coursework, research, and clinical training. Students may also choose to specialize in a particular area of developmental psychology such as cognitive development or social-emotional development.


As part of their graduate studies, students must complete an internship or practicum along with their coursework. This provides students with practical experience working with individuals across different age groups and settings such as schools, hospitals or clinics.


After completing the required education and training, aspiring developmental psychologists need to obtain licensure to practice independently. Licensure requirements vary from state to state but typically include passing an exam, completing supervised work experience, and meeting continuing education requirements.


In conclusion, earning a degree in developmental psychology requires dedication and hard work. A Bachelor’s degree in psychology is the first step towards a career in developmental psychology while a graduate degree is necessary for licensure as an independent practitioner. With the right education and training coupled with hands-on experience working in various settings; one can embark on a rewarding career helping individuals across all ages lead healthy lives.