Campus: Virginia Tech Blacksburg Campus

Instructions: Residential/On Campus 

The Adult Development and Aging focus of the Human Development graduate program is distinguished by world-renowned faculty. Faculty in ADA employ rigorous analytic techniques in examining research questions in topic areas such as cognitive functioning, family caregiving, elder abuse and neglect, relationships in later life, and chronic health conditions.

Funding through Assistantships
Teaching Apprentice Program
Intensive Research Opportunities
Center for Gerontology and Adult Day Services
Our Doctoral Program in Adult Development and Aging

The doctoral program in Adult Development and Aging (ADA) prepares professionals for participation in academic, research, governmental, and private organizations. Students complete coursework that includes developmental theories, developmental research methods, and development across the adult years at the individual and family levels of analysis, health, and advanced statistical analysis.

Why Study Adult Development and Aging Here?

Students have opportunities for professional development and are encouraged to become actively involved by presenting at national and international professional societies in human development, family science, and gerontology. Two research centers, the Center for Gerontology and Adult Day Services, offer many opportunities for research and application of research-based practices.  

Faculty Research Interests

Rosemary Blieszner

- Family and Friend Relationships in Adulthood and Old Age

- Effects of Mild Cognitive Impairment on Older Adults and Their Families

- Spirituality and Resiliency

- Mixed Methods Research Designs

- Past President, Gerontological Society of America



- Health and Social Support of Older Women

- Caring for Older Persons with Memory Problems

- Family & Friend Relationships in Later Life

- Elder Abuse & Mistreatment

- Managing Chronic Illness in Late Life (e.g. osteoporosis, pain, cancer)

Laura Sands

- Risks and Health Consequences of Functional Limitations Among Older Adults

- Healthcare Outcomes Among Older Adults who do not Receive Sufficient Healthcare

- How Resilience Influences Health Care Utilization Among Older Adults Exposed to a Disaster

- Risks for Poor Outcomes Among Older Surgical Patients

Tina Savla

- Midlife and Aging (e.g. family caregiving, intergenerational relationships)

- Physiological Markers of Stress, Health, and Wellbeing

- Chronic Disease Management

- Advanced Research Methods (e.g. longitudinal, time series, power, and missing data analyses)

- Usefulness of mindfulness meditation

Pamela teaster

- Elder and Vulnerable Adult Mistreatment

- Public and Private Guardianship

- End-of-Life Issues and Decision Making

- Ethical Treatment and Human Rights Issues of Vulnerable Adults, Public Policy, and Public Affairs

- Quality of Life


- Cognition

- Lifespan

- aging

- fMRI

- tDCS

Adult Development and Aging Research Highlights

Research questions examined by the ADA faculty are grounded in compelling theory and employ rigorous analytic techniques. This research is published in top-tier and well-established scholarly journals including Journal of Gerontology: Psychological Sciences, Journal of Gerontology: Social Sciences, The Gerontologist, Journal of Applied Gerontology, Dementia, Journal of Women and Aging, Ageing International,Journal of Marriage and Family, Family Relations, Journal of Health and Social Behavior, and Personality and Individual Differences. HDFS faculty across the focus areas of Adult Development and Aging, Child and Adolescent Development, Family Studies, and Marriage and Family Therapy often collaborate on research and service projects. Graduate students are often a part of research projects and subsequent publications through collaborations with HDFS faculty and faculty in other departments such as Psychology.

Related Programs

Students interested in applying to the Adult Development and Aging content focus of the Human Development Program should contact the ADA Area Coordinator, Dr. PamelaTeaster, by email at

Visit our office at 366 Wallace Hall, 295 West Campus Dr, Blacksburg, VA 24061

Domestic Application

*Fall: Janurary 5

International Application

*Fall:  Janurary 5

*Deadline for admission with full consideration for funding:  January 5

Contact Us

Cindy Smith
Director of Graduate Studies
303 Wallace Hall
295 West Campus Dr.
Blacksburg, VA 24061

Pamela Teaster
Adult Development and Aging Area Coordinator
203 Grove Lane
Blacksburg, VA 24061

Department of Human Development and Family Science
366 Wallace Hall (0416)
295 West Campus Dr
Blacksburg, VA 24061
Phone: 540-231-4794
FAX: 540-231-7012