Campus: Virginia Tech Blacksburg Campus

Instructions: Residential/On Campus 

Our faculty members in the Child and Adolescent Development (CAD) area conduct innovative and interdisciplinary research linking theory and methodology. The research currently being conducted draws from theories on attachment, ecological systems, cognitive development, socioemotional, sociocultural, and family systems.

Funding through Assistantships
Teaching Apprentice Program
Child Development Center for Learning and Research
Intensive Research Opportunities
Our Child and Adolescent Development Program

The Child and Adolescent (CAD) content area focuses on understanding how to support optimal development for children and adolescents and their families. Students complete coursework that includes developmental theories, research methods and advanced statistical analysis, socio-emotional development, cognitive development, and parent-child interactions. The doctoral program in CAD focuses primarily on theory and research training for graduates interested in pursuing academic and research careers.

Why Study Child and Adolescent Development Here?

Doctoral students in the CAD focus of the Human Development program have opportunities for professional development and are encouraged to become actively involved by presenting at national and international professional societies in human development and family science.  Faculty in the department offer students excellent mentorship and research opportunities, including opportunities to participate in laboratory-based and observational research as well as large secondary datasets. The Child Development Center for Learning and Research is a model program where graduate students can be engaged in the teaching, research, and service missions of the university.

Faculty Research Interests

- Adolescent Health and Risk Behaviors

- Human Sexuality and Sexual Health

- Smoking, Alcohol, and Drug Abuse

- Public Health and Social Justice

- Research Methods and Program Evaluation


- Child and Adolescent Developmental Psychopathology

- Interlocking Trajectories of Externalizing and Internalizing Problems

- The Evolution of Criminal and Antisocial Behavior over the Life Course

- Research Methods


- Autism Spectrum Disorder

- Siblings of Individuals with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities

- Research Methods and Advanced Statistical Analyses


- Young children's social and emotional development

- Parent-child interactions

- Factors associated with parenting behaviors (e.g., parent personality, marital relations, and family stress)

- Director, Children’s Emotions Lab

Child and Adolescent Development Research Highlights

The theoretically captivating research questions examined by the Child and Adolescent Development faculty have employed rigorous analytic techniques that have resulted in publications in top-tier academic journals including Child Development, Developmental Psychology, Journal of Adolescent Psychology, and Social Development. Human Development and Family Science 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 Child and Adolescent Development (Ph.D. in Human Development) degree should contact the program director, Dr. Christine Kasetle, 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

Christine Kaestle
Child and Adolescent Development  Area Coordinator
315 Wallace Hall
295 West Campus Dr.
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