Child and Adolescent Development

(M.S. to Ph.D., Ph.D. in Human Development)

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.

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.

What You'll Study

Students in the CAD focus take courses taught by CAD faculty, as well as faculty in other Human Development content areas, psychology faculty, and other faculty with expertise in research methods and statistical analysis. Students who complete the Ph.D. in the CAD area acquire a breadth of research training, equipping them to conduct independent research using a range of methodological and analytical expertise. Student programs of study typically include courses in:

  • Theories of Human Development and Family Science
  • Parent-Child Interaction
  • Socio-emotional Development
  • Cognitive Development
  • Sequence of statistics classes

Careers of Program Graduates

Numerous rewarding career opportunities are available for graduates of the CAD focus in the Human Development program. In academe, career options for graduates include teaching, research, and extension service. A wide range of career options also exists outside academe: Program development and evaluation, policy analysis and advocacy work, and administration and supervision in private and public human services agencies are just a few examples.

Professional Development & Research Support/Opportunities

The department provides students with a plethora of research opportunities, including experimental and observational research in laboratory settings, field research in the surrounding communities, and secondary data analysis. Graduate students are also encouraged to lead research projects and publish in scholarly journals. The department provides support for professional development to participate in conferences through travel grants. Additional professional development and research support resources are provided by the Graduate School at Virginia Tech. 

Our Faculty 

  • 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
collaborate
  • Autism Spectrum Disorder
  • Siblings of Individuals with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities
  • Research Methods and Advanced Statistical Analyses

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

collaborate
  • 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
collaborate
  • Cognitive Development
  • Computational Modeling
  • Eye-tracking
  • Learning
  • Media Technology

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.

Research Centers

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 kaestle@vt.edu.

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
540-231-4793
smithcl@vt.edu

Christine Kaestle
Child and Adolescent Development  Area Coordinator
315 Wallace Hall
295 West Campus Dr.
Blacksburg, VA 24061
540-231-3194
kaestle@vt.edu

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