M.Ed. in Ed Psych: Applied Developmental Science

Now Accepting Applications

Transform the lives of children and youth at the intersection of science and human development. The Educational Psychology and Applied Developmental Science (EP-ADS) Master's program provides strong faculty mentorship, hands-on learning and a 200-hour, six-credit internship experience.

The EP-ADS Master of Education (M.Ed.) program is housed in the School of Education and Human Development's Educational Leadership, Foundations and Policy Department (EDLF). Our program is designed specifically for students who are interested in learning how developmental processes influence learning, performance and behavior in educational settings.


Coursework focuses on the development of children, youth and adults in their social contexts, takes a strength based approach to improving the lives of children and youth and relies on rigorous research design to examine questions relevant to practice and policy. We value the varied perspectives that come from students who have worked with children and youth in a variety of countries and programs.

Program Benefits

  • Advisors provide individual mentoring to students as they refine their interests and career goals; students work closely with their advisors to select courses, select a comprehensive exam topic and choose an internship.
  • Internships in our program offer students the opportunity to learn about research and development from leaders and practitioners in the field. Students can conduct research at the Center for Advanced Study for Teaching and Learning (CASTL), the Youth-Nex Center to Promote Effective Youth Development or in other research organizations. They may also apply their knowledge and skills to work in community organizations or school districts.
  • The program is rigorous: we will challenge students to think broadly about education so that they will be able to solve real-world problems, and to make a difference in the social contexts of children, youth and/or adults in their future work.

Program Life

Students spend their days attending small classes, reading about engaging topics, reflecting and writing about contemporary issues in education, discussing research methods with other students and faculty and participating in research studies and programs designed to promote the positive development of children, youth and adults.


Our students work as educators, researchers, practitioners, and consultants, in settings such as schools, research and policy organizations, consultancies, academic research centers, community-based organizations, nonprofit youth-serving, or health-related agencies.

Opportunities for Engagement in Research

Students who are interested in pursuing careers in research or academia can elect to join a research lab for the duration of their program. They learn about active research from their secondary advisor and contribute to data collection and analyses. These students often contribute to research products such as conference proposals for the School's research conference or other regional or national conferences. Highly motivated students with strong writing skills may also contribute to writing empirical papers. Read about a recent paper written by one of our program graduates with the support of her faculty mentor.

Opportunities for Work with Children and Youth

Students who are interested in working in a school or youth program will intern for a local organization such as City Schoolyard Garden, ReadyKIDS, Boys and Girls Club, or Young Women Leaders Program. Our part-time students who are practitioners will reflect on what they learn here as they try new strategies to motivate and engage youth in their classrooms or programs.


Applied Research Track

Students in this track express a desire to contribute to conducting research and advancing knowledge in the field of applied developmental science in their career. They are interested in participating in systematic data collection and study that contributes to describing, explaining and/or optimizing developmental trajectories.

Job options for students who graduate from this track include work as research analysts (at organizations such as WestEd, American Institute of Research, and Child Trends), research assistants at universities, or data analysts for school systems. Students who plan to apply to doctoral programs that emphasize research should also select this track. Many students from our program are admitted into highly competitive doctoral programs in related fields, such as educational psychology, clinical psychology, cognitive science, and school psychology.

Applied Professional Track

Students in this track want to deepen their knowledge and skills, and reflect on their own practices promoting the well-being of, or working directly with, children and youth. Knowledge and skills gained in the program will be applied to optimizing positive development for individuals and groups across cognitive, social-emotional, and physical domains. Students may select courses that allow them to focus on a specific population or developmental range (e.g. early childhood or adolescents).

Job options for students who graduate from this track may include: leaders of youth programs (e.g. academic, mentoring and/or recreational programs), educators (licensed teachers may return classrooms with specialized skills; others may choose to work in alternative schools such as Montessori or charter school settings), or social entrepreneurs who develop new programs designed to foster healthy development.

“I've always wanted to be a part of a movement that was greater than myself, and I truly valued the unique opportunity EPADS program gave me to further develop my passion for Social Justice while supporting, encouraging and guiding me through my personal exploration in the field of Educational Psychology.”

– Danielle Lewis '17

Our Success Is Your Success

15 th

Best Educational Psychology Graduate Program in the Country, U.S. News & World Report

  • Recent Alumni

    What are our recent EP-ADS Master's alumni doing now? Read about how our program graduates are using the skills and knowledge they developed to make a difference in their communities.

    Read More

Program Details

  • Prerequisites and Admission Requirements

    Application for admission is made to the Admissions Office of the School of Education and Human Development at the University of Virginia. Application forms and other information may be obtained from the School's admissions website.

    We review ALL applications holistically; we are interested in motivated and engaged students who want to create positive changes in the world through education.  For that reason, submitting GRE scores is optional and not required for admission.

    All applicants who are not current UVA students or do not qualify for Direct Admission should submit the materials below by January 15:

    • College transcript(s) (Official scores and transcripts will be required on acceptance of an offer of admission).
    • Resume or CV
    • Two letters of recommendation
    • Statement of professional goals

    When submitting a statement of professional goals (typically 500 - 1000 words), applicants should identify their interests in educational psychology and applied developmental science, their rationale for applying to this program, and their long-term professional and academic goals.

    GRE scores are optional.

    Applicants who are current UVA students may be eligible for Direct Admission. 

    Current UVA students are eligible for the Direct Admission option if they have a minimum GPA of 3.3 and have completed one or more of the courses below with a grade of B or better.

    • EDLF 3150 Introduction to Child Growth and Development
    • EDLF 3160 Introduction to Educational Psychology
    • EDLF 3170 Introduction to Adolescence
    • EDLF 3180 Lifespan Development
    • EDLF 3460 Race and Identity in Youth Development
    • EDLF 3610 Immigrant Youth and Families
    • EDLF 5010 Child Learning and Development
    • EDLF 5011 Adolescent Learning and Development EDLF 5160 Lifespan Development
    • EDLF 5470 Motivation in Achievement Contexts
    • EDLF 5500 Cognitive Psychology of Education
    • EDLF 5700 Race, Ethnicity and Diversity in Youth Development

    Other courses with similar content in the psychology department or elsewhere at UVA may be substituted for those above, upon approval of the admissions office (ehd-information@virginia.edu)

    All UVA students who qualify for direct admission must submit the following by February 1:

    • Resume or CV
    • Statement of professional goals

    When submitting a statement of professional goals (typically 500 - 1000 words), applicants should identify their interests in educational psychology and applied developmental science, their rationale for applying to this program, and their long-term professional and academic goals.

    Note that current UVA students who qualify for Direct Admission are NOT required to submit letters of recommendation or transcripts. GRE scores are optional.

    Applicants are responsible for ensuring that all required materials are submitted by the deadline. Incomplete applications will not be read and may be cancelled if left incomplete. Materials should be tracked using the checklist in the application.

    What happens next?

    A faculty committee makes decisions regarding admission. As is the case for entrance to all the School of Education and Human Development programs, applicants must have solid academic preparation, and letters of reference. Our faculty members value diverse backgrounds and perspectives, and we are especially interested in considering applications from persons of traditionally underrepresented groups in higher education.

    See the Office of Admissions site for further details on applying.

    The following scores are targeted benchmarks for our incoming students.

    • Undergraduate GPA: 3.0 minimum
    • For international students:
      Paper-based TOEFL: 600
      Computer-Based TOEFL: 250
      IELTS: 7.0
      IBT TOEFL: at least 22 in writing, 22 in speaking, 23 in reading, and 23 in listening for a total score of 90.


  • Application Due Date

    The priority application deadline is January 15th. Decisions for all applications received by January 15th will be released 8 weeks later. Following January 15th, if space is available, applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis and decisions will be released within two weeks.

    Applicants are responsible for ensuring that all required materials are submitted by the deadline. Incomplete applications will not be read and may be cancelled if left incomplete. Materials should be tracked using the checklist in the application.

  • Degree Requirements

    Course Work

    The M.Ed. program requires completion of a minimum of 33 credit hours (including a 3-6 credit internship). Courses are shown in the course overview section below. Required courses fit into two categories: substantive courses on developmental science and methods courses in education science. The substantive courses in developmental science offer students a broad understanding of child, adolescent, and lifespan development. The methods courses provide instruction on the qualitative and quantitative tools that researchers use to answer questions about child and youth development.

    Internship Experience

    Students must complete a three- to six-credit field experience internship. The goal of the internship is to give students an in-depth experience with some aspect of educational psychology and/or developmental science. Interns are expected to work cooperatively or under the direction of a supervisor for a minimum of 200 hours. Almost all students conduct their internships over the fall and spring semesters. Both the supervisor and a program faculty member develop an internship plan and evaluate job performance and any final products. Students have engaged in a variety of internship experiences. Some students select an internship focused on improving their research skills, while others seek to gain experience in an educational setting with youth. The program coordinator helps each student find an experience that matches their interests and career goals.

    In the past, we have had students engage in the following types of experiences: 

    • conducting an evaluation of summer educational programs designed for teens, college students, or young children.  
    • working with faculty at the School of Education and Human Development on research projects; current research is described at the Center for the Advanced Study for Teaching and Learning (CASTL) and the Youth-Nex Center to Promote Effective Youth Development websites.
    • studying interventions that motivate community college students to succeed
    • researching effective professional development models for early childhood educators
    • working for the D.C. Public Charter School Board
    • serving as a White House intern
    • assisting with program development at ReadyKids
    • working with a local school to evaluate a program and improve services for youth with autism
    • working with the staff of the Children’s Fitness Clinic to create developmentally-appropriate activities to increase healthy behaviors in adolescents

    Master's Comprehensive Exam for EP-ADS

    The goals of the comprehensive exam are to: 1) give students an opportunity to read, evaluate and synthesize a body of empirical literature on a topic of their choice; and 2) give faculty an opportunity to evaluate students’ ability to understand, evaluate and synthesize a small body of empirical research. Students must pass the comprehensive exam prior to receiving a masters degree. All comprehensive exam questions include issues that pertain to developmental science.

    Comprehensive examinations are administered during the last semester of the program at a time set by the advisor and student. The examination must be taken at least one month prior to the date when all materials must be approved to enable graduation.


    EP-ADS M.Ed. Handbook

  • Funding Opportunities

    Student financial services posts a tuition and fee schedule each year. Students may apply for federal financial aid, including work-study. Information about federal aid programs, including applying using the FAFSA, can be found through Student Financial Services. Additional financial aid information can be found on the School of Education and Human Development's Financial Aid webpage.

    1. Scholarships and Fellowships:

    2. Federal Need-Based Financial Aid: Loans and Work-Study — To apply for need-based financial aid, applicants should submit:

    • Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form to the U.S. Department of Education and
    • University of Virginia Financial Aid Application (UFAA) form to the UVA Office of Student Financial Services. 

    Both forms are available on the Student Financial Services website. Please also see the School of Education and Human Development’s Financial Aid page which includes a link to FAQs. Students may qualify to receive compensation for their internship work or for other research work through workstudy. To be considered for a  workstudy assignment, you will need to check the box requesting work-study when you complete your FAFSA application. Please visit their website for detailed information on applying to FAFSA. Some students who qualify for work study opt to serve as tutors for America Reads throughout the year.

    3. Part-Time Employment Opportunities

    There are a variety of opportunities for part-time work as research assistants, tutors or teachers through the School of Education and Human Development. For example, the Saturday and Summer Enrichment program hires students as teachers or teaching assistants in the spring and summer each year. Many students have also found part-time work in the local community.

    Students with 18 or more graduate credits are also eligible to serve as a teaching assistant for an undergraduate course at the School of Education and Human Development. Also, many students have taught fitness courses to undergraduate students through the Lifetime Physical Activity program.

    Contact Beverly Sweeney (bsweeney@virginia.edu) to learn more about any of these opportunities.

  • Typical Length of Study

    Full-time students can complete the degree in 12 months if they attend summer, fall, and spring semesters. These students will receive their diploma in May. Some students elect to extend the program for 1.5 - 2 years to gain further research experience or to take additional courses.

    Part-time students are encouraged to attend, and can complete the degree in 2-3 years.

    Undergraduates from UVa can take up to 6 graduate credits of course work from our program (with permission) that could be transferred the following year as a master’s student. If admitted, this may allow them to complete the program earlier.

    Semester of Entry:


    Full or Part Time:

    Most of our students are full-time. However, part-time students are welcome and encouraged to apply. Part-time students will enroll in the applied professional track. Many classes are offered in the late afternoons, and several are offered online.

  • Course Overview

    The M.Ed. program requires completion of a minimum of 32 credit hours (including the internship).

    Educational Psychology & Foundations (12 credits)

    • EDLF 7150 - Educational Psychology  (3 credits) 
    • EDLF 7290 - Seminar in Educational Psychology  (1 credit each semester, 3 credits total) 
    • EDLF 7601 – Social Foundations of Education (3 credits)
    • EDLF 5711 - Globalization, Childhood and Culture (3 credits)

    Developmental Science (9 credits)


    • EDLF 5020 - Introduction to Applied Developmental Science  (3 credits)
    • EDLF 5700 - Race, Ethnicity, and Diversity in Youth Development  (3 credits)

    Select one of the following:

    • EDLF 5040 - Education and Neuroscience  (3 credits)
    • EDLF 5260 - Cognitive Psychology and Education  (3 credits)
    • EDLF 5470 - Motivation in Achievement Contexts  (3 credits)
    • EDLF 5010 - Child Learning and Development  (3 credits)
    • EDLF 5011 - Adolescent Learning and Development  (3 credits) 
    • EDLF 5160 - Life Span Development  (3 credits)
    • EDLF 5260 - Cognitive Psychology and Education  (3 credits)
    • EDLF 5270 - Adult Development and Aging  (3 credits)
    • EDLF 5470 - Motivation in Achievement Contexts  (3 credits)
    • EDLF 5711 - Globalization, Childhood, and Culture  (3 credits)
    • EDLF 7200 - Child Development  (3 credits) (for those with previous experience with child development and research; instructor permission required; offered even years)
    • EDLF 7210 - Adolescent Development  (3 credits) (for those with previous experience with adolescent development and research; instructor permission required; offered odd years)

    Research Methods (6 credits)


    • EDLF 7300 - Foundations of Educational Research  (3 credits)

    Select one from the following:

    • EDLF 5310 Data Management for Social Sciences Research (Research track; 3 credits)
    • EDLF 5330 Quantitative Methods I (3 credits)
    • EDLF 5500 Field Experiments (3 credits)
    • EDIS 7330 Single Subject Research (Professional track; 3 credits)
    • EDLF 7402 Introduction to Program Evaluation (Professional track; 3 credits)
    • EDLF 7403 Survey Design & Instrument Construction (3 credits)
    • EDLF 7404 Qualitative Methods (3 credits)
    • EDLF 7410 Mixed Methods Research Design (3 credits)
    • EDLF 7420 Quantitative Methods II: General Linear Models (3 credits)

      More advanced methods courses are available and may be taken by students with significant prior stats experience, with advisor and instructor permission.

    Internship (6 credits)

    • EDLF 8998 Master’s Research Internship (3 credits each semester, 6 credits total)
  • Sample Jobs After Graduation

    Our program graduates have skills and knowledge that are useful in a variety of settings:

    • research organizations or foundations that study complex problems in education
    • university research centers
    • non-profit or community organizations that work directly with children and youth
    • educational settings such as school districts or charter schools

    Recent graduates have been employed as research assistants or analysts at research organizations and universities, entrepreneurs, coordinators for community programs such as Computers4Kids, health and fitness coaches, an instructor at West Point, classroom teachers in alternative or charter schools or instructors for students with disabilities.

    Obtaining a master's degree in EP-ADS can strengthen your application for doctoral programs by providing you with foundational course work and research experience. Recent graduates have entered doctoral programs in Educational Psychology/Developmental Science, STEM Education, Reading Education and School/Clinical Psychology.

    What are our recent EP-ADS masters alumni doing now?

  • Public Professional Licensure Disclosures

    As a member of the State Authorizations Reciprocity Agreement, the University of Virginia (UVA) is authorized to provide curriculum in a distance learning environment to students located in all states in the United States except for California. (34 CFR 668.43(a)(6)& 34 CFR 668.72(n)).

    Upon completion of the M.Ed. in Educational Psychology program at the UVA School of Education and Human Development, graduates may be eligible for initial professional licensure in another U.S. state by applying to the licensing board or agency in that state. Please visit the University’s state authorization web pages to make an informed decision regarding which states’ educational requirements for initial licensure are met by this program. (668.43(a)(5) (v)(A) - (C))

    Enrolled students who change their current (or mailing) address to a state other than Virginia should update this information immediately in the Student Information System as it may impact their ability to complete internship, practicum, or clinical hours, use Title IV funds, or meet licensure or certification requirements in the new state. (34 CFR 668.402).

The information contained on this website is for informational purposes only. The Undergraduate Record and Graduate Record represent the official repository for academic program requirements. These publications may be found at http://records.ureg.virginia.edu/index.php.