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Human Development & Psychology Division

In the Human Development and Psychology (HDP) graduate division, students explore the situations and processes that promote learning and development in a variety of social contexts for individuals and groups from diverse backgrounds. The program is designed for students interested in human learning and development to improve educational practices. The HDP Division offers two programs: the Ph.D., Joint Doctorate in Special Education and M.A. The Joint Doctoral Program in Special Education is offered with the California State University, Los Angeles.
campus walkway with trees on the side


Overview of Program

The Division of Human Development and Psychology is committed to understanding individual differences and bettering the lives of children, adolescents and their families from under-served and under-resourced communities, and those who are under-represented in the scientific literature.

HDP faculty and students employ a variety of research designs and methodological approaches. Faculty expertise includes qualitative (e.g., clinical structured interviews), quantitative (e.g., survey research methods) and mixed methods approaches, as well as randomized experimental designs, longitudinal and intervention studies. The program has served as a model for training in applied research and the application of research to real-life settings.



The goal of the Human Development and Psychology (HDP) program is to study the nature and course of human development, in context, to inform practices and policies that affect the welfare of children. Topical Areas of Study Include:
  • Interactions between risk and resilience across development
  • Concerns with life circumstances (e.g., experiencing poverty or immigration) and personal characteristics (e.g., ability to learn a language or disability) that make individuals or groups vulnerable to variations in achievement, social, and emotional outcomes
  • Relationships between single and multiple risk factors
  • Processes that mediate the presence of a risk factor and later outcomes
  • Developmental trajectories of children and adolescents
  • Identifying protective factors that may alter or alleviate the impact of high risk
  • Specific disabilities such as autism, mental health disorders, intellectual disabilities, and language disabilities
  • School-based research relevant to children's and adolescents’ academic, social and motivational development
  • Developing more effective learning strategies for diverse learners
  • Examining structural features (e.g., racial and ethnic diversity; socioeconomic composition of the school; dual language immersion programs) that affect educational progress and attainment
  • Studying process features (e.g., peer relations, instructional approaches, parental involvement in schools) that affect educational progress and attainment


What Graduates Do

The training that HDP students receive prepares them for work in a variety of fields. Recent HDP graduates have assumed positions either as faculty, consultants, or researchers in a number of institutions across the country.
The training that HDP students receive prepares them for work in a variety of fields. Recent HDP graduates have assumed positions either as faculty, consultants, or researchers in a number of institutions across the country.

Assistant Professor, Teacher Education Program, U.C. San Diego

Assistant Professor, Elementary Education, University of Georgia

Assistant Professor, Curriculum and Instruction, College of Education, University of Washington (Seattle)

Associate Professor, Department of Teaching and Learning, Peabody College, Vanderbilt University

Associate Professor, Special Education, Charter School of Education, California State University, Los Angeles

Postdoctoral Scholar in Child Abuse and Neglect, University of Nebraska, Lincoln

Postdoctoral Scholar in Special Education, Neuropsychiatric Institute, University of California, Los Angeles

Research Associate, LessonLab, Santa Monica, California

Program Specialist, Pomona Unified School District, California

Consultant, Milken Foundation

Research Associate, Los Angeles Unified School District, Los Angeles

Research Associate, American Institute of Research, Washington, D.C.

Our Students
Visit the student directory and see what they are working on.


Graduate students at UCLA Department of Education benefit from — and contribute to — the resources of the country’s #1 public graduate school of education.

A distinguished faculty committed to research and teaching and excellent research centers and institutes offer extraordinary opportunities for graduate endeavors. We are preparing the next generation of researchers and professionals to address some of the most pressing challenges in the field. Learn how HDP could be the right fit for you.

The Ed&IS Office of Student of Services looks forward to assisting you through the application process. If we can be of service to you in any step of this process, please feel free to contact any one of our advisors.

Find Your Place
UCLA Ed&IS provides pathways for all.


Our Faculty

Alison Bailey, professor of education
Alison Bailey
Professor of Education; Division Head
Jeffrey Wood, associate professor
Jeffrey Wood
Associate Professor in the Division of Child Psychiatry and the Division of Psychological Studies in Education
Sandra graham, professor of education
Sandra Graham
Distinguished Professor of Education; Presidential Chair in Education and Diversity
Jennie Grammer, assistant professor
Jennie Grammer
Assistant Professor

Contact Us


Alison Bailey

(310) 825-1731


Molly Vang

(310) 825-9260


Kim Mattheussens

(310) 825-0830


Piper Harris

Natalie Libster

Jeffrey Yo

Yawen Yu