Developmental and Psychological Sciences (DAPS)

The Committee on Developmental and Psychological Sciences, one of three Area Committees within the GSE, is responsible for graduate training and research leading to the Ph.D. degree.

The program in Developmental and Psychological Sciences (DAPS) emphasizes disciplined inquiry aimed at understanding psychological functioning and/or human development in relation to all forms of formal and informal learning and teaching contexts. The goal of the program is to develop theory and research for the improvement of educational practice in education. Consequently, faculty and student research is centrally concerned with the psychology of learning, teaching, socialization, and developmental processes as well as with research on the design of learning environments and technologies for learning. The program prepares students for professional careers in scholarly research and in teaching. Students in the program acquire knowledge and expertise in several substantive domains of scientific psychology, as well as, research methodology, and embrace the highest scientific, professional and ethical standards.

Historically, psychological research in education has often been divided into several categories with labels such as Educational Psychology, Counseling Psychology, Developmental Psychology, Educational Measurement, and the like. In some graduate training programs there are further subdivisions; within Educational Psychology, for example, research on Learning and Instruction has often been distinguished from research on Teaching and Teacher Education. These subcategories persist because they identify well-known professional associations, societies, and scientific journals, and DAPS graduates may choose to affiliate with one or another of them. However, DAPS faculty believe that imposing divisional boundaries can also stifle new initiatives, syntheses, and other evolutionary changes in the field. For example, new research on the design of developmentally appropriate, technology-supported learning environments cuts across several categories. There are also new initiatives that combine psychology with other disciplines such as neuroscience. Importantly, in DAPS as a doctoral research training program, faculty treat all such divisions as identifying individual specializations within the general program, not as formally separate subprograms or sub-areas.

Faculty expect all DAPS students to develop an understanding and appreciation of psychological and developmental research in education in the broadest sense, as well as to develop their own specialty within it. This means working with faculty advisors to develop one’s own specialization statement. It also means building a graduate study plan that ranges across the major domains of psychology relevant to education as it is broadly defined.

Program and Objectives

Core Courses

The core courses are designed to provide students with the necessary foundational (theoretical and methodological) skills required to understand the major psychological, social, and developmental issues in educational research and practice.  To support the development of methodological skills these courses include assignments in the form of reasonably constrained, small-scale research projects or shorter exercises.  It is expected that some projects may be of a quality that is reportable at a scientific or professional meeting. It is not expected that a research project conducted in a core course will lead into the dissertation research, though that possibility is not precluded. All DAPS students are required to take a minimum of four (4) of the following courses during their graduate training program:

To count an approved course towards the DAPS Core Course requirement, a Ph.D. student must complete a written assignment that that shows theoretical understanding of major psychological, social, and developmental issue(s) in education research or practice, as well as knowledge of methodological skills needed to address or critique the relevant research question(s). Acceptable formats include an empirical paper, a grant proposal, a research review, or a series of reports. The course instructor will decide the format and focus of the assignment, which could be identified in the syllabus as an extra requirement for DAPS Ph.D. students who want the class to count as a core course.

Students should include these written products in their first and second year review portfolios. Note: Students do not need to complete all four core courses by the end of their second year. 

To help you select classes, we have grouped the DAPS Core Courses into four content clusters. You can read course summaries and see a detailed overview of course components. You can select your core courses from any cluster. (You do NOT need to take all courses within a cluster, or take one from each cluster.)

Students will keep track of the DAPS Core Courses they have completed using the DAPS Core Courses Student Form and include it in their portfolios. After a student completes four DAPS Core Courses, they are expected to print this form, ask their primary advisor to review and sign it, and turn in the signed form to the Doctoral Programs Officer. This form does NOT replace the GSP form, which is still a required component of students’ first and second review portfolios.

This policy replaces the prior practice of petitioning for a non-approved course to count toward core requirements. All previously approved petitions stand, and for those successful petitions you do not need to complete an additional written assignment. However, no new petitions will be accepted.

If you took a class from the expanded list of 23 DAPS Core Courses *before* it was approved as such, you may speak with your advisor to see whether it should be counted toward your foundational training. If the course has a new written assignment to align with the vision for DAPS Core Courses, you must also have approval from the instructor to complete that assignment after the class. With those two faculty approvals, please email the DAPS Area Chair to finalize this exception.

Additional Courses Offered by DAPS Faculty

Program Advisors

Near the end of the first year of the program and as the student prepares for the 3rd quarter review, the DAPS doctoral student, in conjunction with her or his primary advisor, selects a second advisor who serves in this capacity until the student advances to doctoral candidacy.

The Primary Advisor

Upon acceptance into the program, DAPS faculty assign an initial program advisor to the incoming student based on identified special interests. The faculty advisor ordinarily serves as a student’s “primary” advisor for at least the first year of residence. The student consults with the advisor about course choices, research experiences, and other aspects of his or her program. The primary advisor is responsible for signing programs of study and other official documents and will arrange for advisement when off-duty for any extended period.

The Second Advisor

During the first Autumn Quarter, students will become acquainted with other faculty members, in part through the required DAPS core courses, the Proseminar core course, and other GSE courses. Students should also take other opportunities to discuss common interests with faculty members. During Winter Quarter, students will choose a second advisor, having discussed options with their primary advisor. Since the role of the second advisor is to provide breadth to advisement and training, students are encouraged to choose a second advisor whose interests do not overlap substantially with those of the primary advisor. Students have several options. The second advisor may be chosen from within DAPS, from another Area Committee in the GSE, or from another department in the University, as best fits the student’s special interests. However, students should note that faculty within Developmental and Psychological Sciences will be more familiar with the role of the second advisor than will faculty in other GSE programs or from departments outside of the GSE.

The second advisor’s responsibilities end following successful completion of the student’s Second Year Review (the 6th quarter). Students then have only one official academic advisor who represents their interests in departmental affairs and who must be a member of DAPS and meet other advisor requirements (e.g., member of the GSE faculty and Academic Council). This may be the primary or second advisor or another DAPS faculty member whom the student has chosen to serve as dissertation advisor. If a student chooses a dissertation advisor from an Area other than DAPS or a school other than the GSE, the student must also retain a DAPS academic co-advisor.

Approval from the proposed new (e.g., second) advisor, the existing primary advisor, the DAPS Area Chair, and Associate Dean of Educational Affairs is required for advisor updates or changes. The relevant form and procedures are on the GSE website.

Changing Advisors

DAPS uses a two-advisor system to ensure that students have ready access to a range of advice in formulating and pursuing their program. The first year of graduate work will expose students to many new ideas; it is not unusual for students to shift away from areas proposed as specializations at application time. If a change of advisor seems appropriate given these or other important circumstances, students may request the change by using the appropriate GSE form, which can be found on the GSE Intranet. The DAPS Area Chair is a third advisor to all students as well as an ombudsman who endeavors to resolve points of concern or dispute among or between students and faculty members. After notification to the existing advisor, approval from the proposed new advisor, the DAPS Area Chair, and the Associate Dean of Educational Affairs is required for advisor updates or changes.

Preliminary and Specialty Review

A portfolio system is used to document student progress throughout the program. Students should begin developing the portfolio during the first quarter and use it to organize their program and plans. As students progress through the program, preparation and experiences are reviewed periodically by the DAPS faculty. Normally, formal review occurs at two points in a student’s career: (1) a Preliminary Review conducted at the conclusion of the first year (third quarter); and (2) a Specialty Review conducted at the conclusion of the second year (sixth quarter). See below for a description of Preliminary Review portfolio contents.

The Preliminary Review (First-Year Review)

The Preliminary Review is a comprehensive review of all aspects of a student’s graduate work. The review allows the faculty to consider the breadth and depth of the student’s preparation to date and the adequacy of future plans for coursework, research experience and professional training. The intent of the Preliminary Review is to facilitate progress by providing informative and constructive feedback about academic and research accomplishments and plans. Most students complete the Preliminary Review satisfactorily, usually with some recommendations or requirements for additional and/or change in coursework. Once these are satisfactorily addressed, as determined by the DAPS Area Chair in consultation with the student’s Academic Advisor, results are posted on the students’ record on Axess.

DAPS faculty have shared that the first-year review is one of their favorite annual experiences –– a chance to connect with younger minds, share advice and perspectives, and support students in the early phase of their doctoral journeys. The first-year review is intended to be a constructively supportive and celebratory, rather than an evaluatory, event. Indeed, many faculty have remarked that it is more accurately described as a discussion than a formal review. This meeting is intended as a chance for students to reflect on the evolution of their research interests during their first year of the program, attempt to articulate those interests informally in writing to their faculty mentors, and ask questions of their faculty mentors about their strategic direction going forward. 

The standard DAPS preliminary review lasts 60 minutes. Towards the end of the review, students can expect to be asked to step out briefly while faculty converse, and then invited to rejoin the meeting for final takeaways. 

See the Degree Milestones section for general First-Year Review requirements that apply to students in all GSE Areas.

The Portfolio

The portfolio should contain the following materials, in the order specified below. Students may assemble hard copies of the portfolio or distribute electronic copies of the portfolio depending on the faculty member’s choice. A copy of the portfolio should be delivered to each member of his or her First-Year Review Committee at least two weeks before the Review date.

Portfolio Contents

  • A one-page cover letter, addressed to the preliminary review committee, that articulates the 3-5 most pressing questions that the student would like to discuss during their review. Example cover letters (as well as samples of all other portfolio materials) can be found in the DAPS doctoral students’ shared Google Drive, which is made available to all DAPS students upon program entry. 
  • A copy of the original Statement of Purpose from the admissions application, which can be obtained from the Doctoral Programs Officer.
  • An unofficial Stanford transcript printed from AXESS.
  • An explanation for any incomplete grades and a plan for fulfilling of incompletes.
  • A preliminary Graduate Study Program (GSP). The GSP should include the courses required of all DAPS students as outlined in the above sections. Both the first and second advisors must sign the original copy of the GSP during the Review.
  • A description of previous and current professional activities. This statement, typically 2-3 pages long, should describe developing capabilities as a researcher and as a teacher. It should cover (1) experiences to date, (2) priorities for further development, and (3) future plans.
  • Curriculum vitae. This will include post-secondary degrees earned and in progress, professional experiences, professional honors or awards received, publications and/or presentations, professional memberships, significant professional services and other relevant information.
  • Major course papers and exams including, but not restricted to, all such products from courses offered by the DAPS faculty. When possible, submit copies with original comments from the course instructor.
  • Accompany the set of writing samples with a brief statement explaining why each one was chosen for inclusion. Explanations might refer to the kinds of writing proficiencies each piece illustrates, specific areas of interest or competence the piece addresses, or perhaps particular problems students would like to discuss with the Preliminary Review committee. A minimum of three writing samples should be included. There is no maximum, but it is not helpful to submit an excessive amount of material. The set of writing samples as a whole should be chosen to give a good picture of the student’s developing professional competencies, especially proficiency in academic writing.
  • Research reports, for example, including publications, conference presentations, technical reports, and any other papers on which you are an author or co-author.
  • Any other relevant scholarly or professional documents (e.g., certificates from professional workshops attended).

Work Statements

In addition to the materials outlined above, the student may also arrange up to two work statements (evaluation letters) from faculty or other staff who will not be present at their preliminary review, but with whom the student has done substantive research or other relevant work. These work statements should address the nature and caliber of their work.  Work statements typically have two parts: one paragraph describing the student’s strengths and the nature of their experiences to date, and a second describing areas where further growth or improvement is desirable. Work statements can be given directly to the student; they are not confidential. Email is acceptable. 

If requesting statements from faculty outside of DAPS, some suggested wording for a statement request might be:

This is a request for a brief statement regarding my work with you. This statement will be reviewed by faculty in the Developmental and Psychological Studies (DAPS) Program for the purposes of the Preliminary Review and will be included in my review portfolio. The Preliminary Review in DAPS is a collaborative process involving students as well as faculty, and so I will also read the statement you provide. Work statements typically have two parts: one paragraph describing my strengths and the nature of my experiences to date, and the other describing areas where further growth or improvement is desirable. It would be helpful if your comments documented the nature of the work I have done with you and the qualifications and skills involved. An email response is all that is required.

Student Procedures

  • Obtain advisor approvals and sign the GSP.
  • Assemble Preliminary Review materials during the third quarter and review it with the primary and secondary advisors before submitting it to the Preliminary Review Committee.
  • Schedule the review date and communicate the date and committee composition to the Doctoral Programs Officer.
  • The committee should include the primary and secondary advisors as well as one additional faculty member chosen in collaboration with the primary advisor. Committee composition rules are outlined in the Dissertation Reading Committee section.
  • Provide each member of the Review Committee with a copy of the portfolio at least two weeks before the Review date.
  • On the scheduled date, meet with your three-member committee to discuss your progress in the program. The portfolio is the central focus of this meeting.
  • Recommendations and requirements are formulated based on discussion and recorded on the Preliminary Review Summary Sheet and signed by all faculty attending. Unless otherwise agreed upon, the student’s primary advisor is the default person responsible for filling out the Preliminary Review Summary Sheet.
  • Submit the signed Preliminary Review Summary Sheet and preliminary GSP to the Doctoral Programs Officer.

Students should retain a complete copy of their portfolios. It will be necessary to update and submit the Preliminary Review portfolio as part of the sixth quarter Specialty Review.

First Year Research Project and Poster Presentation

Because DAPS follows an apprentice research training model students are expected to become engaged in a research project during their first year in the program. This can be research carried out with the student’s advisor or with another member of the faculty. The research can take several different forms, for example, original data collection on a project the advisor is conducting, becoming a member of a research team and taking responsibility for some part of a research project, doing secondary analysis on a data set provided by a faculty member.

As a continuation of their first year program, all DAPS/LSTD students in the autumn of their second-year will participate in a poster session presentation attended by faculty and students. Posters are intended to summarize students’ first year research project. Ideally the student poster will summarize empirical findings from a study conducted by the student, but may also include original data obtained from the advisor or another source. The poster will be prepared in consultation with the student’s advisor and will be similar to a poster presentation at a professional conference. Students will make a 5-7 minute oral presentation of the research summarized on the poster. This will be followed by individual discussions of their work with faculty and others in attendance at the DAPS/LSTD poster session. 

The final part of the research requirement is the writing up of a First Year research report that should be done in consultation with your advisor. The First Year research report becomes a part of the Specialty Review – Part I. 

DAPS faculty and students have also collaborated to create this preliminary (first-year) review FAQ document, which further explains the preliminary (first-year) review and answers commonly held questions. 

Specialty Review (Second-Year Review)

The purpose of the 6th quarter Specialty Review is to enable the faculty to determine whether students are prepared to move on to dissertation research. The review includes assessment of all coursework, grades, research activities and research documents, especially the final write-up of the student's First-Year Project and the Qualifying Paper. The successful completion of the sixth quarter Specialty Review is intended to reflect a judgment that the student is capable of doing dissertation-level work, not only in his/her area of specialization, but also in DAPS more generally. Upon successful completion of the Specialty Review, students must apply for Advancement to Candidacy. See the Second-Year Review section for general requirements that apply to Second-Year Reviews for all Areas. 

The standard DAPS speciality review lasts 90 minutes. Towards the end of the review, students will be asked to step out while faculty discuss their progress, and then invited to rejoin the meeting for further discussion and final takeaways. The Specialty Review is made up of two parts: I and II. 

Part I of the Specialty Review is an update of the Preliminary Review Portfolio, with particular emphasis on the report of the First-Year Research Project. The primary and secondary advisor and one additional faculty member chosen by the primary advisor in collaboration with the student, to determine that his/her research competence is at a level sufficient to begin a dissertation study, evaluate each student’s progress. Specific committee composition requirements are outlined in the Dissertation Reading Committee section. The particular competencies expected might depend upon the modes of inquiry that a student anticipates using in her/his dissertation research. Also considered is the student’s ability to integrate, evaluate and communicate the research literature on a substantive topic. On occasion, recent research reports done for other classes or an integrative literature review within the student’s area of concentration may also be included to document developing competencies.

To prepare for the first part of the Specialty Review, the student will update the Preliminary Review Portfolio to include the following:

  • A one-page cover letter, addressed to the preliminary review committee, that articulates the 3-5 most pressing questions that the student would like to discuss during their review. Compared to the questions that students prepared for their first-year review, questions for the second-year review tend to be more explicitly research-focused. It is typical for some questions to be specific to the student’s Qualifying Paper –– for example, where and when to submit it for publication –– and others to pertain to the student’s broader future research directions. 
  • A summary statement of evidence that any outstanding requirements (e.g., completion of Incompletes, recommended course work) of the Preliminary Review have been satisfied. This statement should be co-signed by the advisor.
  • A schedule for completing remaining degree work (e.g., remaining coursework, other research, dissertation, oral examination).
  • Suggestions of possible faculty for a dissertation reading committee.
  • An update of the Preliminary Review statement of previous and current research activities, providing specific information about the experiences that have prepared the student to undertake the research tasks involved in a dissertation study.
  • Updated Curriculum Vitae.
  • A copy of the proposed final Graduate Study Program (GSP).
  • An unofficial Stanford transcript from AXESS.
  • A copy of the first-year project research report.
  • A copy of the DAPS Specialty Review Summary Sheet, available online from the GSE Intranet.

Part II. The primary goals of Part II of the Specialty Review are threefold: (1) provide the student with an opportunity to develop early expertise about a domain of research and carefully organize his/her expertise into an informative Qualifying Paper; (2) facilitate the student’s exploration of possible dissertation trajectories; and, (3) generate a document that reflects a sustained effort and provides an evaluation point for advancement to candidacy. The Specialty Review meeting itself provides the student with the opportunity to gain feedback and guidance from the faculty readers regarding his/her research direction and plans for the future.

Students will write a Qualifying Paper that builds on the past and present empirical and theoretical literature. In developing the Qualifying Paper the student will present a thesis and an argument, rather than a general overview. The specific content and the format of the paper will be determined by each student in collaboration with their primary advisor. There is some margin of flexibility in how a student approaches the preparation of the Qualifying Paper. Some possible alternatives include: A major literature review around an unresolved debate; a largely empirical paper describing the students’ own research and findings; a single authored manuscript that has been prepared for journal submission; or a focused paper that presents a potential research direction and methodology for study. The Specialty Review Qualifying Paper will be approximately 6,000 words in length (excluding references) and, if appropriate, contains figures and tables.

All students should prepare a brief (roughly 20 minute) PowerPoint presentation of their Qualifying Paper and be prepared to present these slides at the start of the discussion of their Qualifying Paper during their second-year review. 


The Specialty Review should be completed in the Spring Quarter of the second year. Please refer to the Second Year Review section for more information on this requirement.

Specialty Review Meeting- Procedures for the Student

  • Schedule a joint appointment with the primary and second advisors and one additional faculty member chosen by the primary advisor. Provide the date and committee composition to the Doctoral Programs Officer. See the Committee Composition section on p. 18 for more information.
  • Portfolio materials should be distributed to Review Committee members at least two weeks in advance of the Review date. The appropriate form for Specialty Review evaluation from the Specialty Review meeting, the student and committee will evaluate the Specialty Review materials, discuss any necessary revisions to the final Graduate Study Program (GSP), and consider recommendations for future work.
  • The committee will conduct an oral assessment based on the Specialty Review Qualifying Paper. Students can expect to be asked to step out for 10-15 minutes while faculty discuss their progress, and then invited to rejoin the meeting for further discussion and final takeaways.
  • If the committee is satisfied with the student’s progress toward degree completion and preparation to begin dissertation-level work, the committee will indicate this on the Specialty Review Summary form. If the committee determines that the student’s progress does not meet all of the requirements for the Specialty Review, the advisor on behalf of the committee will describe what actions must be taken before the student can fully pass the Specialty Review and advance to doctoral candidacy. In either case, all committee members sign the Specialty Review Summary form that the student then submits to the Doctoral Programs Officer along with a signed final GSP.
  • The results of the Specialty Review will be posted on the students’ record on AXESS. When appropriate, the advisor will further discuss the results of the final review with the student.

Satisfactory completion of the Specialty Review is required before a dissertation proposal may be submitted for oral review or a student advances to candidacy. The Specialty Review and Proposal Hearing may NOT happen at the same time. If students pass the Specialty Review subject to requirements (e.g., subject to the removal of incompletes or satisfactory completion of work required), then they may submit a dissertation proposal for oral review as soon as these requirements have been met.

DAPS faculty and students have also collaborated to create this specialty (second-year) review FAQ document, which further explains the preliminary (first-year) review and answers commonly held questions. 

Planning the Dissertation Research

The Dissertation Proposal may be developed and submitted any time after successful completion of the Specialty Review. The proposal should be conceptually concise, methodologically detailed, and clearly written. It may include the results of pilot work and prior data on measuring instruments where appropriate. The proposal should demonstrate its theoretical grounding and relation to educational practice.

There should be a review of the relevant literature (although this does not need to be an exhaustive review), and the review may be presented as an appendix. It may also be that the student has prepared a previous paper that consists of an exhaustive review of literature in which case the student may cite this paper as an indication of knowledge of the research area. There should also be discussion if appropriate of probable uses of the results expected and potential pitfalls in the approach taken. The main body of the proposal (excluding references and appendices) should not exceed 25 double-spaced typewritten pages. Liberal use of appendices (e.g., for pilot studies or literature reviews) is encouraged.

The dissertation proposal should conclude with an estimated budget that the student might prepare with the consultation of their advisor. The budget should offer a realistic estimate of the costs (e.g., travel, copying, transcription of interviews, etc.) associated with carrying out the study to completion. If possible, sources of funding to assist the student with the dissertation should be provided.

Beyond these guidelines, a formula for good proposals cannot be given. Form follows function, and the variety of investigative approaches and styles in psychological research is substantial. For ideas, students should look to discussion with advisors and examples from relevant literature (e.g., Psychological Bulletin). Examples of previously approved Dissertation Proposals may be available from your advisor, the Area Chair, or in Cubberley Library.

History of the Developmental and Psychological Sciences Program at Stanford University


Psychology in education at Stanford can be traced back to the creation of the university in the 1890s. However, the first formal program in psychology and education was organized in the early 1960’s under the title of Psychological Studies in Education (PSE). PSE continued until the spring of 2010 when the faculty decided to rename its program – Developmental and Psychological Sciences (DAPS). This change was made to align the program with contemporary perspectives in developmental studies and with advances in the psychology of learning and teaching that reflect cognitive, social, and neuroscience research methodologies and findings.

Leland and Jane Stanford had specified a Department of History and Art of Education in their founding grant. David Starr Jordan, who had been President at Indiana University, became the first Stanford President; the Indiana connection would prove to be especially productive for both psychology and education at Stanford in the coming decades.

President Jordan appointed Earl Barnes from Indiana as one of his first faculty members, and a one-man Department of Education, in 1891. Barnes taught the history of education, but he also began courses and research projects to pursue his interest in child study, following the style of G. Stanley Hall, one of the pioneers of American developmental psychology. However, Barnes abruptly resigned for personal reasons in 1897 and the Chair went to E.H. Griggs, a professor of ethics. The ethics and education departments were then combined and Griggs hired another of Jordan’s former associates from Indiana, Ellwood P. Cubberley, as an assistant professor to cover the education side.

When Griggs suddenly left Stanford in 1898, Cubberley was given a probationary period by Jordan to prove that education could be made a scientifically respectable field of scholarship. Cubberley did so using his background in physics, but also his growing knowledge of psychology gained from study leaves to Columbia’s Teachers College, where he worked with the famous psychologists J. McKeen Cattell and E.L. Thorndike, among others.

The Department of Education prospered, especially after Cubberley was made Professor of Education in 1905. In 1908, he hired John A. Bergstrom, also from Indiana, as the first Stanford Professor of Educational Psychology. Bergstrom died within a year, so the position was next offered to Lewis M. Terman, Bergstrom’s former Indiana student, starting in 1910. Also arriving on the faculty in 1911 was Jesse B. Sears, who had been an undergraduate at Stanford and then a graduate student at Chicago and Columbia as well as Wisconsin.

Sears and Terman became close friends and colleagues. Although Sears went on to teach in educational administration and research on school surveys, it is noteworthy that his diverse graduate work included studies with three of the founding fathers of educational psychology: John Dewey, Charles Judd, and E.L. Thorndike.

It is also noteworthy that Sear’s son Robert conferred with Terman while a Stanford undergraduate, and chose his career in psychology as a result; Robert Sears ultimately returned to Stanford in the 1950’s to become Professor of Psychology, Department Chair, and then Dean of Humanities and Sciences. Terman’s son Frederick, meanwhile, became a radio engineer, then Dean of Engineering at Stanford, and finally an illustrious Provost; Fred Terman was the academic advisor of Hewlett and Packard, and is regarded as the “Father of Silicon Valley.”

Psychology in education owes its lasting place at Stanford to Lewis Terman. With Cubberley and Sears as strong supporters, Terman pursued programs of research that placed Stanford on the psychological map. He pioneered the longitudinal approach to research on child development with his study of gifted children, and he mounted other major studies on the health and welfare of children and their development both in and out of schools. Both Fred Terman and Robert Sears, incidentally, were subjects in Terman’s study for gifted children. So was Lee J. Cronbach, whose career in educational psychology and measurement would also bring him to the Stanford education faculty. Robert Sears and Cronbach eventually became co-directors of the Terman Gifted Children Project at Stanford.

As Terman built the psychology emphasis in education, Cubberley continued to strengthen the GSE faculty in other directions. The GSE was founded in 1917 with Cubberley as its first Dean. It has progressed ever since, from strength in history, to the development of professional dimensions of education in curriculum, teacher training, educational administration, and international development, and then into social sciences, statistics, and philosophy related to education and educational research.

Meanwhile, the Stanford Psychology Department had been established in 1892 with Frank Angell, a psychophysicist and student of Wilhelm Wundt, as chair. In 1899, Lillian Martin, also a psychophysicist, was added. The two were excellent teachers, but unproductive researchers, and the department remained undistinguished. Only one Ph.D. was produced in the Angell years, and this came from “psychical” research funded by bequests from Leland Stanford’s youngest brother, T.W. Stanford. The recipient, J.F. Coover, became a psychology faculty member. However, the term “psychological science” later appeared in T.W. Stanford’s will (apparently due to the influence of Jordan) and then-President Ray Lyman Wilbur took advantage of this wording to start, finally, a successful psychology department.

Unfortunately, Cubberley, Angell, Coover, Terman, and Wilbur were unable to cooperate. They failed to agree on what was “basic” and what was “applied,” but they also had radically different views of the future for psychology at Stanford. For the next faculty appointment, Angell and Coover wanted a clinical neurologist and abnormal psychologist named S.I. Franz. Cubberley and Terman wanted the young Karl Lashley whom Terman saw as the future of basic neuropsychology. Ultimately, it was E.L. Thorndike who advised Cubberley and Wilbur that Terman should head psychology at Stanford, not the others; in Thorndike’s words, he was one of the “most promising younger men in psychology.” Terman became head of the Stanford Department of psychology in 1922.

Terman’s psychology group consisted of: W.R. Miles in experimental psychology; Coover: C.P. Stone, who was a Lashley student; Maud Merrill, who was Terman’s student and coworker; and Gertrude Trace, appointed by Angell. Soon, however, Terman expanded. E.K. Strong was added in 1923; he became famous for his research on vocational interests.

Truman Kelley, a joint appointment in educational and psychological statistics, also came in 1923. When Kelley moved to Harvard, his student Quinn McNemar joined the faculty in 1933. Terman also appointed Paul Farnsworth in 1925 and Ernest Hilgard in 1933. Along with Terman and Merrill, McNemar and Hilgard also held appointments in the GSE, beginning in 1935 and 1937, respectively. Hilgard remained a Professor Emeritus of Education and of Psychological Studies in Education, until his death in 2001.

The table below sketches the history of the initial faculty in education and psychology after the 1930s. Terman’s view of psychology within the progressive education movement had three aspects or dimensions that have been represented within psychological studies in education, in one way or another, ever since. In the table, three columns identify these dimensions: Counseling and Health Psychology (CHP), Child and Adolescent Development (CAD), and Educational Psychology. Faculty members are listed in whichever column represents their principal emphasis, but it should be understood that all contributed to psychological studies in education as a whole, beyond their particular specializations. The fourth column shows other Stanford faculty members who have held courtesy appointments in the GSE and who have made significant contributions to education and psychology over the years.

In the 1940s, H. Bonner McDaniel began a formal program in guidance counseling. John Krumboltz, who introduced doctoral research in modern counseling psychology, joined him in 1961. Lois Meek Stolz, from the Department of Psychology, promoted the child development emphasis, until Pauline Sears joined the GSE in 1953. Pauline was the daughter of David Snedden, a Stanford education faculty member, who along with Robert Sears was inspired by Terman while an undergraduate at Stanford. Robert and Pauline married, forming a life-long partnership for research in the psychology of child development.

Lloyd Humphreys, a Psychology Department graduate, taught educational psychology. Arthur Coladarci and his student Frederick McDonald built this field further. A major further addition was Nathaniel L. Gage, who had pioneered psychological research on teaching. When Gage and Lee J. Cronbach arrived in the early 1960’s, along with John Krumboltz in counseling, they joined with Coladarci, McDonald, and Pauline Sears to formally organize the program as Psychological Studies in Education (PSE).

After nearly six decades the program in Counseling Psychology was discontinued in 2003. Students in the program were allowed to continue until they completed all requirements for the Ph.D. including their mandated APA internship. By every measure the program was a success.

Beginning in the fall of 2010 the program changed its name to Developmental and Psychological Sciences (DAPS) and the lines between educational psychology and child and adolescent development were relaxed so that students with their advisors could determine how they want to specialize within DAPS.

The table on the next page shows the continuing flow of faculty along the three dimensions of DAPS (formerly PSE) to the present day. The deanships of I. James Quillen (1953-1966), H. Thomas James (1966-1970), Arthur Coladarci (1970-1979), Marshall Smith (1986-1992), Richard Shavelson (1995-2000), Deborah Stipek (2000-2011; 2014-15), Claude Steele (2011-2014), and Dan Schwartz (2015- ) have marked particular growth periods, but there has never been a period of significant retrenchment. The alumni of PSE/DAPS now number close to a thousand and include many leading researchers in colleges and universities and public and private education and research agencies.

Developmental and Psychological Sciences - Historical Outline

Lewis Terman, 1910-1942
Maud Merrill, 1920-1953
Quinn McNemar, 1935-1965
Ernest Hilgard, 1937-1969


  • H.B. McDaniel 1947-1968
  • John Krumboltz 1961-2015
  • Carl Thoresen 1967-2000
  • Steven Zifferblatt 1970-1976
  • Susan Krantz 1980-1983
  • Teresa LaFromboise 1985-

Child & Adolescent

  • Lois Meek Stolz 1946-1957
  • Pauline Sears 1953-1972
  • Edith Dowley 1967-1975
  • Joan Sieber 1967-1970
  • Robert Hess 1968-1987
  • Sueann Ambron 1973-1979
  • Alfredo Castaneda 1973-1979
  • Martin Ford 1980-1993
  • Amado Padilla 1988-
  • Robbie Case 1989-1999
  • Rafael Diaz 1989-1995
  • Kenji Hakuta 1989-2003: 2006-2017
  • Brigid Barron 1995-
  • Robert Roeser 1996-2004
  • William Damon 1997-
  • Deanne Perez-Granados 2000-2007
  • Na'ilah Nasir 2000-2009
  • Deborah Stipek 2000-
  • Jelena Obradovic 2009-
  • Bruce McCandliss 2014

Educational Psychology

  • Lloyd Humphreys 1949-1952
  • Arthur Coladarci 1952-1970
  • Frederick McDonald 1956-1968
  • Nathaniel Gage 1962-1987
  • Lee Cronbach 1964-1980
  • Richard Snow 1967-1997
  • Robert Calfee 1969-1998
  • Richard Shavelson 1970-72
  • Lyn Corno 1978-1980
  • Edward Haertel 1980-2015
  • Lee Shulman 1982-1997
  • James Greeno 1987- 2003
  • David Rogosa 1991-
  • Clea Fernandez 1995-1996
  • Richard Shavelson 1995-2010
  • Michael Kamil 1998-2004
  • Daniel Schwartz 2000-
  • Roy Pea 2001-
  • Sam Wineburg 2002-
  • Paulo Blikstein 2008-
  • Geoff Cohen 2009-
  • Claude Steele 2011-2014
  • Candace Thille 2013-
  • Ben Domingue 2015-
  • Willy Solano-Flores 2016-
  • Ayita Ruiz-Primo 2016-

Other Contributors

  • Robert Sears 1953-1962
  • Alberta Siegel 1957, 1963-1996
  • Richard Atkinson 1961-1965
  • Nevitt Sanford 1961-1967
  • Patrick Suppes 1967-201
  • Frank Hawkinshire 1968-1971
  • Denis Phillips 1974-1995
  • Mark Lepper 1975-2002
  • David Rogosa 1980-1991
  • Marshall Smith 1986-1992
  • Carol S. Dweck 2006-

Note: Charter members of PSE appear in Bold. Years indicate period of service.