Developmental, Cognitive, and Affective Sciences

Hands of psychologist talking next to a patient
Doctor of Philosophy

About the Program


Discover connections and build new understandings of the human brain, mind, and behavior with a PhD in Developmental, Cognitive and Affective Sciences from Case Western Reserve—one of the top research universities in the country. 

Our program focuses on the training of developmental, cognitive and affective sciences psychologists with a primary focus on research. Upon graduating, most of our students pursue university research and teaching roles or go into research outside the academy. Where will your PhD take you?

What to Expect

In five years, you can complete your PhD from the #1 university in Ohio (U.S. News & World Report). You’ll choose from one of three tracks—developmental psychology, cognitive psychology or affective neuroscience—and you'll conduct research alongside a faculty mentor of your choice. You’re encouraged to contact at least one relevant faculty member in advance about whether they are recruiting students in the current year (and whether they believe your research interest aligns with theirs).

Among our core faculty, you'll find experts who research topics such as the interaction between emotional and cognitive processing, human learning and memory, cognitive development in children, ability and performance variance, and much more. 

All students receive full tuition waivers and a stipend, allowing you to focus on your studies. In recent years, the stipend has been $20,000 per year—an amount that stretches farther in Cleveland than many other locations thanks to the city’s low cost of living. And, you’ll have other opportunities for assistance if you’re a graduate teaching assistant.

If you need additional financial support, funding is also available through the department.

Request Information


A Place for Success

In addition its culture, food, and low cost of living, Cleveland also offers a wide array of job opportunities in psychology: You’ll be in close proximity to world-renowned hospitals such as Cleveland Clinic, MetroHealth Medical Center, Louis Stokes VA Medical Center and University Hospitals. 

And Case Western Reserve is situated in the heart of University Circle, one of the city’s most energetic and culturally robust communities. From our campus, you’re just a short walk to outstanding destinations that offer free or discounted admission to students—such as the world-renowned Cleveland Orchestra, Cleveland Museum of Art, Cleveland Botanical Garden, Museum of Contemporary Art Cleveland, and Cleveland Museum of Natural History.

By the Numbers


university in the country, U.S. News & World Report


specialty tracks


years to complete the program

Admission Requirements

To fit well in this PhD program, you should be highly motivated to conduct research in developmental psychology, cognitive psychology, and/or affective neuroscience and be planning a career in academia or research outside academia (e.g., NASA, industry) upon graduation. Does this sound like you? Apply today!

The application process requires:

  • Online application, including a statement of purpose and personal statement
  • $50 application fee
  • Bachelor’s from an accredited institution (either already complete, or will be complete before you enroll)
  • Unofficial transcripts
  • Current resume/CV
  • Three letters of recommendation
  • Test scores for GRE (required) and MAT, MCAT, LSAT, DACT or GMAT (optional)
  • International applicants: Results of TOEFL, IELTS or PTE

Contact Us

Request Information