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M.Ed. in Educational Psychology—Applied Developmental Science

Students in our program are passionate about finding ways to transform the lives of children and youth through exemplary programs and relationships with caring adults. Read about how our recent graduates are making a difference.

The Educational Psychology and Applied Developmental Science (EP-ADS) Master's program provides opportunities for students to develop their knowledge and expertise in the fields of educational psychology and applied developmental psychology. The Master's program 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.

The EP-ADS Master of Education (M.Ed.) program is housed in the Educational Leadership, Foundations, and Policy Department (EDLF) in the Curry School of Education at the University of Virginia. Our program is designed specifically for students who are interested in learning how developmental processes influence learning, performance, and behavior in educational settings. We value the varied perspectives that come from students who have worked with children and youth in a variety of countries and programs.

What features make the Curry program in EP-ADS unique? 

  • 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 the 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

Thoughts about the program from recent graduates:

During the program, I had to narrow down what it was I wanted, and to have confidence in my passion and ability.

The atmosphere at UVA, and Curry in particular, is very unique. The Curry community is so welcoming and helpful and truly wants the best for each student. The professors and advisers are down to earth and really do their best to assist you in any way possible. The community that was formed within the cohort was even greater. Having a small cohort of students is great because you get to know each other at the personal level. 

Learning from the fantastic, motivated faculty of the Curry School, I understand the educational field at a depth I didn't realize existed. By focusing on motivational psychology in my studies, I have skills that are valuable in numerous occupational fields. I feel very lucky to have had the experience that UVA granted me.

The faculty definitely supported me throughout the entire time, and encouraged me to be confident about what I had accomplished.

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. Each spring, students from the program in the field to understand and contribute to a local educational program. This year, we have partnered with the City Schoolyard Garden program to conduct a program evaluation and learn about students' experiences in school garden programs. 

Read past newsletters and sign up for program updates here.

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 Curry research conference or other regional or national conferences. Highly motivated students with strong writing skills may also contribute to writing empirical papers. Click here to 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 or SuperStarters Sports. 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.

Learn more about our program from this informational flyer.


Students can choose an Applied Research or an Applied Professional emphasis when they begin graduate study in the Educational Psychology: Applied Developmental Science master’s program at UVA. Each track has different internship and course work expectations. Read more about each track here.

Prerequisites and Admission Requirements

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

The following scores are targeted benchmarks for our incoming students:

Verbal: 150
Quantitative: 145
Analytic Writing: 4.0

Undergraduate GPA: 3.0 minimum

We review ALL applications holistically; we are interested in motivated and engaged students who want to create positive changes in the world through education.

Applicants should submit unofficial test scores (taken within the past 5 year) and unofficial transcripts with their application. Official scores and transcripts will be required on acceptance of an offer of admission.

When submitting a statement of professional goals (typically 500 - 1000 words), students 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. Include 2 letters of recommendation and a resume. A writing sample is not required for application to this program.

A faculty committee makes decisions regarding admission. As is the case for entrance to all Curry programs, applicants must have solid academic preparation, and strong GRE scores 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.

Application Due Date

February 1 for the first review of applications. Applications will be accepted until June 1 on a space-available basis. Accepted students begin the program in August (fall semester).

Degree Requirements

Course Work

The M.Ed. program requires completion of a minimum of 32 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. Some students conduct their internships over the summer as a 10-week summer term whereas other students work on their internship over two semesters. Both the supervisor and a program faculty member develop an internship plan and evaluate job performance and any final products. Many interns receive remuneration for their work. 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 Curry 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.


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 Curry's Financial Aid webpage.

1. Scholarships and Fellowships:

  • Master's students are eligible for some of the Curry Foundation Scholarships (ranging from a few hundred dollars to 10K, nominated by faculty in the spring each year for the current cohort).
  • Departmental funds ranging from $1000-$4000 are awarded each year to assist a few exceptional students with tuition costs. 
  • The Office of Graduate Studies and Postdoctoral Programs has a website with some available funding opportunities.

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 Curry’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 workstudy when you complete your FAFSA application. Please visit their website at 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 Curry School of Education. 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 Curry. Also, many students have taught fitness courses to undergraduate students through the Lifetime Physical Activity program.

Contact Ellen Markowitz ( 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 fall, spring and summer semesters. These students will receive their diploma in August, and can attend graduation the following spring. 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 would allow them to complete the program the following spring.

Semester of Entry:

Typically fall; part-time students can be considered for spring 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).

5 credits in Educational Psychology
6 credits in Developmental Science
9 credits in methods courses
6 credits in electives - choose any graduate level courses that align with your goals and interests
3-6 credit internship

Read here about our course options for the Applied Research and Applied Professional tracks.

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?

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

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Contact Us

Dr. Ellen Markowitz
Curry School of Education
140 Ruffner Hall

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  • Charlottesville

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