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Graduate Interdisciplinary Specialization in Applied Developmental Science

Applied Developmental Science (ADS) is a multidisciplinary field of social-science research that seeks to integrate basic science and developmental theory with applied science on practices, policies, and programs. Applied developmental scientists might answer such questions as:

  • Do summer reading programs help adolescents to read more often during summer?
  • How does parental sexual orientation affect young children?
  • Do welfare policies promote children’s school readiness?

The Ohio State University’s ADS graduate interdisciplinary specialization (GIS) helps students across a variety of disciplines to develop an understanding of basic developmental research and theory in a substantive area (e.g., reading, motivation), but also how development can be impacted by educational practices, policies, and programs.

The ADS GIS is offered through a collaboration among the Department of Educational StudiesDepartment of Teaching and Learning, and the Crane Center of Early Childhood Research and Policy.

Who is This GIS For?

This GIS is designed for graduate students whose general academic focus is on one of the following:

  1. Developmental science and theory or pedagogy, transcending the human lifespan
  2. Educational policy, practice, and programs
  3. Basic and applied research methodologies

This specialization provides the opportunity for students to expand beyond a singular focus on one of these areas, and to develop a multidisciplinary and integrative understanding of applied developmental science.

What is the Benefit of Completing a GIS in ADS

Students enrolled in PhD programs typically are uni-disciplinary, exposing students to the theories and research methodologies of a single discipline. Graduate Interdisciplinary Specializations, such as the ADS, are designed to provide PhD students with opportunities to expand their thinking and training so that it spans multiple disciplines.

The ADS GIS is designed to expose students to theories and methodologies used in such disciplines as psychology, linguistics, social work, sociology, human development, education, among others. The specialization is complementary to students’ experiences in their focal discipline, as it is designed to help students explore linkages among human development and practice and policy applications.


What Are The Admissions Requirements?

Applications are accepted at any time. Students will be admitted if:

  • They are a PhD student in good standing
  • They have the permission of their primary advisor
  • They have an interest in applied developmental science

To apply, simply complete and submit this online ADS GIS application form and the GIS coordinator will contact you shortly!

What Will I Do to Complete this GIS?

Our PDF iconprogram requirements sheet outlines the courses needed to complete the GIS. In short, ADS students will complete their core PhD program requirements, and:

  • 5 to 11 semester hours of ADS-relevant graduate coursework;
  • 2 core ADS courses: the ADS Proseminar (EDUTL/ EDUCST 8081; 3 hours) and the ADS Capstone (EDUTL/EDUSCT 8082, 3 hours);
  • 3-hour research apprenticeship (usually simultaneous to the ADS capstone).

The ADS-relevant courses (5 to 11 hours) can be taken from many departments across the university. The courses should span the two areas relevant to ADS: (a) developmental theory and (b) applications of development (practices, policy, pedagogies). At least 9 hours must be from outside the student’s home graduate program, but may include cross-listed courses.

For an example of one student’s GIS in ADS experience, see the PDF iconADS example program sheet.


ADS GIS Coordinator

ADS Core Faculty Associates

College of Education and Human Ecology

College of Arts and Sciences

  • Allison Bean
  • John Gibbs
  • Monique Mills
  • Laura Wagner


Kelly Purtell
Associate Professor
ADS Coordinator