Ph.D. in Psychological Sciences at the University of Texas at Dallas

Dear Prospective Doctoral Students:

Interested in exploring the bridge between basic and applied research in cognitive development? Consider applying to the Ph.D. program in Psychological Sciences at the University of Texas at Dallas.

The following researchers with interests focused on cognitive development are recruiting new doctoral students for the upcoming academic year:

Shayla Holub ( Dr. Holub leads the Healthy Development Project—a lab that focuses on how families socialize healthy eating habits and healthy body size attitudes in young children. Her research examines various self-related cognitions, including perceived competence and body esteem. Ongoing research examines the development of prejudice, specifically the preconceptions children hold because of others’ weight, and how to lessen weight bias.

Mandy Maguire ( Dr. Maguire leads the Developmental Neurolinguistics lab, which uses EEG to study how the brain supports typical language development. Her current research, funded by NSF, is related to how a childhood in poverty impacts brain and language development, specifically vocabulary growth, in grade schoolers (ages 8-15).

Candice Mills ( Dr. Mills leads the Think Lab, which examines different aspects of how children learn from others, including how they make decisions about when and how to go to others to gather new information as well as how they evaluate explanations varying in quality. An ongoing NSF grant examines how elementary school-aged children learn about science through explanations from others.

Margaret Owen (; Dr. Owen’s Children and Families Lab is examining the development of children’s self-regulation and executive function skills, school readiness and later achievement in low-income African American and Hispanic children followed longitudinally beginning at age 2½ years. With a new 5-year NIH grant, the children are now being followed as they transition to middle school, tracing their developmental trajectories in these domains in contexts of their family relationships, cultural socialization and identities, and school experiences.

Melanie Spence ( Dr. Spence studies the development of young infants’ perception of communicative signals. Her research includes studying young infants’ discrimination of infant-directed speech (IDS) signals that communicate different emotions and intent, as well as how facial motion and emotion affect infants’ attention to speech and faces. Opportunities exist within the lab, the Infant Learning Project, to collaborate with other faculty and students who have expertise in speech sciences.

Other faculty members in Psychological Sciences have current research interests connected to developmental psychology, including Jackie Nelson (parenting and emotional development, family stress), Noah Sasson (social cognition in autism in adulthood), and Marion Underwood (children’s anger and aggression, peer relations, digital communication, and developmental psychopathology).


Tell me more about UT Dallas

Some people haven’t heard much of the University of Texas at Dallas before. After all, we don’t have a football team. Instead, though, we have world-class teams in chess and debate. What else is there to know about our university?


So why else should I come to Dallas?

  • The Psychological Sciences program is a part of the School of Behavioral and Brain Sciences, a highly interdisciplinary school with interests across psychology, neuroscience, and communication sciences.
  • Faculty members within the school are affiliated with several active research centers that also include a significant outreach component, including the Center for Children and Families ( and the Callier Center for Communication Disorders (
  • Graduate students typically receive funding for five years of study, including tuition waivers and stipends. Additional funds and scholarships are available to support travel to conferences, research funds, and other professional development needs.
  • Dallas is a richly diverse American city ‐ a melting pot of cultures and lifestyles. The Dallas‐ Worth metropolitan area is the 4th largest in the country. The Dallas area boasts 50,000 acres of public park land, the nation’s largest urban arts district with excellent symphony, opera, and art museums, 5 major sports franchises, multiple entertainment districts, and a thriving culinary scene. The area offers a reasonable cost of living and an abundance of sunshine.


Prospective students are encouraged to contact faculty members of interest. But for more general information about the program, please go to:

Or contact Jasmin Stubblefield, Academic Support Coordinator at

Applications are due December 1st.