All students in the CDPP must take three written field exams. Two of the exams (the General Psychology exam and the Clinical Developmental Psychology exam) require synthesis of material from coursework taken in the first two years of the program. Students are expected to show broad knowledge of developmental psychology, developmental psychopathology, and psychological assessment and to be able to draw on basic psychology content and methods, as covered in courses, to illuminate these three major areas.
The Major Area Paper is the final part of the Field Exams and is a literature review in the students’ area of research interest. This requirement provides a structure whereby students will be thinking about their dissertation research as soon as they have finished their M.A. degree. Although the Major Area Paper is not a dissertation proposal, it serves the function of reviewing the literature regarding a major issue in the area in which the student intends to work for the dissertation, and thus is an important springboard for the dissertation proposal itself.
"The route through childhood is shaped by many forces, and it differs for each of us. Our biological inheritance, the temperament with which we are born, the care we receive, our family relationships, the place where we grow up, the schools we attend, the culture in which we participate, and the historical period in which we live — all these affect the paths we take through childhood and condition the remainder of our lives."