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.
"Surface analogies are seen by the common mind, and need no effort of construction; but the hidden properties, the relations which spread wide out through nature and art-these are discovered only when the veils that conceal them are pierced by the power of constructive thought."
James Mark Baldwin, Handbook of Psychology: Senses and Intellect, 1889, p. 231