Adult Development & Aging Ph.D.


Doctor of Philosophy Program

Program Overview

The Ph.D. program in Adult Development and Aging is offered jointly with the University of Akron's Department of Psychology. Drawing on the resources of both universities, the program prepares students for careers as researchers and scholars in a variety of settings, including higher education, medical centers, government agencies, and research institutes.

Students are trained as researchers who have expertise in social, cognitive, and behavioral aspects of adulthood and aging, and who convey existing knowledge through teaching.

Students also generate new knowledge through basic and applied research and become involved with communities in addressing social issues related to aging. The program gives students the opportunity to work with multiple faculty across two different universities, offering broad exposure to the ever-growing areas of basic and applied aging research.


Program Requirements

The joint doctoral program in Adult Development and Aging at Cleveland State University and The University of Akron requires that students complete approximately complete equal amounts of coursework at each institution. The coursework covers the areas of research methods/design, foundation courses in adult biobehavioral functioning, adult psychosocial functioning, and advanced research seminars. A degree will be awarded to a student who, besides fulfilling the general requirements, has met the following specific requirements:

  • a minimum of 96 semester hours of study, including a Masters Thesis;
  • completion of Ph.D. core courses. Core courses are specified in the ADA Graduate Student Handbook. The student is required to maintain at least a 3.5 GPA in all courses;
  • completion of additional required and elective courses to be planned in conjunction with the student’s faculty advisor and subject to approval by the ADA committee;
  • satisfactory performance on the doctoral written and oral comprehensive examinations (refer to the ADA Graduate Student Handbook);
  • completion of a minimum of 12 dissertation credits;
  • satisfactory completion of a dissertation defense;
  • complete and fulfill general doctoral degree requirements of the Graduate College


Students will be required to take courses at both Cleveland State University and The University of Akron. Enrollment in and successful completion of the following courses will be required:

Cleveland State University Courses
  • Psychology of Adulthood and Aging
  • Mental Health and Aging
  • Health Psychology in Later Life
  • Sensorimotor Processes in Adulthood*
  • Cognitive Aging
University of Akron Courses  
  • Psychological Research Using Quantitative and Computer Methods (I and II)
  • Socioemotional Development in Later Life
  • Research Methods
  • Neuropsychology of Aging
  • Diversity Across the Lifespan*

*Either course is considered a required course (students do not need to take both)

Additional Courses
  • Graduate Seminar in Psychology: Additional Research Methods Courses (i.e., Multivariate Methods, Factor Analysis, Structural Equation Modeling)
  • Independent Reading and Research
  • Research and Thesis
  • Dissertation


Katherine Judge Program Director, Professor Dementia and Family Caregiving Research
Eric Allard Associate Professor and Interim Chair Aging, Cognition, and Emotion Laboratory (ACE Lab)
Conor McLennan Professor and Interim Associate Dean, College of Arts and Sciences Language Research Laboratory
University of Akron
Faculty Title Email Lab
Jennifer Tehan Stanley Associate Professor, Program Director Stanley Emotions and Aging Lab (SEAL)
Phil Allen Professor  
Toni Bisconti Associate Professor  
Harvey Sterns Professor  
Faculty Title Email Lab
Robert Hurley (Cleveland State University) Assistant Professor Neurocognitive Systems Laboratory
Kevin Kaut (University of Akron) Professor  
Olivia Pethtel (Cleveland State University) Assistant College Lecturer  
Amir Poreh (Cleveland State University) Professor Neuropsychology and Memory Assessment Laboratory
Andrew Slifkin (Cleveland State University) Associate Professor Action Laboratory
Albert F. Smith (Cleveland State University) Associate Professor  
Kenneth Vail (Cleveland State University)

Associate Professor

Social Psychology & Existential Attitudes Research (SPEAR) Lab


  • Research and dissertation opportunities aligned with faculty research interests
  • Opportunities for conference presentations/publications
  • Student funding (tuition waivers and assistantships for research and/or teaching)
  • Resources of Cleveland State University and The University of Akron
  • Affiliations with Cleveland-area medical and research institutions

Research Facilities

Faculty and students within the Adult Development and Aging Doctoral Program benefit from state of the art facilities located within the Union Building (Cleveland State) and Buchtel Hall (University of Akron). Close proximity between laboratories, faculty and student offices promote collaboration in research within each university. Faculty employ a wide range of research methods and technologies, allowing students to develop an optimal approach for their particular research questions.