Undergraduate Students

Each semester, undergraduate students have the opportunity to earn academic credit working in our lab. This is an opportunity to learn about research firsthand. Students gather data, code behaviors, and analyze results in our on-going research. Advanced students may have the opportunity to do a distinguished majors project.

recruiting event

As an undergraduate research student, you may expect:

  • Ten hours per week of work in the Lab. This commitment includes time spent recruiting families, working with child research participants, coding videos, and attending lab meetings. Students may repeat the course over several semesters for additional experience and credit.
  • A monthly meeting with the Early Development Lab team. Our monthly meetings are a chance to get to know others in the Lab and exchange notes on our individual progress. We gain an understanding of how each person's work fits into the overall project and have a chance to raise specific questions about our work. We also talk about practical aspects of research design in developmental psychology.
  • Work with advanced graduate students. Each research project in the Lab is primarily identified with one of the graduate students. Over the course of the semester, undergraduate assistants will have the opportunity to work closely with one student and also to have an overview of all the research projects associated with the Early Development Lab.
  • Experience with one or more behavioral coding schemes. We videotape short experimental sessions with our participants, then code for specific behaviors of interest. Each student becomes a specialist in at least one coding scheme and is exposed to several others over the course of a semester.

We are no longer accepting applications for Fall 2021. Please reach out in the middle of the fall if you are interested in joining us for Spring 2022. Questions? Reach out to our lab coordinator (

Prospective Graduate Students

If you are interested in coming to the University of Virginia for graduate school, please review the laboratory's current research interests and those of others in the department to be sure that you think it is a good fit with your interests. 

The program includes 2 years of semi-structured coursework, a second-year project that is the equivalent of a Master's thesis, and an expectation of participation in research and publication throughout 4 to 6 years of graduate work. Every area in the department has a weekly research-oriented brown-bag lunch, and most labs have active laboratory meetings. The Department has great strengths in Developmental Psychology in all areas, leading to its consistently high rankings in surveys of Developmental PhD programs. 

The University of Virginia guarantees several years of funding for students who work 10-12 hours a week teaching. It is recommended that all students teach for 4 semesters, for experience. 

For further information, please visit the Developmental Psychology website or contact Dr. Lillard directly. Please note, Dr. Lillard does not anticipate accepting graduate students for Fall 2020 or Fall 2021.