Clinical Developmental Psychology

graphic representing Clinical Developmental Psychology

The Clinical Developmental (CD) Area offers opportunities to engage in research spanning infancy through to emerging adulthood related to clinically-relevant topics in typical and atypical development, psychosocial development, neuropsychology, therapy outcomes, and program evaluation.

Research areas covered by area faculty include: topics defined by age and stage of development (e.g. infancy, adolescence, and emerging adulthood), clinical psychopathology and treatment approach (e.g. trauma therapy, pain assessment, parenting, CBT, attachment disorders, IBI), pediatric neuropsychology, professional function (neuropsychological assessment, expert witness issues, program evaluation), and diagnostic population (e.g. autism, ADHD, developmental disabilities and learning disabilities).

Our faculty members in this area are all registered psychologists. Most members are active clinically—providing supervision, consultation, program evaluation, and outcome research in various community settings in addition to conducting collaborative grant-supported research.

In addition to obtaining rigorous research training, students are expected to obtain core competencies in the scope of practice of clinical psychology as applied to children and adolescents. This includes coursework and practical training (mainly in external practica) in psychological assessment and diagnosis of children and adolescents (including various types of internalizing disorders, externalizing disorders and developmental disorders), as well as, a variety of evidence-based modalities of child, adolescent, and/or family intervention.

Students who are interested in specialized training in clinical neuropsychology can apply to the Clinical Neuropsychology stream after being admitted to the Clinical-Developmental area.

Students are of high calibre academically, as noted earlier in terms of credentials on entry to the program, and as demonstrated by high numbers of external scholarships, conference presentations, and publications during graduate school.

For more information about the Clinical-Developmental area, please contact the Director of Clinical Training Dr. Mary Desrocher. For admissions queries, please email

To apply online, please visit How to Apply.

Please click on the Faculty Profiles tab below (under the Additional Program Information heading) to see which faculty are taking students.



Our Graduate Program in Clinical Developmental Psychology is accredited by the Canadian Psychological Association (CPA). Our last accreditation review occurred in 2017. As a result, we are now accredited until 2023 (6 years). Our program is not accredited by the American Psychological Association (APA). APA is in the process of phasing out its accreditation of all non-American programs—including those at Canadian universities. No Canadian programs will be accredited by APA beyond 2015. Also, please note that a programme must be accredited at the time the student completes the program in order for the student to be able to declare that he/she graduated from an accredited program. If you have any questions or concerns about the accreditation status of our program, please contact the Director of Clinical Training Dr. Mary Desrocher.

Address for the CPA Committee on Accreditation

Dr. Stewart Madon
Registrar, Accreditation Panel
Canadian Psychological Association, Accreditation Office
141 Laurier Ave. W., Suite 702
Ottawa, Ontario K1P 5J3

Tel: 1-888-472-0657 (ext. 328 for administrative assistant)
Website: Canadian Psychological Association

Additional Program Information

Area Background and Mission Statement


York University’s Clinical Developmental Psychology Program is one of seven areas of specialization in Canada’s largest graduate program in psychology. The Clinical Developmental Psychology Program is accredited by the Canadian Psychological Association (CPA; date of last accreditation was 2009). The main objective of the Program is to train graduate students to meet the requirements for registration as psychologists and to work as psychologists in clinical, school, academic, and research positions. The goal of the Program is to train skilled and ethical professionals who demonstrate competence in the areas of interpersonal relationships, assessment and evaluation, intervention and consultation, and research. Students are trained to conceptualize disorders of childhood and adolescence from both clinical and developmental perspectives.

Mission Statement

The mission of the Clinical Developmental Psychology Program is to prepare graduate students for professional practice as clinical psychologists in community, hospital, academic, and research settings. Following a training philosophy based in the scientist-practitioner model, the research, teaching, and clinical components of the program incorporate theoretical, empirical, and applied knowledge and skills. In adhering to the highest standards of professionalism, graduates of the Program are trained to help children, adolescents, and their families who are in need of various psychological services.

Program Highlights

  • Scientist-practitioner based training in clinical psychology, designed to meet the rigorous accreditation standards set by the Canadian Psychological Association
  • Opportunities to be involved in cutting-edge research through conducting and publishing independent and collaborative studies
  • Opportunities for interdisciplinary research training across seven areas of specialization in psychology
  • Exposure to teaching and supervision by distinguished faculty committed to the pursuit of excellence in research and student development
  • Clinical training opportunities in the newly opened, state-of-the-art clinic integrated into the Program
  • Access to diverse practicum placements in prominent community mental health agencies, renowned hospitals, and school boards across the Greater Toronto Area

Faculty Profiles

Faculty MemberResearch InterestOther Affiliations
James M. Bebko
(PhD York University)

Cognitive and attention skills in children with autism, developmental disabilities and children who are deaf. Roles of metacognition (awareness of self) and language proficiency (e.g., English or signed systems) in the cognitive development of these groups. Early identification; assessment methods; intervention effectiveness.

Taking graduate students 2021?: No
Brain, Behaviour and Cognitive Science,
Developmental Science
Yvonne Bohr
(BSc, Ed.D. Toronto)

Infants, children and families at risk. Cognitively based interventions at the interface between attachment and parental attributions. Cross-cultural parenting. Cognitivebehavioural interventions for children. Children with special needs.

Taking graduate students 2021?: No
Jennifer Connolly
(PhD Concordia)

Peer and romantic relationships in adolescence. Romance and sexuality in early adolescence; intimacy and autonomy development in adolescence romantic relationships; dating violence; school-based prevention of dating violence; peer and media influences on dating violence.

Taking graduate students 2021?:No
Mary Desrocher
(PhD Toronto)

Neuropsychology. Cognitive, behavioural, and emotional functioning of children with diabetes and epilepsy. Spatial and working memory. Fetal alcohol spectrum disorders and congenital hypothyroidism.

Taking graduate students 2021?: No
Clinical Neuropsychology,
Developmental Science
Timothy Moore
(Chair/Professor Department of Psychology, Glendon College

Forensic Psychology, especially issues pertaining to child witnesses, memory, language comprehension, suggestibility, police investigative practices, and interrogations.

Clinical Developmental Psychology
Robert T. Muller
(PhD Michigan State)

Child and adult survivors of abuse; effective models for the treatment of psychological trauma; understanding child and adult attachments to help guide appropriate interventions; the role of social support in recovery from abuse.

Taking graduate students 2021?: Yes
Clinical Developmental Psychology
Debra Pepler
(PhD Waterloo)

Children in families at risk; peer relations of aggressive children; bullying and victimization in childhood and adolescence; girls' aggression; prevention and intervention.

Taking graduate students 2021?: No
Developmental Science
Adrienne Perry
(PhD York)
Graduate Program Director

Assessment/diagnosis of autism and developmental disabilities, evaluation of the effectiveness of interventions (including especially intensive behavioural intervention), and the positive and negative impacts on families in terms of stress and coping (parents and siblings).

Taking graduate students 2021?: Yes (Maybe)
Developmental Science
Rebecca Pillai Riddell
(PhD University of British Columbia)

Understanding how young child and parents interact in painful situations; infant and preschool negative affect regulation, academic performance and social-emotional well-being.

Taking graduate students 2021?: Yes
Developmental Science
Jennine S. Rawana
(PhD Lakehead University)

Broadly adolescent health promotion and risk reduction; major depression in adolescents; emergence of seasonal depression in adolescents, cognitive vulnerability to depression, relationship between mood and risk behaviours, developing and evaluating strength-based prevention programs for Aboriginal youth.

Taking graduate students 2021?: No
Christine Till
(PhD University of Toronto)

Clinical neuropsychology, impact of neurodegenerative disease on neuropsychologic function (multiple sclerosis, Huntington disease), children's environmental health (impact of early exposure to chemicals on child development), and cognitive rehabilitation.

Taking graduate students 2021?: Yes
Clinical Neuropsychology
Maggie Toplak
(PhD OISE/University of Toronto)

Assessment, diagnosis and treatment of attention and learning disorders in children and adolescents; understanding how cognitive and affective processes develop in clinical and healthy populations; dual process models of human reasoning in clinical and healthy populations.

Taking graduate students 2021?: Yes
Developmental Science
Jonathan Weiss
(PhD York University)

Prevention and treatment of mental health problems in people with autism spectrum disorders and/or intellectual disabilities across the lifespan. Experience of family caregivers. Mental health services for people with developmental disabilities. Program development and evaluation, the impact of Special Olympics on the psychological well-being of participants, and of cognitive-behavioural and social skill interventions.

Taking graduate students 2021?: No
Maxine Gallander Wintre
(PhD York Univeresity)

Social & emotional development, including gender differences & immigrant/generational status. Currently investigating transitions of emerging adults (e.g. transition to university, domestic and international students, the army, etc). Also interested in developmental changes (from preschoolers to young adults) in social relations, consultant choices, social support, social participation skills & emotion cognition.

Taking graduate students 2021?: Retired
Developmental Science
Magdalena Wojtowicz
(PhD Dalhousie University)

The overall objective of my research program is to improve our understanding of cognitive dysfunction, psychological functioning, as well as mechanisms of compensation and recovery, in patients suffering from neurological disorders.

My current research efforts are focused on mild traumatic brain injury and sport-related concussion in civilians, service members and veterans, as well as student and professional athletes. I am pursuing projects focused on 1) understanding how pre-morbid factors influence concussion risk and recovery, and (2) examining potential long-term consequences of multiple concussions and exposure to repetitive head trauma over the lifespan.

Taking graduate students 2021?: Yes
Clinical Neuropsychology

Faculty MemberPrimary AffiliationResearch Interest
John Eastwood
(PhD Waterloo)

ClinicalExplores how the emotional state of an observer, and also the emotional significance of environmental information, influences the deployment of attention. Exploring the experience of boredom, and individual differences that impact on susceptibility to boredom. Focused on gaining a better understanding of basic psychological processes, as well as examining issues that relate more specifically to clinical psychology.
Joel Katz
(PhD McGill)
(Canada Research Chair)

ClinicalPsychological, emotional, and biomedical factors involved in acute and chronic pain with a particular emphasis on (1) understanding the psychological and physiological processes and mechanisms involved in the transition of acute, time-limited pain to chronic, pathological pain; (2) identifying factors involved in the establishment and reactivation of pain memories after amputation (phantom limb pain) and other traumatic events; (3) pre-emptive analgesia and other preventive pharmacological interventions designed to minimize acute post-operative pain and to elucidate the mechanisms involved in post-operative sensitization; (4) developing pharmacological and nonpharmacological interventions to minimize pain and stress in hospitalized infants; and (5) gender differences in acute post-operative pain and analgesic consumption.
Gerald Young
(PhD Montreal)
Developmental ScienceLifespan developmental theory, including cognitive-affective stages. Pain, posttraumatic stress disorder, and traumatic brain injury - causality considerations. The development of manual lateralization/hemispheric specialization.
Fredric Weizmann
(PhD Ohio State)
(Professor Emeritus)

Historical, Theoretical and Critical Studies of PsychologyHistory of child development and psychology, including the influence of eugenics and ideas of race. Normal and atypical development and the influence of evolutionary theory and biology on psychological models of development. Personality theory and its history. The conceptual and historical basis of classification and classificatory systems.

Helpful Resources

Useful Internal Websites

  • Practicum Website - Find useful information about practicum sites and how to apply for your assessment and intervention practica.
  • York University Psychology Clinic (YUPC) - YUPC is a new, state-of-the art community mental health and training centre associated with the Department of Psychology in the Faculty of Health at York University. The clinic provides a range of leading edge, effective mental health services to keep people of all ages living healthy, productive lives.
  • York Libraries
  • Psychology Graduate Student Association - All graduate students in the department of psychology are automatically members of the PGSA.
  • Institute for Social Research - Information on stats consulting, stats courses, and other research courses offered at York. The Institute for Social Research houses the largest university-based survey research centre in Canada. We provide expert consulting in social statistics, teach a range of short courses on statistics and social research, and operate York's Research Data Centre.

Pre-Doctoral Internship Resources

  • Association of Psychology Postdoctoral and Internship Centers - APPIC has organized and coordinated the internship matching process since 1968 by organizing and identifying quality internship.
  • Time2Track - Time2Track is a web-based solution developed to help psychology graduate students track clinical training experiences for practica, internship, and licensure.

Professional Associations

How to Apply to the Clinical Development Area

Applicants who wish to be considered for admission to the CD Area must specify “Clinical Developmental” as their primary area of interest. Other areas in the Department of Psychology (e.g. Clinical) can be specified as a secondary area of interest. However, an applicant's file is not automatically forwarded to another area, unless arranged by the applicant or the file is forwarded by the CD area. Once admitted, shifting from one area to another is not normally permitted. Review our Tips to Improve Your Application (below). Students who are interested in specialized training in clinical neuropsychology can apply to the Clinical Neuropsychology stream after being admitted to the CD area.

If you have questions regarding the application process, please contact the Graduate Psychology Program at If you have questions regarding the CD Area, please contact Dr. Mary Desrocher, Director of Clinical Training.

Admission Requirements for students applying for a Masters of Arts (MA)

Applicants are expected to have achieved a minimum A- grade point average (GPA) in the last two years of a four-year undergraduate honours degree (or equivalent) in Psychology. Applicants with an average that is lower than an A- may still apply; however, an explanation for why the average is low should be provided in the Statement of Interest.

Applicants to the Clinical Developmental (CD) Area are expected to have a general background and knowledge in core content areas of psychology. Applicants should have taken at least:

  1. One full-course in Introductory Psychology;
  2. One full-course in Research Design and Statistical Analysis; and,
  3. The equivalent of six other full-courses in psychology that cover the following core areas:
    * biological bases of behaviour (e.g. physiological psychology, neuropsychology, sensation, psychopharmacology, health psychology)
    * cognitive-affective bases of behaviour (e.g. learning, memory, perception, cognition, emotion)
    * social bases of behaviour (e.g. social psychology, cultural, ethnic and group processes, sex roles, organizational and systems theory)
    * individual behaviour (e.g. personality theory, human development, individual differences, abnormal psychology)

Applicants with insufficient breadth from their undergraduate training may be asked to demonstrate competence in these major areas of psychology by enrolling in undergraduate courses before beginning the graduate program.

In addition to meeting the graduate admission requirements, a student can only be admitted if there is a faculty member available and interested in serving as the applicant’s supervisor. For this reason, applicants are strongly encouraged to determine whether a faculty member with compatible research interests is available for supervision.

Students who plan to limit their studies to the Masters of Arts (MA) degree in the CD Area are discouraged from applying to the program. MA students in our graduate program are expected to proceed to and complete the requirements for the PhD degree. However, students completing their MA at York are not automatically accepted into the PhD program; they must make a formal, but internal, application for advancement into the PhD program.

Admission Requirements for students applying for a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Admission to the CD area is generally at the MA level, unless the applicant is from another CPA/APA-accredited clinical graduate program. In this circumstance, the applicant may be considered for admission to the PhD level. GRE scores are not required for those applying to the PhD program in psychology. Students with a Master’s degree from a non-accredited graduate program (e.g. Experimental Psychology) will be considered for MA-level entry to the CD area. These students will be expected to complete an MA thesis and the core CD area courses to obtain an MA degree at York University, prior to entry into the PhD program. Students with a former Master’s degree may be exempt from some courses (e.g. statistics) if they declare competence in a particular area from a previous graduate course taken.

Submitting your Application

To apply online, please visit How to Apply.

Clinical Development Area Application Checklist

Make sure you have the following information ready when applying:

  1. Letters of Recommendation. A minimum of two letters of recommendation are required, but an additional third letter is preferred. It is ideal if one of these is from a research/academic reference and the other from a clinical supervisor familiar with your abilities. A third reference letter from either a research/academic or clinical supervisor may also be submitted. Academic references are very important, and having one strong clinical reference that attests to your professionalism and interpersonal skill can be advantageous. Letters of Recommendation may be completed online by your referees once you have submitted your application, as Graduate Admissions prefers all references to be done online.
  2. Non-refundable application fee (paid online) OR Credit Card information submitted with application. If you do not have a credit card and/or cannot apply online, you can request a hard-copy application form by calling 416-736-5000.
  3. Unofficial copies of transcripts from each post-secondary institution attended.  When applying, unofficial transcripts are acceptable.   If you are made an Offer of Admission, you will be required to provide official transcripts as a condition of admission.   Transcripts are considered official when sent directly from the issuing institution(s) in unopened, sealed envelopes. In some instances, the issuing institution(s) may mail the transcripts to you in unopened, sealed envelopes to submit.
  4. Official Degree Certificate in countries where Degree Certificates are issued separately (i.e. Bangladesh, China, India, Iran, Pakistan etc.). Official copies MUST be submitted. Applicants should check International Credentials on the following website:
  5. A Statement of Interest. The Statement of Interest is an important part of the application. It should contain information about your past clinical and research experience, why you want to attend our Clinical-Developmental Area graduate program, your research interests, at least one faculty member whom you are interested in working with and why, and your career plans following graduate school. It is strongly recommended that you contact potential faculty members to see if they are available to supervise a graduate student prior to listing them as a potential supervisor in your Statement of Interest. See our Faculty Directory to learn more about faculty members’ research interests.
  6. Curriculum Vitae. Make sure to indicate your educational and relevant employment history, any honours or scholarships you have received, any posters or publications you have been involved in, information regarding your honours thesis, and referees. We recommend that you take a look at samples of how academic curriculum vitaes are organized to format your CV effectively. At the same time, there is no one specific format required.
  7. Graduate Record Exam scores. All applicants to the Master’s Program in Psychology are required to arrange to have official scores submitted for the GRE General Test and GRE Psychology Subject Test. It is the responsibility of the applicant to schedule the examinations and request that a copy of the results be forwarded to the Graduate Admissions Office, York University. This should be done as soon as possible so that the results will be available near the closing date for applications. Our school code is 0894, York University and department name is Psychology. We do not set a minimum test score. Please use the exact same name on your GRE scores as the name on your application. Only one set of scores is required regardless of your first and second choices. More information about the GRE.
  8. Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) score, if English was not the language of instruction for your undergraduate degree. Applicants are required to provide proof of language proficiency if their first language is not English or they have not completed at least one year of full-time study at an accredited university in a country (or institution) where English is the official language of instruction. York reserves the right to request a successful English language proficiency test result.

The university's Admissions Department also has some additional useful information and a timeline to getting ready to apply (this information is not specific to CD Area).

Submitting your Application

All application documents should be sent to the Graduate Admissions and Records Office. If your application package does not contain all required documents, your file may not get to the Psychology department. As a result, a review of your application by the professor you are interested in working with may be delayed.

Tips to Improve your Application to the Clinical Development Area

The Department receives anywhere between 120-150 applications for admission to the CD area each year; approximately 8 students may be admitted per year. Preference is given to applicants with strong academic backgrounds who appear promising as researchers and as scientist-practitioners. Here are some common elements of successful applicants:

  1. They have applied for or have a history of external scholarship funding. We strongly recommend that you apply for external scholarship funding (e.g., Ontario Graduate Scholarship and one of the Tri-Council funding agencies [CIHR, SSHRC, NSERC]) before starting graduate school, even though you may not know what you will be doing for your Master’s research. Make sure to mention any submitted funding applications in your Statement of Interest!
  2. They have contacted faculty members before applying. Let faculty members know you intend on applying, and why you think you are a good fit to work with them in their program of research. Faculty members may not respond – however even knowing you are applying can help them keep an eye out for your application.
  3. They specify whom they wish to work with. It is certainly acceptable to mention a number of faculty members (not just one), as this will increase your likelihood of being reviewed by a faculty member who will be taking a new graduate student (not every faculty member takes on a student every year). At the same time, being too broad in your research interests and in the number of faculty members whom you wish to work with makes it difficult for the review committee to know whom to direct your application to.
  4. Prior experience is an asset. Students have a history of presenting or publishing research during their undergraduate program/years, have high grades and GRE scores, and have clinical and research experience that is linked to the field of research of their potential supervisor. They often volunteer in research labs beyond what is required in doing an undergraduate thesis, and have life experiences that demonstrate maturity, interpersonal competence, initiative, and responsibility.
  5. Students have excellent letters of references. We recommend obtaining three letters of reference if possible. It is important that the referees know you well enough to answer the questions in the referral form. As a general rule however, two strong references are better than three mediocre references. Referees can be from research or clinical fields, and a mix of both can be helpful. You should definitely include your undergraduate thesis supervisor as a reference.