Life Program

The Life Course: Evolutionary and Ontogenetic Dynamics (LIFE) is a joint international PhD Program of the Max Planck Institute for Human Development, the Freie Universität Berlin, the Humboldt-Universität of Berlin, the University of Michigan, the University of Virginia, and the University of Zurich.


The UM program recruits doctoral students from one of the Program Areas in the Department of Psychology who are interested in a life course /life span perspective in human behavior and have achieved candidacy status. As an international and interdisciplinary program, LIFE offers students unique training in the dynamics of human behavior in different substantive areas of psychological science and on different time scales. UM-LIFE membership also provides opportunities for short research stays at a cooperating institution. The program involves students at U-M, the University of Virginia, the University of Zurich, and the Max Planck Institute for Human Development, Humboldt University, the Free University of Berlin. For U-M students, participation involves in registration in four semesters of our UM LIFE seminar, attending four one-week academies over the course of two years (hosted by each of the cooperating institutions), poster and paper presentations of their own research projects at these academies, participation in virtual seminars hosted by other institutions, and developing collaborative research projects with LIFE network members.