Come and join us: Learn, discover, and have fun at the same time!

The DEL (Development, Education, and Learning) Lab led by Dr. Lei Yuan at the University of Colorado Boulder is looking forward to having one or two graduate students join our team starting Fall 2023. Our lab combines large-scale cross-sectional and longitudinal studies with multi-session training experiments, computational modeling, high temporal resolution behavioral data collection, and translational research in schools. Our goal is to characterize the structure of the input data in children’s early learning environment, the processes and mechanisms through which children attend to, represent, and learn from this data, how this learning creates hidden deficits or competencies in children’s cognitive system, and how those changes do or do not prepare children for learning from formal instruction in schools. To learn more about our research, please visit our lab website:

Our graduate students' training focuses on building strong theoretical foundations, mastering technical and professional skills, and pushing innovation and out-of-the-box thinking. Students will gain specific technical skills such as naturalist data collection, head-mounted eye-trackers, machine learning, time sequence data analysis, experimental design, data collection in the lab and in the wild (e.g., schools, museums). The training will also focus on areas such as reproducible science best practices, data analysis and manuscript preparation with R, presentation skills, team science, developing healthy and productive writing practices. Students will develop strong presentation and writing skills through formal courses, departmental and lab meetings, and individual meetings with the PI. The students will develop an Individual Development Plan (IDP) with the PI, jointly reviewing it, tracking progress, and adjusting as needed, to maximize the success of their Ph.D. training and job market outlooks afterward. 

These students will also join a cohort of highly interdisciplinary researchers through the Institute of Cognitive Science at CU Boulder, spanning fields such as Artificial Intelligence, Linguistics, Psychology, Neuroscience, Computer Science, Philosophy, and Education. There are abundant opportunities for cross-disciplinary training and collaborative research. Boulder is consistently ranked as one of the best places to live in the United States ( We work hard but we also strike a balance between work and life!

How to apply

Learn more about the Ph.D. program at the Department of Psychology and Neuroscience at CU Boulder and how to apply here:

The deadline is Dec 1st!!!  

Important note:

If you want to stand out from the applicant pool and get under my radar first, I highly recommend you:

Read closely about our research and publications on our lab website and identify common research interests between you and the lab. Write a 2-3 page research statement about how you think that you can further develop these research interests, theoretical questions that you want to address, and specific proposals for potential studies or follow-up studies. Please make sure to include your CV and reference the specific skill sets and/or theoretical innovations that you can bring to the lab. I will NOT meet with anyone (prior to the official application interviews) unless I receive these materials.