Masters in child development online programs focus on different areas such as prevention, intervention, early childhood development, family processes, development across the lifespan, and so on. This program will help students apply theory to practice and help them solve real-world problems. Students can pursue this degree in either offline or online mode. Those opting for an offline mode will have to complete more credits whereas students who choose the online mode will have lesser credits to complete for their coursework. That said, an online child development degree typically requires between 30 to 48 credits. Through this program, students can further pursue their Ph.D. in areas related to children, development, and families.
Masters in Child Development Degree Types
There are two types of masters in child development online degrees. One is the Master of Science in Child development or MS in Child Development and the other is the Master of Arts in Child Development or MA in Child Development.
Master of Science in Child Development
The MS program in child development has a scientific approach that focuses on developing problem-solving and analytical skills through scientific research.
Master of Arts in Child Development
The MA program in child development is focused on humanities and liberal arts. It typically requires students to complete a research project in the final year of their master’s
Discover more on MA vs. MS degree types.
Specializations in Masters in Child Development Programs
Students who wish to broaden their knowledge and go deeper into a specific area within child development can choose a specialization in that area. Specializing can enhance their industry expertise and have a better impact on their career prospects. Here are some of the masters in child development online specializations:
- Applied Child and Adolescent Development – This specialization equips students with the knowledge of developmental science to address the needs of adolescents and children in the community, health care settings, and advocacy. Graduates can work in different positions such as counselors, college professors, social workers, and many more.
- Child Life – Students are trained to cope with the stress and uncertainty of disability, illness, hospitalization, and injury. Child Life Specialists work mainly in hospitals but also in other places such as school camps, dental offices, clinics, hospices, and so on.
- Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health – This specialization teaches students to draw on development theory and support the socio-emotional development of preschoolers, infants, and toddlers. Infant and Childhood mental health professionals can work in fields such as psychology, social work, early-care education, family and marriage counseling, and so on.
- Developmental Psychology – Developmental Psychology strengthens students’ foundation in psychology from the period of infancy through adolescence. Developmental Psychologists work in various settings such as schools, healthcare facilities, academia, and government agencies.
- Intervention Strategies – Students learn about traditional and contemporary intervention strategies used in the child development field. After graduating, students can work in various settings such as schools, infant care centers, etc.
- Counseling – The specialization in counseling helps students with group structures, family dynamics, mental health within families, and cultural issues. Graduates can work in careers such as adolescence, school, and child counselors.
Curriculum and Skills Gained in Masters in Child Development Online Programs
The masters in child development online is a combination of practical fieldwork and primary theoretical perspectives that prepare the student to support the developmental needs of children and their families. This program places its emphasis on various topics in child development such as risk and resilience, intervention, early childhood development, parent-child intergenerational relationships, prevention, development across the lifespan, socio-emotional and behavior support in educational settings, enhancing-school readiness, atypical development, and influences of language and culture.
There are certain courses that students will have to take while studying child development. Some of the core courses are:
- Human development and theories
- Research Methods
- Family Processes and theories
- Program development and proposal writing
- Applications for prevention and intervention
- Analytical Methods
- Cognition and language development
- Seminar in Social development and Resiliency
- Graduate Fieldwork
- Advances developmental science
Students will have to choose an elective in consultation with their graduate advisor. Individuals can choose their electives aligning with their interests and future professional goals. In the final year of their master’s, they will have to either complete a research project or a capstone project, depending on the coursework requirement. At the end of the program, students gain some essential skills preparing them for their careers in child development.
Upon graduating from this program, some of the skills the students will gain are the ability to:
- Critique and evaluate research and theories of families and human development.
- Apply research and theory to intervention, promotion, education, and application of equity frameworks and social justice to the understanding of family and child development.
- Use the knowledge of developmental theory to describe human development across the lifespan.
- Put theory into practice by gaining field experience and strategies to work with children.
- Promote awareness of the various needs of families and children to stakeholders at the state, local, and national levels.
Accreditation for Masters in Child Development Online Programs
To maintain the standards of educational quality, institutions of higher education go through an evaluation process known as accreditation. Accreditation also shows that universities or colleges in the United States meet certain basic educational standards. Several universities offer masters in child development online accredited programs that may be either programmatically accredited or regionally accredited. Where programmatic accreditation is unavailable, regional accreditation from the following accrediting bodies will suffice:
- New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC)
- Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE)
- Higher Learning Commission (HLC)
- Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC)
- Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU)
- Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC)
Find out how and why accreditation is a very important aspect of higher education from the Accreditation Guide.
Timeline for graduation from Masters in Child Development Online Programs
The length of the master’s in child development online program depends on the program’s structure and selection. This program is offered both full-time and part-time.
- Full-Time– Students who have recently finished their bachelor’s degrees and want to study before entering the workforce usually choose a full-time program. Full-time programs require students to allocate most of their time for classes and a specific number of credit hours. Individuals pursuing the program on a full-time basis must complete it in two years. A full-time master’s program can have anywhere between 30 to 48 credits.
- Part-time– This master’s delivery program mode is flexible and best suited for students who have full-time jobs. They can study at their own pace and complete their masters anywhere between 3 to 5 years.
Masters in Child Development Online Programs Admission Requirements
To get admitted into a master’s program, students must meet certain admission requirements. While some of them are common requirements like test scores and a bachelor’s degree, each program has its own specific requirements. Here are some of the requirements for the masters in child development online program:
- A bachelor’s degree in child development or any related academic field from a fully accredited college or university
- Minimum Grade Point Average (GPA) of 3.0 in the last 60 semester units
- At least 2 Letters of Recommendation (varies by school)
- Statement of Purpose or Personal Statement
- Graduate Résumé
- GRE Scores (Varies by Institution)
- Completion of the department application form and all supplementary documents
In some universities, students who do not hold a bachelor’s degree in child development or any related field must complete a prerequisite program before they are admitted into the master’s program in child development.