Child Development Program Overview

Through innovative research programs and high quality education for students, child development faculty are creating new knowledge and training the next generation of scholars and practitioners.
Faculty in child development focus on generating knowledge related to the behavioral, psychological, biological, and contextual processes that promote positive developmental outcomes in children. We are engaged in the creation of new knowledge about development that drives innovative theoretical perspectives and informs practice and scholarship in support of optimal development. Our efforts as scholars and as educators are built around two core principles:

  1. Multiple contexts shape development, including family, school, community, culture, and biology.
  2. The empirically-based application of research to real-world problems is essential in promoting the well-being of children and families.

Doctorate in HDFS with a Concentration in Child Development

Students earning a doctorate in Child Development complete a rigorous set of experiences in preparation for a research career in a university academic environment, research organization, or similar settings. At the doctoral level, students implement independent programs of research with guidance from their faculty mentor(s).

Master’s Degree in Child Development, Plan A Research/Thesis

Students complete a 30-credit master’s in child development with an emphasis on continued study in the doctoral program. Preparation focuses on the deepening of content knowledge, developing methodological and statistical skills, and building translational research skills in addition to gaining research experience with their faculty mentor(s).

Master’s Degree in Child Development, Plan B Professional/Non-Thesis

Professional Focus Students complete a 32 credit master’s in child development focusing on: 1.) evidence-based practice, including program evaluation, assessment of development and learning, and early childhood curriculum planning and implementation for infants, toddlers and preschoolers, and curricular adaptations to meet the needs of diverse children and families; 2.) the supervision and professional development of early childhood practitioners; and 3.) the role of family in early education and development.