These days, people who wish to go back to school are spoiled by choice. There are so many programs and so many schools! How do you know which one is right for you? The number of colleges with high-quality programs can often be overwhelming. We are here to help.
Are you thinking about going back to school for a master’s in child psychology? Psychology is currently one of the fastest-growing fields, and there are several different areas to study. Whether you want to attend classes in person or online, are looking for scholarships, or need to attend part-time, our list of child psychology graduate programs will have options that appeal to you.
Best Colleges for Child Psychology
|1||University of Minnesota||Minneapolis, Minnesota|
|2||University of Pennsylvania||Philadelphia, Pennsylvania|
|3||New York University||New York City, New York|
|4||University of South Florida||Tampa, Florida|
|5||University of Cincinnati||Cincinnati, Ohio|
The programs listed below all include an option for a Master’s in Child Psychology, also known as developmental psychology. If you need help finding which program is right for you, consult our list of the best colleges for child psychology below. You can also check out our child and adolescent psychology careers page.
University of Minnesota
At the University of Minnesota’s Institute for Child Development, students can earn degrees online or in person. Programs offered include M.Ed in Early Childhood Education and an online MA in Applied Child and Adolescent Development.
University of Pennsylvania
Located in thriving Philadelphia, the University of Pennsylvania offers students a chance to study in one of the leading institutes in Developmental Psychology. Nine faculty members alone are researching and teaching in this field.
New York University
New York University’s MA in Psychology allows students to pursue a number of paths through their studies, including social psychology and clinical psychology.
University of South Florida
Choose from any number of in-person or online programs when you apply to the University of South Florida. Students can earn a Master of Science degree fully online in Child & Adolescent Behavioral Health (CABH).
University of Cincinnati
The program at the University of Cincinnati offers a degree in School Psychology, with an emphasis on advocating for children. This program is regularly ranked as one of the top in the nation.
CUNY City College
CUNY City College offers a wide-ranging curriculum for prospective students to explore. Students can choose a thesis option (31 credits) or non-thesis (40 credits).
University of Connecticut
UConn boasts over 50 faculty in their psychology department. Students can earn a Masters degree in Educational Psychology with several different emphases to choose from. Concentrations include: Cognition, Instruction, and Teaching; School Psychology, and Special Education.
University of Washington
With a beautiful campus located in Seattle, the University of Washington offers a Master of Arts in Child & Adolescent Psychology: Prevention and treatment. Students are expected to earn 48 credit hours in order to graduate. One-time tuition scholarships available to those who qualify.
University of Maryland
At the University of Maryland, students will complete a 72-hour masters program to earn a degree in Developmental Psychology. Students spend the first two years completing coursework and a further two completing their field, taking elective courses to better fit their professional interests.
Situated in Nashville, Vanderbilt University offers an M.Ed. in Child Studies, overseen by the Department of Psychology and Human Development. The program requires 36 credit hours of study. There are two tracks — an Applied Professional Track, if you plan to work directly with children and families, and a Clinical and Developmental Research Track, if you plan to apply to a doctoral degree program later. Both tracks prepare you to work as a practitioner or researcher with expertise in skillfully applying developmental research to real-world problems.
University of Nebraska
This program offers both thesis and non-thesis options for students wanting to study developmental psychology. Course options include: Developmental Psychology, Cognitive Development, and Language Development.
University of North Carolina
This program is designed to be completed by full-time students over 2-3 years. Students begin in the fall of every year (no spring admissions). Students finish their degree by completing a thesis.
Chestnut Hill College
Chestnut Hill is a small school with a strong Masters program in Clinical and Counseling Psychology. The program requires 60 credit hours of study. Some students may receive graduate assistantships upon acceptance in order to defray costs.
Montclair State University
Students can earn an MA in Clinical Psychology with a concentration in Child/Adolescent Psychology in two years at Montclair State. Applicants must have earned a minimum 2.7 undergraduate GPA in order to apply.
Duquesne offers a MS Ed. degree in Child Psychology. Students can earn licensure through this program under the State of Pennsylvania. The university offers graduate assistantships and discounted tuition for active K-12 teachers.
Florida Atlantic University
The Department at FAU boasts over 95% placement of its MA graduates into Ph.D programs following graduation. The MA program is mentor-based, allowing for individualized attention for each student.
Texas Christian University
For potential students interested in the correlation between childhood and trauma, TCU has a program tailored for your interests. Their MS program in Developmental Trauma spans 36 credit hours. Campus located in bustling Fort Worth, Texas.
For those of you looking to further your education online, check out Northcentral University. 30 credit hours are required to graduate. Because of this, you can be finished with school in as little as 16 months! Admissions offered on rolling bases.
William Carey University
William Carey offers a Child and Adolescent Counseling Concentration in Counseling Psychology. This small college brings a quality graduate education combined with small student to teacher rations.
The Chicago School of Professional Psychology
The Chicago School of Professional Psychology is unique in that it offers an education to students across seven different campuses located across the United States. Earn a MA in Psychology with a Child and Adolescent Concentration all online! The best part is, you can be done in up to a year.
Arizona State University
Another online option for the busiest of us who cannot leave home or stop working. Featured courses include Quantitative Analysis and Research Methods. Concentrations include developmental psychology. Taught by leading faculty members.
This Masters program offers in-person and on-line options for all kinds of students. Curriculum ranges from 36-48 credit hours, depending on your concentration. Students admitted for both fall and spring terms.
University of Denver
University of Denver is home to several different programs, including Counseling Psychology, a Masters in School Psychology, and Early Childhood Special Education. This program lasts 47 credit hours. It can take as short as one year to complete.
The Liberty University Masters in Psychology offers flexibility for those wanting to earn their graduate degree online. Enrollment available for both fall and spring semesters. Students can even transfer up to 50% of their required credits into Liberty from another program. Classes are 100% online and last 8 weeks.
We do not use sponsored school rankings when preparing our lists. Those lists are always marked “Sponsored” so they can be clearly identified. Instead, our methodology took into account several factors, including tuition cost, total student enrollment, and application acceptance rank. Other factors, such as availability of departmental funding, accreditation, and placement were also considered when compiling this list. Throughout this process, we strive to be accurate and representative of the options available to students.
Why Get a Master’s Degree in Child Psychology?
It’s possible to embark on a career in psychology without an advanced degree, but there are distinct advantages to continuing your education. Earning a master’s degree in child psychology can help boost your knowledge and qualifications in the field, both of which can open doors to exciting and fulfilling career paths.
Psychologists work in a variety of industries, and many roles require students to have at least a master’s degree. If you hope to work as a school psychologist, for example, you will need to first complete a child psychology master’s program.
Students who pursue a master’s in child psychology have the opportunity to develop vital skills for their future careers. These include research, counseling, and assessment.
If you are already working in the field of child psychology and hope to advance your career, a master’s degree may be the solution. With an advanced degree, you can pursue licensure or apply to a doctoral program so that you can engage in clinical work.
What Can You Do with a Master’s in Child Psychology?
Government agencies, public and private schools, and universities all hire psychology professionals to offer support and counseling to children and adolescents. After earning your degree, there are a number of career paths that you might choose to pursue.
School psychologists play an integral role in the education system. They help students develop academic, behavioral, and social skills so that they can succeed and overcome challenges. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the median annual salary for school psychologists was $78,780 as of May 2021.
Like school psychologists, school counselors help students navigate their academic experiences. They offer guidance on difficult topics like bullying and domestic difficulties. The BLS reports that the median annual salary for a school counselor in 2021 was $60,510.
In addition to schools, some child psychologists work for government agencies or in private practice. They might engage directly with clients or conduct research in the field. Data from the BLS shows that the median annual salary for a psychologist in 2021 was $81,040.
Marriage and family therapists work not only with children but also with their parents, in an attempt to help resolve household conflicts and develop treatment plans for mental health struggles. As of 2021, the median annual salary for a family therapist was $49,880, according to the BLS.
Although students have to complete a doctoral degree to become college professors, they can work as lecturers or instructors in postsecondary schools with a master’s degree. In these positions, psychology professionals teach students who are new to the field. According to the BLS, the median salary for a postsecondary psychology teacher is $77,860 a year.
What Is the Salary for a Master’s in Child Psychology?
Graduates of child psychology master’s programs earn above-average salaries. However, there are a number of variables at play, including the type of employer, years of experience, and location. According to Payscale, the median annual salary for a Master of Developmental and Child Psychology degree holder is $52,000.
What Are the Requirements for a Child Psychology Master’s Program?
Every school has its own specific requirements to enroll in a child psychology master’s program, and it’s important to follow their guidelines closely. In general, you can expect these programs to have admissions criteria like:
- A bachelor’s degree in psychology or a closely related field
- A minimum GPA demonstrated by the submission of official undergraduate transcripts
- Letters of recommendation from former instructors or supervisors who are knowledgeable about your skills and abilities
- Acceptable scores from the GRE
- A personal statement describing your interest in the program and identifying your future goals
If your bachelor’s degree is not closely related to psychology, you may be able to prove that you’re prepared for an advanced program by showing that you have completed course prerequisites in the field.
What Courses Are Included in a Master’s in Child Psychology?
No two master’s in child psychology programs are exactly the same. However, there are some courses that are common to many programs, including:
- Developmental Psychology: Courses in developmental psychology focus on human growth and development from infancy through adolescence, and students learn how to identify and address issues with abnormal development.
- Cognitive Processes: In this class, students learn about processes like memory, perception, attention, and problem-solving.
- Social Psychology: Students in this course learn about the theories and principles underlying social psychology, including relationships and social attitudes.
- Ethics and Law in Psychology: Abiding by ethical procedures is essential when working with children, so many programs require students to study ethics and laws related to the area of psychology.
- Measurement and Assessment: Students in this course discover different forms of assessment and measurement as well as how to analyze results.
- Multicultural Issues in Psychology: Culture has an enormous influence on human behavior, and students in this course learn how factors like ethnicity and socioeconomic status can affect child psychology.
In order to graduate with a master’s in child psychology, you may also have to complete a capstone project, thesis, internship, or some combination of the three.
What Is Child Psychology Licensure?
Some careers in child psychology have other requirements in addition to an advanced degree. In order to become a school psychologist, for example, you might need to obtain licensure by meeting requirements such as:
- Earning a master’s degree
- Passing the Examination for Professional Practice in Psychology (EPPP)
- Completing an internship
The steps to becoming a licensed clinical child psychologist are quite similar, but states generally require that professionals earn a doctoral degree in addition to a master’s. Some states also have jurisprudence exams, which include questions about state laws and regulations.
While earning a master’s degree in child psychology in and of itself will not be enough to gain licensure, many programs are designed to help students prepare for the EPPP. They also often include internship programs to help satisfy state requirements.
What Additional Education Opportunities Are Available Following a Master’s in Child Psychology?
Completing a master’s degree is an excellent foundation for students who hope to earn a doctoral degree in child psychology. In most cases, graduates of these programs who want to earn additional credentials move on to one of two programs.
Ph.D. in Child Psychology
Students with an interest in research may benefit from earning a Ph.D. in Child Psychology. This can serve as excellent preparation for academic positions at universities, which often involve a combination of teaching and intensive research in the field.
Psy.D. in Psychology
If you would prefer to work directly with patients in a clinical setting, a Psy.D. may be a better fit. Some schools offer Psy.D. programs with a concentration in child psychology, which can help you become better qualified to offer counseling services to patients in mental health facilities, schools, or private practice.