• On-Campus Component
  • Cost
    $1,593.00 per credit (part-time)
  • Total Credits
  • Credential
    Graduate Degree
  • Admission GPA
    3.0 preferred
  • Application Deadlines
    February 15
  • Campus
    Twin Cities
  • College
    College of Education and Human Development
  • Department
    Institute of Child Development

Gain insight from scholars in cognitive and biological development, social and emotional development, research methods, and ethics. Acquire the field experience and strategies you need to put theory into practice when and where it benefits children and adolescents most.

Choose one of three specialized tracks:

  • Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health
  • Child Life
  • Individualized Studies

Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health

Infant and early childhood mental health professionals support the social-emotional development of infants and toddlers by assessing family needs and recommending developmentally appropriate prevention strategies and interventions.

If you reside in Minnesota, you have the option to take in-person courses through the University of Minnesota College of Continuing and Professional Studies concurrently with your MA coursework to complete the licensed professional clinical counselor (LPCC) licensure application requirements.

This track will also provide you with the developmental science background, reflective practice experience, and professional guidance necessary to apply for Endorsement for Culturally Sensitive, Relationship-Focused Practice Promoting Infant Mental Health® through the Minnesota Association for Children’s Mental Health, Infant, and Early Childhood Division.

Endorsement levels include:

  • Infant Family Specialist (Prevention/Early Intervention)
  • Infant Mental Health Specialist (Treatment/Intervention)
  • Infant Mental Health Mentor (Clinical, Faculty, or Policy Leadership)

Learn more about the Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health track.

Required Courses (15 credits)

In addition to core and prerequisite courses, you will take:

  • CPSY 5503 – Development and Psychopathology in Early Childhood (3.0 cr)
  • CPSY 5506 – Infant Observation Seminar I (1.0 cr)
  • CPSY 5508 – Infant Observation Seminar II (1.0 cr)
  • CPSY 5511 – Infant Observation Seminar III (1.0 cr)
  • CPSY 5513 – Early Childhood Assessment (3.0 cr)
  • CPSY 5518 – Prevention and Intervention in Early Childhood: Principles (3.0 cr)
  • CPSY 5521 – Prevention and Intervention in Early Childhood: Practice (3.0 cr)

Career Options

This track prepares you to work as a mental health provider or practitioner in fields such as:

  • social work
  • psychology
  • family and marriage counseling
  • nursing and related disciplines
  • early care and education
  • advocacy or policy
  • licensed clinical professional

Child Life Track

Child life specialists help children cope with the stress and uncertainty of illness, injury, disability, and hospitalization. Learn more about the Child Life track.

Required Courses (15 credits)

In addition to core and prerequisite courses, you will take:

  • CPSY 5601 – Child Life Theory, Practice and Program Development (3.0 cr)
  • CPSY 5602 – Developmental Perspectives on Illness and Injury in Healthcare (3.0 cr)
  • CPSY 5603 – Therapeutic Play for Child Life Practice (3.0 cr)
  • CPSY 5604 – Therapeutic Relationships: Supporting Children in Healthcare (3.0 cr)
  • CPSY 5605 – Childhood Death and Bereavement (3.0 cr)

A 600-hour clinical internship is also required.


If you successfully complete the MA Child Life track (including the 600-hour child life clinical internship), you will be eligible for the Child Life Professional Certification Examination and the Association of Child Life Professionals Eligibility Assessment.

Individualized Studies

This track helps individuals advance their careers in fields that intersect with child development, such as law, juvenile justice, child welfare, education, the arts, advocacy, policy-making, nonprofit management, pediatric nursing, and parent education. Learn more about this track.

Curriculum (15 credits)

In addition to core and prerequisite courses, you will take:

  • CPSY 5310 – Current Issues in Applied Child and Adolescent Development (3.0 cr)
  • CPSY 5413 – Early Childhood and Public Policy (3.0 cr)
  • EPSY 5261 – Introductory Statistical Methods (3.0 cr)
  • At least 6 credits of electives, selected in consultation with an advisor