Graduate Schools with Child Psychology Programs
Learn the admissions requirements for graduate degree programs in child psychology. Find out about required courses for master's and doctoral programs in the field.
Child psychology is a branch of psychology that can be studied through master's and doctoral degree programs. Learn more about admissions requirements, distance learning options and common coursework.
How Do I Get Into A Graduate School for Child Psychology?
You will find both master's and doctoral degrees offered at many schools. A bachelor's degree is mandatory for admission at either educational level, and some doctorate programs require incoming students to have bachelor's degrees. An undergraduate major in psychology is recommended by most institutions, but it is not required. However, your transcripts should reflect that you've taken and excelled in a number of psychology courses. Professional experience may be requested by certain universities.
You might be required to either hold a standard teaching license or be qualified to hold one to gain entrance into certain master's degree programs. A resume must be submitted where experience is required. Certain doctoral degree programs expect your submission of up to five letters of recommendation.
What Course Requirements Are Necessary to Earn a Master's Degree?
Master's degree programs can include a Master of Science in Education with a concentration in child psychology, a Master of Arts in Psychology specializing in child and adolescent psychology or a Master of Science in Counseling Psychology with a concentration in child and adolescent therapy. Core courses will address advanced topics in developmental psychology and research. Other courses you might study include:
- Child and adolescent development
- Psychology of learning
- Discipline and behavior management
- Psychological testing
- Child counseling
- Child psychopathology
You may be required to complete an internship, thesis or research project towards the end of your program. Most master's degree programs can be completed in two years of full-time study. However, some schools might give you up to six years to complete all requirements.
Which Schools Offer Master's Degrees in Child Psychology?
Master's degree candidates study topics like health psychology, diversity in child learning, and behavior analysis. The following are a sampling of schools offering online and traditional master's degree programs in child psychology:
- Southern New Hampshire University offers an online Master of Science (M.S.) in Psychology with a concentration in child and adolescent development psychology
- Students at Walden University can work towards an online Master of Science (M.S.) in Psychology with a specialization in child and adolescent development
- California State University at San Bernardino's program leads to a Master of Arts (M.A.) degree program in child development, which is housed in the psychology department
What Do I Need to Do to Earn a Doctorate?
Doctoral degrees are usually awarded in clinical child psychology. Curricula at some schools require you to complete a master's degree while pursuing your doctorate. In such cases, a thesis might be needed to complete this intermediary requirement. A practicum and a clinical internship are usually mandatory in most doctoral programs. Your final matriculation requirement will be to write and defend a dissertation. At many schools, doctorates can be completed in 5-7 years.
Statistics courses and offerings in advanced psychological principles will likely be compulsory requirements. Classes you might find common among doctoral degree programs include:
- School psychology
- Behavioral therapy
- Marital and family therapy
- Cultural diversity
To practice clinical child psychology, you must hold either a Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Psychology or a Doctorate of Psychology (Psy.D.).
Which Schools Offer Doctoral Degrees in Child Psychology?
Students can choose from a diverse selection of doctoral programs in child psychology, and many of these programs have specializations available.
- Columbia University has a Doctor of Philosophy in Developmental Psychology (D.E.V.D.) degree program
- At Fordham University, graduate students can pursue a Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) degree program in applied developmental psychology with concentrations in health, illness and well-being across the life span; development in the context of race, ethnicity, and culture; and development within family, school, and neighborhood context
- Loyola University of Chicago offers a Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Developmental Psychology
Can I Earn a Graduate Degree Online?
Distance degrees in child psychology are typically found at the master's degree level. Usually, they are also presented in blended programs where coursework and other degree requirements can be met both online and on-campus. Online master's degree programs can typically be finished in 1-2 years depending on whether you enroll full- or part-time. Some schools might require you to attend distance classes at specific times established by your instructor. A computer with an Internet connection meets basic technical requirements.
Master's and doctoral degree programs in or related to child psychology typically include clinical work or a research project. There are myriad avenues of psychology from which you can choose, depending on what interests you most.