MA in Child Development

Total units required for MA: 30

Program Description

The Master of Arts in Child Development program offers an opportunity for the advanced study of developmental theory and research in preparation for a wide range of professional objectives. The program emphasizes scholarly reflection on developmental issues, and academic excellence in oral and written communication. Program faculty value academic scholarship and research, and regard their application in professional settings as central to the mission of the MA program. Graduates of the program are expected to be well educated, lifelong learners, with excellent preparation in research, theory and practice in diverse, multicultural settings.

The MA program prepares graduates for professional employment in a variety of settings, including working directly with infants, children and their families, teaching at the community college level, and preparing for additional study toward a doctoral degree in child development or a related field. The program incorporates the following areas of study: developmental research and theory; cognitive, linguistic and social, and emotional development of children; social, and cultural and familial influences on development; children with behavioral, emotional, cognitive, and academic special needs and their families; programming and curricula development; principles and practices involved in organizing, administering, and evaluating child development programs.

For further information please see the Academic Program Services Office, Eureka Hall 401, or check the College of Education's website.

Admission Requirements

Admission as a classified graduate student in the Master of Arts in Child Development requires:

  • a BA in Child/Human Development or a closely related field, Some applicants may be admitted with the condition that certain prerequisite courses be completed before beginning the requirements for the MA CHDV program;
  • minimum 3.0 GPA in the last 60 units completed;
  • completion of coursework in research methods (CHDV 123, CHDV 128, and/or CHDV 133, or equivalent) and upper-division child development survey (CHDV 137 and/or CHDV 138) (may be admitted conditionally without these prerequisites);
  • experience in programs serving children from infancy through primary grades; and
  • strong writing and communication skills.

Opportunity exists for conditional classification of applicants with an undergraduate major and experiences different from those listed above. This requires that students demonstrate convincingly that they are competent to pursue the degree.

Admission Procedures

All prospective graduate students, including Sacramento State graduates, must file a University application and a separate supplemental MA CHDV program application. Both applications must be submitted by the deadlines stated on the College of Education and Office of Graduate Studies web sites. Required application materials include:

  • online applications for admission;
  • official transcripts from all college and universities attended, other than Sacramento State;
  • a well-written, clearly articulated, statement of the applicant's educational and professional background and an explanation of how graduate study will advance the applicant's professional goals;
  • two letters of recommendation.

For more admissions information and application deadlines, please visit the Office of Graduate Studies website. Details about each of the components of the supplemental application can be found on the application packet posted to the College of Education web site.

Approximately six weeks after the posted application deadline, a decision regarding admission will be emailed to each applicant.

Minimum Units and Grade Requirement for the Degree

Units required for the MA:  30

Minimum Cumulative GPA: 3.0; no units with a grade lower than "B-" may apply toward the degree.

Advancement to Candidacy Procedures

Each student must file an application for Advancement to Candidacy indicating a proposed program of graduate study. This procedure should begin as soon as the classified graduate student has:

  • removed any deficiencies in admission requirements;
  • completed at least 12 units of courses in the graduate program (see Requirements) with a minimum 3.0 GPA; and
  • met the Graduate writing requirement through completion of the Graduate Writing Intensive (GWI) course, CHDV 242, with a B grade or better.

Advancement to Candidacy forms are available on the Office of Graduate Studies website or in the department office. The student should complete the Advancement to Candidacy form after planning a degree program in consultation with a program faculty advisor. The form must be submitted to the Graduate Coordinator and the Office of Graduate Studies for approval.

Project/Thesis or Examination Registration

The approved Master's Thesis/Project format guide is the American Psychological Association (APA) - latest edition. Enrollment in CHDV 504 Project/Thesis course requires that the student file an Intent to Register form at least one full semester in advance of registration in these courses. For students intending to complete a project or thesis, a petition must be approved prior to beginning the project or thesis. The petition requires approval from the thesis/project sponsor, a second reader and from the Graduate Coordinator or Department Chair. Please see your list of deadlines and consult with a program advisor. Additional information about CHDV theses and projects may be found in the Thesis/Project handbook on the department web page.

Check in the Department office for the policies regarding Report in Progress ("RP") grades and continuous enrollment.


Prior to graduation, an application for graduation must be filed in the Office of Graduate Studies. In addition, all coursework leading to the Master's degree must be completed within a seven-year period.

Program Requirements

Pre or Corequisites (6 Units)
Select one of the following:3
Qualitative Methods in Human Development
Combined Research Methods in Human Development
Quantitative Methods in Human Development (Select one of the following)
Select one of the following:3
Social and Emotional Development
Cognitive Development
Total Units6
Required Foundation Courses (12 Units)
CHDV 200Proseminar in Child Development3
CHDV 242Theoretical Approaches to Development 3
CHDV 247Theoretical and Applied Perspectives on Cross-cultural Development (Select one of the Methods courses:)3
Select one of the Methods courses:3
Quantitative Research Methods
CHDV 258 Qualitative Research Methods
Core Course Requirements (9 Units)
Select three of the following:9
Seminar in Social Development
Seminar in Cognitive Development
Selected Topics in Developmental Theory
Motivation and Learning in Children
Curriculum and Instruction
Language Processes in Development
Quantitative Research Methods 1
Apprenticeship in Advanced Child Development
Qualitative Research Methods 1
Practicum in Child Development
Issues in Early Childhood Education for Children with Disabilities
Elective (3 Units)
Select 3 units in consultation with an advisor3
Culminating Experience (6 Units)
Thesis or Project
CHDV 290Seminar for Culminating Experience,Writing a Proposal3
CHDV 504Culminating Experience in Child Development: Thesis or Project3
Total Units30

Note: Credit for CHDV 504 is given upon completion of a thesis, project, or other approved culminating experience. Open only to the graduate student who has been advanced to candidacy for the master's degree and has secured the permission of his/her faculty advisor and the Department Chair one full semester prior to registration. All forms may be obtained in the Department office or on the college web site.