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San Diego State University

Department of Child & Family Development

Master of Science - Child Development with a Concentration in Early Childhood Mental Health (LPCC)

Mother hugging her childThe Master of Science in Child Development with a Concentration in Early Childhood Mental Health is designed to prepare students who wish to pursue clinical licensure under the Board of Behavioral Sciences- Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor (LPCC). Additionally, the program provides a specialization to prepare clinicians for practice in the field of early childhood mental health. The LPCC concentration fulfills the coursework and clinical practicum requirements for licensure through the Board of Behavioral Sciences (BPC4999.33).

To earn the Master’s, the student must complete an official program of study that includes a minimum of 60 units of 500-, 600- and 700-numbered required and elective courses (up to 15 units can be taken from 500 level courses with the approval of the adviser) that meet the 13 core content area as outlined by licensure requirements, including six units (2 semesters) of supervised clinical practicum, and a passing score on the department clinical comprehensive exam.

The program is designed as a two-year program (12 units a semester and 6-9 units completed during summer sessions). However, students may choose to complete the program part-time with approval from the program graduate adviser. Note that part-time status will increase the length of the degree program. The majority of the courses are offered after 4PM to allow for students to work full-time simultaneously to completion of the program.


Program requirements include:


(A) 39 units of core content coursework (13 semester courses),

(B) 15 units of advanced content coursework (5 semester courses),

(C) 6 units of supervised practicum (2 semester courses), and

(D) successful completion of the department’s comprehensive clinical exam in the final semester of the program.


Detailed Program Information

Download the MS ECMH (LPCC) Program Flyer


Interested in applying?

Visit our Admissions page for more information.  


Program Mission

The mission of the Masters of Science in Early Childhood Mental Health is to prepare knowledgeable and skilled mental health clinicians to utilize a neuro-relational framework and work with diverse populations. The program prepares competent, transdisciplinary clinicians, with a specialization in early childhood mental health, who recognize the value of self-reflection and cultural humility in their approach to clinical interactions. While candidates will gain the knowledge and experience to work with individuals across the lifespan, the mission of this program is to prepare mental health clinicians who work to support the social-emotional health and development of infants, young children, and their families.

Program Philosophy

The faculty in the Masters of Science in Child and Family Development Early Childhood Mental Health (MS ECMH) program believe that early supportive relationships and a healthy attachment are the foundation for development. We believe that very young children have unique developmental and relational needs and that all early learning occurs in the context of relationships. Therefore, candidates in our program receive a strong foundation in developmental knowledge with an emphasis on the early years (birth to eight years) to better understand the unique needs of young children.


Family-centered practice is a guiding principle of the MS ECMH program. Since development and learning occur in the context of relationships, working with young children and their families must also be relationship-based. Relationship based work requires us to engage our emotions as well as our intellect and to consider how a client’s past as well as the clinician’s past affects their present reality. To provide client and family-centered care, we believe that a clinician must reflect on their own values and beliefs to understand how their perspective can influence the care they provide. Through reflective practice, candidates in our program learn how to develop intentional, authentic relationships with their clients.


Our faculty promote an overarching concept of diversity, namely, that diversity is the inclusion, consideration, and respect of varying cultures, religions, ability, sexual orientations, gender expressions, ethnicities, viewpoints, values, and experiences of the individuals who make up our world. Students and faculty in the program come from a variety of backgrounds and subscribe to a wide range of values and beliefs in their personal and professional lives. This program aims to teach students how to hear, reflect on, and value the multiple viewpoints and experiences of diverse populations. Students are expected to show a willingness to develop the skills to work with all types of children, adults, or families and to approach clinical and educational interactions with cultural humility.

Want more information?

For more information about graduate studies in the Department of Child and Family Development, review the SDSU Graduate Bulletin.

Paying For Your Education

Graduate students may be eligible for Federal Financial Aid. To apply for financial aid visit the FAFSA Website.

Students may also apply for scholarships offered through San Diego State University and private organizations. Information about Financial Aid at SDSU can be found at the SDSU Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships.

Please see the Federal Financial Aid Disclosure document for required reporting and documentation. 


For more information about our graduate programs or if you have questions about the application process, contact:
Phone Icon (619) 594-5380