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San Diego State University

Department of Child & Family Development

Master of Science Degree in Child Development 

Program Information

Daughter with mother and daughterThe focus of the program is on social and emotional development and on child development in context (e.g. early childhood education programs, schools, families, communities). This program  can help students move onto Ph.D.  programs in related areas, and to further their professional expertise and credentials in areas related to children and families. Areas of emphasis in the program include: early childhood development, prevention, intervention, family processes, risk and resilience, development across the lifespan, parent-child intergenerational relationships, enhancing school readiness and preparing teachers to work with families, socio-emotional and behavior support in educational settings and homes, influences of language and culture, and atypical development.

Course Content

•Human development and theories
•Family processes and theories
•Applications for prevention and intervention
•Research methods
•Program development and proposal writing
•30 – 32 units total required

Choosing a Capstone for your Degree

The M.S. in Child Development program at SDSU allows you to choose the capstone option that is best for your interests and professional goals!
•Conduct research on a topic related to childrenand/or families with the guidance of experts inthe field (our tenure track faculty) and a reporton this work for your thesis.
•This is a great capstone for students interestedin building academic expertise and applying fora Ph.D. program upon completion of this degree.
•Publish this research and/or present it atprofessional conferences.
•Design and implement a program for children,families, or the professionals who serve them(e.g. early childhood educators, teachers, serviceproviders). This work would also be mentored bya CFD faculty expert.
•This is a great capstone for applied professionalswho would like to develop programs in the field.
•Students who conduct a quality evaluation oftheir project can also publish their results, andthis can help students move on to Ph.D. programs.
Comprehensive Exam

•Complete a comprehensive exam on materialfrom courses you have taken in the M.S. in ourChild Development program.
•This is a great option for students with anapplied focus on helping infants andyoung children.
•Note that you must take a specific set ofelectives to choose this option.


Download the Master's Program Flyer

Interested in applying?

Visit our Admissions page for more information. 

Want more information?

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

Note: Students who have completed the EC-TEaMH Certificate will have earned 12 units towards the Master of Science degree that can count as the electives needed for plan A or the part of the additional required courses for Plan B.

Graduated MS Students

Click here for a list of our graduated master's students, including their thesis/project titles.  

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