Person wearing graduation cap and gown receiving their Master’s Degree in Child & Adolescent Developmental Psychology

Master of Science in Child & Adolescent Developmental Psychology

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No Residency

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No Group Work

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100% Online Learning

National and Northcentral have merged, and this program is now offered by NU. Learn more.

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Master’s Degree in Child & Adolescent Developmental Psychology

The field of child and adolescent development is incredibly diverse and can offer many career directions — whether it’s working with the helping professions, industry, government, and for-profit or nonprofit organizations. The Master of Science in Child and Adolescent Developmental Psychology program helps prepare you for a career with or advocating for, children, adolescents, and their families.

Throughout your studies, you’ll have an opportunity to take an in-depth look at developmental stages and explore how the impacts of family, school, peers, society, and culture intertwine and affect the development of children and adolescents.

Children Are Your Future

The MS in Child and Adolescent Developmental Psychology program seeks to expose students to a deep understanding of physical, cognitive, gender, and socioemotional development that is acquired through critical analysis of research, as well as the theories of development that have arisen from this research. Students will also learn about child and adolescent psychopathology and get an in-depth understanding of ADHD, as well as autism spectrum disorders.

At the culmination of this master’s in child development program, you have the option of completing a 100-hour internship working in the field. This gives you the opportunity to demonstrate a wide range of professional competencies, and apply what you have learned in your studies to develop real-world applicable skills.

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Course Details

The Master of Science in Child and Adolescent Developmental Psychology program can be completed in 30 credits.

All Master of Science programs require the foundation course to be completed prior to enrolling in specialization courses. If students choose the capstone, this course will be completed as the last course in the degree program.

Online Masters in Child & Adolescent Developmental Psychology Course Listings

This course is an introduction to graduate studies in child and adolescent development. In this course, current and historical theories, major developmental principles, and research in child and adolescent development will be explored. In addition, graduate-level skills—such as academic integrity, effective use of the University Library, comprehension of complex scholarly texts and research articles, and use of APA format and style in professional communication—are also introduced. Students will complete the course with a roadmap to navigate their way to completion of their educational aspirations.

Prenatal and early childhood development comprises multiple processes, including physical and biological, cognition and language, and socioemotional development. During this course, students will trace the development of each of these processes throughout the prenatal and early childhood periods. Using discipline related research skills; students will analyze the latest research in the field, and will emerge with a grounding not only in classic theory but also in current research directions. The diverse social context in which development occurs will also be critically examined, including how the role of family, school, and peers impacts development.

This course focuses on physical, cognitive, and psychosocial development from childhood through adolescence. Students will gain an understanding of the physical, cognitive, and psychosocial development that occurs during childhood and adolescence, guided by theories of human development and scholarly literature. Diverse factors that protect, promote, and pose risks to development will be considered. This course will provide students an opportunity to strengthen their information literacy skills, build upon their academic writing skills, and reflect on interventions that promote development for children and adolescents.

This course is designed to provide a basic understanding of gender development in children and adolescents. Students will explore theoretical explanations of gender development and the latest research on this topic. They also will learn how cognitive, social, biological, and cultural influences impact gender development, identity, and perception into adolescence.

Upon the completion of this course, you will develop an understanding of the strengths and limitations of qualitative and quantitative approaches to research design. As a result of this newfound knowledge, you will become a more educated and discerning consumer of the existing published research. In addition, you will be more informed on how to effectively and ethically use these different research methods when designing research studies.

This course explores the etiology of child and adolescent behavior disorders. Students will examine the sociobiocultural influences on abnormal child and adolescent development. Theoretical underpinnings and classifications of abnormal child and adolescent development including familial attributes will be explored.

This course provides you with an opportunity to apply the Ethical Principles specifically in the setting of Child and Adolescent Developmental Psychology. You will develop an understanding of basic ethical concepts in the framework of Child and Adolescent Developmental Psychology. This course also emphasizes the importance of knowing state laws and regulations, which may differ from the ethics standards established by the American Psychological Association or other national organizations. You also will assess the impact of culture and personal values on professional behavior in the area of Child and Adolescent Psychology.

This course introduces the graduate student to the calculation, use, and interpretation of descriptive statistics and inferential statistical analysis. The emphasis of this course is on providing a working knowledge of basic statistical concepts and helping students to understand statistical methodologies used in psychology, and, more generally, to develop a working knowledge of statistical usage in everyday life.

This course evaluates two prevalent neurodevelopmental disorders: Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and autism spectrum disorders (ASD) that present in Child and Adolescent Developmental psychology settings. You will examine theoretical underpinnings and research in ADHD and ASD. You also will examine various diagnostic approaches, their origins, and interventions as applied to each disorder. You also will learn about the combined effects of ADHD and ASD.

The Capstone course in Child and Adolescent Developmental Psychology is an opportunity to demonstrate a range of professional competencies and communication skills, reflecting the knowledge, critical thinking, sensitivity to ethics and diversity, and appreciation of research that has been acquired during the MS program. The Capstone course culminates in a review of the evidence based practices related to a specific issue of interest to the student in Child and Adolescent Developmental Psychology.

Students seeking a master’s degree in Child and Adolescent Developmental psychology may opt to complete their degree by taking an internship in Child and Adolescent Developmental psychology instead of the Capstone course. During the internship experience, students will meet weekly with their assigned University professor as well as their approved internship site supervisor to discuss their experiences. Weekly assignments include submission of required evaluations and preparation for the final theoretically grounded presentation summarizing the internship experience. Internship experiences are designed to guide candidates through specific standards-aligned experiences with resulting growth in competencies demonstrated through application in practice.

Program at a Glance

  • Total Credit Hours: 30 Credit Hours
  • Courses: 10 Courses
  • Recommended Completion Time: 16 Months
  • Next Start Date:Every Monday
  • Classroom Size: One

The Master of Science degree in Child and Adolescent Developmental Psychology requires a total of 30 credits for completion.

The University may accept a maximum of 12 semester credits in transfer toward the Master of Science in Child and Adolescent Developmental Psychology for graduate course work completed at an accredited college or university with a grade average of “B” or better. See the Transfer Credit policy for additional information.

  • PSY-5703 must be completed at NU

Graduation requirements for the MS in Child & Adolescent Developmental Psychology vary according to specialization selected.

All NU master’s degree programs have the following graduation requirements:

  • A minimum of 18 credit hours of graduate instruction must be completed through the University
  • Completion of subject area competency requirements for the graduate program
  • Elective courses must be relevant to the department’s graduate program
  • Cumulative grade point average of 3.0 (letter grade of “B”) or higher
  • Official documents on file for basis of admission: a conferred bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited academic institution
  • Official transcripts on file for all transfer credit hours accepted by the University
  • All financial obligations must be met before the student will be issued their complimentary diploma or degree posted transcript

If you are interested in taking your education even further, The Master’s in Child and Adolescent Developmental Psychology provides the academic experience and knowledge to continue into doctoral-level studies.

Program Outcomes

At National University, you can earn your MS in Child & Adolescent Developmental Psychology degree online, when it’s convenient for you. And although you attend class online, you still receive the personal support and guidance you deserve thanks to our one-to-one learning model. We also have no residency requirements, no GRE/GMAT requirements, and no group projects. This offers the flexibility you need to fit higher education into your busy schedule.

MS in Child and Adolescent Developmental Psychology Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of National University’s MS in Child and Adolescent Developmental Psychology program, graduates will be able to:

  • Synthesize theories and principles applicable to the field of child and adolescent developmental psychology through written communication
  • Appraise research methods and data analysis applicable in the framework of child and adolescent developmental psychology
  • Investigate empirically supported interventions for research, administration, or practice of child and adolescent developmental psychology
  • Employ ethical principles of psychology in academic and professional matters of child and adolescent developmental psychology
  • Examine diversity issues in the context of child and adolescent developmental psychology

Note on Licensure: NU’s psychology programs are not licensure programs, and do not prepare an individual to become a licensed psychology or counseling professional. Students in the MS in Child and Adolescent Developmental Psychology program may choose a non-clinical internship.

Hear From Our Faculty

Watch our video to learn more about the Master of Science in Child and Adolescent Developmental Psychology program from Dr. James Billings, Dean for the School of Social and Behavioral Sciences.


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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

  • Behavior Analyst
  • Day Care/Preschool/Child Development Center Director
  • Clinical Case Manager
  • Family /School /General Social Worker
  • Health Educator /Coach
  • Mental Health Educator
  • Mental Health Assistant
  • Social /Human Services Manager
  • Youth Counselor /Worker

And many more, in public and private facilities of different sizes!

If you have your sights set on a doctoral degree, the Master’s in Child and Adolescent Developmental Psychology gives you the academic experience and knowledge needed to continue into doctoral-level studies.

*Positions may require additional experience, training, and other factors beyond successfully completing this degree program. Depending on where you reside, many positions may also require state licensure, and it is the responsibility of the student to ensure that all licensure requirements are met. We encourage you to also review program-specific requirements with an NU advisor. Any data provided on this page is for informational purposes only and does not guarantee that completion of any degree program will achieve the underlying occupation or commensurate salary.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), The median annual wage for all psychologists was $81,040 in May 2021. Working in different industries, practices, and states will also affect the potential median annual wage.

An MA in Applied Child and Adolescent Psychology is a graduate program that focuses on the application of psychological principles and theories to children and adolescents. The program typically covers topics such as child development, psychopathology, assessment and diagnosis, and evidence-based interventions. Graduates of the program can work in a variety of settings, including schools, clinics, hospitals, and community organizations.

Are child and adolescent psychology the same as developmental psychology? Not exactly. Although both fields study human development, they have different areas of emphasis.

Child and adolescent psychology focuses on the psychological growth of young people. It examines mental health, behavior, and well-being of children and adolescents.

On the other hand, developmental psychology is a more extensive field that examines human development across the lifespan, starting from infancy to old age. It covers topics such as cognitive development, social and emotional development, and aging.

Program Disclosure

Successful completion and attainment of National University degrees do not lead to automatic or immediate licensure, employment, or certification in any state/country. The University cannot guarantee that any professional organization or business will accept a graduate’s application to sit for any certification, licensure, or related exam for the purpose of professional certification.

Program availability varies by state. Many disciplines, professions, and jobs require disclosure of an individual’s criminal history, and a variety of states require background checks to apply to, or be eligible for, certain certificates, registrations, and licenses. Existence of a criminal history may also subject an individual to denial of an initial application for a certificate, registration, or license and/or result in the revocation or suspension of an existing certificate, registration, or license. Requirements can vary by state, occupation, and/or licensing authority.

NU graduates will be subject to additional requirements on a program, certification/licensure, employment, and state-by-state basis that can include one or more of the following items: internships, practicum experience, additional coursework, exams, tests, drug testing, earning an additional degree, and/or other training/education requirements.

All prospective students are advised to review employment, certification, and/or licensure requirements in their state, and to contact the certification/licensing body of the state and/or country where they intend to obtain certification/licensure to verify that these courses/programs qualify in that state/country, prior to enrolling. Prospective students are also advised to regularly review the state’s/country’s policies and procedures relating to certification/licensure, as those policies are subject to change.

National University degrees do not guarantee employment or salary of any kind. Prospective students are strongly encouraged to review desired job positions to review degrees, education, and/or training required to apply for desired positions. Prospective students should monitor these positions as requirements, salary, and other relevant factors can change over time.