Earn a Master's in Child Psychology
- $627/credit (36 credits total)
- Transfer up to 12 graduate credits
- Learn from faculty with real-world experience
- Work with children and adolescents
- Learn valuable research skills
- No application fee or GRE/GMAT scores required
If you want to make a difference in the lives of children and adolescents, then consider an online Master of Science in Psychology (MS) with a concentration in Child and Adolescent Psychology with Southern New Hampshire University online. Focus on the study of research methods, cognitive psychology, social psychology, personality, learning theory, ethical practice and more. You’ll study how people grow and adapt at different stages of life, while helping them reach their full potential.
In the master's in child psychology online program, you'll develop assessment, evaluation and treatment strategies that address the unique individual, cultural and psychological needs of children and families. You will hone your research methods and learn about developmental psychology and intervention strategies in depth, specifically as they relate to children and adolescents.
Learn how to:
- Support the psychological well-being of individuals, communities and organizations
- Advocate for psychology’s role and responsibility in promoting agency for all
- Critically evaluate information and determine potential courses of action
- Design, conduct and evaluate research
- Advance knowledge in psychology and the psychological well-being of people
- Integrate psychological theories, methods and research
- Incorporate empathy and an appreciation for collaboration and diversity of perspectives
- Protect the integrity and professional responsibility of psychology
- Demonstrate ethical practice in all aspects of the profession of psychology
While the child psychology master’s program does not lead to state licensure, the degree program can prepare you for a rich and rewarding career working with children and adolescents, as well as prepare you to pursue doctoral studies.
8 Types of Psychology with Real-World Perspective
The study of psychology can be personally and professionally rewarding. Among the many concentrations in the field you can find diverse opportunities to learn about how people interact with one another in relationships, in the workplace and more.
The MS degree in child and adolescent developmental psychology degree typically attracts others who want to help young people, either immediately after graduating or upon completion of a doctoral degree.
While the master's in psychology online program does not lead to licensure or certification, it does prepare you to continue your education or to enter fields like social services, education or health care.
With a predicted 14% increase in job outlook across the entire psychology profession from 2018 to 2028, career prospects are strong.1
Some of the places in which you might work as a specialist in child or adolescent development include:
- Child welfare agencies: In this important field, you may investigate reports of possible child abuse or neglect. You may provide services to families in need of assistance, and arrange for protection and care of children who are victims of neglect.
- Schools: You may apply your skills as a specialist in child and adolescent development to the school system. This work can span preschool and kindergarten through high school and even college. You may apply your expertise in psychology to help children of all ages with their mental and behavioral health, social skills or even academics.
- Group homes: In this setting, you may help children who live in a home-like environment because they are not able to live in their own homes for a variety of reasons. You may provide support or other treatment to assist children and adolescents with emotional, behavioral and other needs.
- Parenting programs: People with mental illness or other behavioral challenges may benefit from professional intervention and training programs. You may also use your skills to assist parents who need training in basic parenting skills to help children stay safe and in the home.
- Healthcare facilities: There are many opportunities within healthcare facilities to assist children and families with stress, mental illness or other behavioral challenges. You may teach classes for parents, families and educators about parenting skills and classroom management techniques.
Your skills can translate to virtually any setting where children, adolescents and families need professional guidance or intervention.
While the master's in child psychology online program does not lead to any form of licensure, the program is well aligned with industry standards and expectations. The program can prepare you for a career in a wide range of settings or to continue on to doctoral studies.
If you are interested in working hands-on with patients in a clinical setting, consider enrolling in our Master's in Counseling. This program was designed to prepare students to meet the educational requirements for licensure as a clinical mental health counselor in most states.
Graduates of the child and adolescent developmental psychology program can enter the psychology career field confidently possessing the knowledge and skills in research, analysis, assessment, human behavior and professional collaboration necessary to succeed in the job of your choice.
Start Your Journey Toward an Online Child Development Degree Concentration
Why SNHU For Your Master's in Child Psychology
With no set class meeting times, you can learn on your schedule and access online course materials 24/7.
Take advantage of some of the lowest online tuition rates in the nation, plus financial aid for those who qualify. We also make it easy to transfer to SNHU by accepting up to 12 credits from your previous institution.
Founded in 1932, Southern New Hampshire University is a private, nonprofit institution with over 100,000 graduates across the country. SNHU is regionally accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE), which advocates for institutional improvement and public assurance of quality.
Recently, SNHU has been nationally recognized for leading the way toward more innovative, affordable and achievable education:
- “Most Innovative” regional university honors from U.S. News & World Report each year since 2015
- A $1 million grant from Google.org to explore soft skills assessments for high-need youth
- Recognition as a 2017 Digital Learning Innovator by the Online Learning Consortium
At Southern New Hampshire University, you'll have access to a powerful network of more than 200,000 students, alumni and staff that can help support you long after graduation. Our instructors offer relevant, real-world expertise to help you understand and navigate the field. Plus, with our growing, nationwide alumni network, you'll have the potential to tap into a number of internship and career opportunities.
96.5% of students would recommend SNHU.2 Discover why SNHU may be right for you.
Acceptance decisions are made on a rolling basis throughout the year for our 5 graduate terms. You can apply at any time and get a decision within days of submitting all required materials. To apply, simply contact an admission counselor, who can help you explore financial options. Your counselor can also walk you through the application process, which involves completing a graduate application and providing undergraduate transcripts.
The online master’s in psychology degree program requires individuals to have earned an undergraduate psychology degree online, or on campus, or a bachelor’s degree in another discipline and have completed undergraduate coursework in the following 3 areas:
- Introduction to psychology
- Social science statistics
- Research methods in a social science
For those who do not meet the minimum requirements, one or more of the following courses may be required:
- PSY-500: Foundations of Psychology
- SCS-501: Foundations in Statistics
- SCS-502: Foundations in Research Methods
This program does not prepare you for state licensure.
Courses & Curriculum
In this master's program, you'll learn to apply psychology research and theories to real-world contexts. Courses are taught by instructors with professional credentials and real-world, hands-on experience.
"Psychology’s status as a science is grounded in the use of the scientific method," said Dr. Nickolas Dominello, associate dean of social sciences at Southern New Hampshire University (SNHU). "Psychologists base their professional practice in knowledge that is obtained through verifiable evidence of human behavior and mental process." The curriculum for the master's in child psychology at SNHU was designed with this in mind.
The degree program consists of 36 credits total, with 24 major credits in general psychology and 12 credits that focus specifically on child and developmental psychology. All students must have a bachelor's degree that includes coursework in introduction to psychology, social science statistics and research methods in a social science. Students without this coursework are still eligible for the child psychology master's program, but may have to complete comparable foundational coursework prior to beginning major coursework.
Throughout all courses, you'll deepen your understanding in crucial areas of psychology including cognitive psychology, social psychology, developmental psychology and cognitive neuropsychology. Major courses may include:
- Research Methods in Psychology. Learn how to gather and analyze data to plan and conduct research in real-world applications.
- Social Psychology. Examine contemporary and classic theory on how people interact with their environment, technology and society as a whole, and how that affects their behavior.
- Theories of Personality. Explore the theories and approaches that pertain to personality and its many variations throughout disparate populations.
- Ethical Practice in Psychology. Study moral principles within the field of psychology and where you may learn to apply expected professional standards of conduct.
In addition to these areas, you'll also sharpen your critical thinking and problem solving skills while applying theory to practical applications. All coursework integrates how mental processes such as memory, language, attention, learning and decision-making inform the practice of psychology.
“Developmental psychologists study how people grow and adapt – physically and psychologically . . . and conduct research to understand and support people to reach their full potential,” said Dr. Jay Greiner, adjunct instructor of psychology at SNHU.
To build on this foundation in general psychology, you can then add key coursework to prepare you for a career working with children and adolescents. Child and developmental psychology concentration courses include:
- Developmental Psychology. Dive in to a variety of theoretical perspectives leading to an understanding of contemporary topics central to childhood and adolescent development.
- Cognitive Neuropsychology. Examine the neuropsychological approach to examining the connection between the brain and cognitive processes. Studying dysfunctions from birth to adolescence, you'll learn techniques used to study the brain and behavior.
- Intervention Strategies. Cover the major intervention strategies in child and adolescent development. Contemporary and traditional strategies in the field may be examined. Students may also practice applying these strategies to real-world scenarios.
- Child and Developmental Psychology Seminar. Integrate all skills and knowledge gained throughout the program to demonstrate your proficiency in developmental psychology, cognitive neuropsychology and intervention strategies.
Across all courses in the program, students will hone key transferable skills that will position them to apply these skills in the study of psychology across the profession. Such skills include written and oral communication, statistics and research methods.
The master's in child development online culminates in a capstone course for all students. This course is designed to allow you to synthesize and integrate the knowledge and skills you've gained in the study of child and developmental psychology. Rather than introduce new concepts, the aim of this course is to support student success in readying you to apply the scientific method and use observation, experimentation and analysis throughout your career.
|View Full Curriculum in the Catalog|
|MS in Psychology - Child & Adolescent Developmental Psychology|
|Courses May Include|
|MS in Psychology Child and Developmental Psychology|
|PSY 510||Research Methods in Psychology I||In this course, students will learn methods commonly used in psychological research. As part of these methods, students learn how to gather and analyze data across a variety of settings. These newly acquired skills and techniques will be reinforced by application to a contemporary issue in psychology.|
|PSY 520||Research Methods in Psychology II||In this course, students will develop a deeper understanding of the research process and data analysis by applying skills learned in Research Methods in Psychology I and building on them with new skills and techniques including advanced research design and use/interpretation of higher-level statistical tests (ANOVA, regression, etc.). These newly acquired skills and techniques will be reinforced by application to a contemporary issue in psychology.|
|PSY 530||Social Psychology||The focus of this course is on contemporary social psychology issues and research related to people's interactions with the environment, technology, and society, as well as classic studies and theories in the field-including those related to conformity, obedience, identity, and attitudes that remain relevant. Students will evaluate the perspectives, relevancy, and usefulness of social psychology to real world issues and problems.|
|PSY 540||Cognitive Processes||Students will investigate topics in cognitive psychology, including memory, language, attention, learning, and decision-making. Students will evaluate the perspectives, relevancy, and usefulness of cognitive psychology to real world issues and problems.|
|PSY 550||Measurement and Assessment||Learn and apply psychometric techniques commonly used in psychology. Explore measurement techniques and strategies used in the development and administration of psychological tests and assessments. Analyze and assess test and assessment results. Examine the ethical issues related to test and assessment administration and interpretation.|
|PSY 560||Theories of Personality||This course will emphasize contemporary theories, research, and approaches in personality psychology, connecting these to classic theorists such as Freud as well as other historical traditions and perspectives. The past and present impact of these theories within the ever-changing field of psychology will be explored, as well as the impact they have on culturally diverse clients and special populations.|
|PSY 570||Ethical Practice in Psychology||This course provides a comprehensive overview of the principles of ethical practice within the field of psychology. Topics include experimentation, confidentiality, respect, resolving ethical dilemmas, professional standards of conduct, and the psychology of ethical behavior.|
|PSY 632||Developmental Psychology||Research and theoretical perspectives are used to help students understand contemporary topics central to childhood and adolescent development, including cognition, biology, social factors, and emotions. Students will evaluate the perspectives, relevancy, and usefulness of developmental psychology to real world issues and problems.|
|PSY 634||Cognitive Neuropsychology||This course covers the neuropsychological approach in examining the connection between the brain and cognitive processes, as well as dysfunctions, from birth to adolescence. It will explore the techniques used to study the brain and behavior as well as contemporary research and issues in the field.|
|PSY 636||Intervention Strategies||This course introduces students to the major intervention strategies in child and adolescent development. Contemporary strategies will be covered, and traditional approaches and strategies of the field will be examined as needed. Students will also practice applications of the strategies to real-world scenarios.|
|PSY 638||Child and Developmental Psychology Seminar||This course is a culmination of the student's work in child and adolescent psychology. It will bring together the skills and knowledge learned in the previous courses and requires that students demonstrate their proficiency in the areas of developmental psychology, cognitive neuropsychology, and intervention strategies.|
|PSY 790||Capstone in Psychology||This capstone course is the culminating experience for the M.S. in Psychology program. The aim of the capstone is to assess students' ability to synthesize and integrate the knowledge and skills they have developed throughout their coursework, rather than introducing new concepts. This course is structured to support student success in fulfilling program requirements.|
|Total Credits: 36|
Tuition & Fees
Tuition rates for SNHU's online degree programs are among the lowest in the nation. We offer a 25% tuition discount for U.S. service members, both full and part time, and the spouses of those on active duty.
|Online Graduate Programs||Per Course||Per Credit Hour||Annual Cost for 15 credits|
(U.S. service members, both full and part time, and the spouses of those on active duty)*
Tuition rates are subject to change and are reviewed annually.
*Note: students receiving this rate are not eligible for additional discounts.
$150 Graduation Fee, Course Materials ($ varies by course)
Frequently Asked Questions
What does a child psychologist do on a daily basis?
While child psychologists do have a broad background in psychology overall, their focus is on children and adolescents. This includes patients from the very young to age 19.
The work involves evaluating children for a range of disorders, such as anxiety and depression, learning disabilities or attention deficit disorder. On a daily basis, the work may include interviewing new patients and conducting assessments, performing psychotherapy or administrating diagnostic tests and determining a treatment plan.
The work may take place in a hospital or private practice, or perhaps in a clinic. Because child psychologists also work with adolescents up to age 19, the work may also happen at a university or even a prison or teen detention center.
What can I do with a master's degree in child development?
With a master’s in child development, there are many opportunities available to make a real difference in the lives of others. Studying child and adolescent development involves studying how people grow and adapt at different life stages. Expertise in this area allows you to help others reach their full potential, be it through clinical work, education or as an advocate.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the job market across all positions for psychologists is expected to grow by 14% from 2018 to 2028.1 The median salary for psychologists was $80,370 in 2019.1 Note: The title "psychologist" requires a doctoral degree.
Of course, a master’s in child development can prepare you for a variety of career options. Some possible career paths include:
- School psychologist: In this role, you might be part of a team to support the ability of students to learn. More specifically, you might be in a position to apply your professional expertise in mental health and child development to help students of all ages succeed academically and behaviorally. Becoming a school psychologist typically involves advanced education, training and licensure, depending on local requirements.
- Clinical psychologist: This is a specialized role that requires licensure to work with others in a mental health setting. As a clinical psychologist specializing in child and adolescent psychology, you might diagnose and treat people in this age group who have a variety of mental, behavioral and emotional illnesses.
- School counselor: Working full time in a school, the person in this role may use their child development background to help students develop both academic and social skills. They may provide advice and guidance on career or college choices, and generally help direct students so they may move forward in school and in life with confidence. As with school psychologists, becoming a school counselor may require additional training and licensure.
- Social worker: A background in child development may be especially helpful for the person in this role. You may work to help others solve problems relating to their family structure and home life. You may help protect vulnerable children and families and provide support to ensure their safety. You may also receive additional training and licensure qualifying you to diagnose and treat a variety of mental, behavioral and emotional issues.
- Child advocate: In this role, you may work as a lobbyist, taking action to influence lawmakers to create more legal protections for children and families. You may work to ensure that a child’s behavioral, medical and emotional needs are met. Or, you may facilitate court ordered family visitations or attend court hearings as an advocate to a child.
- Qualified intellectual disability professional: This is a specialized role where a strong background in child and adolescent development can be very helpful. In this role, you may work with individuals or small groups to help persons with intellectual disabilities learn life skills and job skills.
Note: Becoming a psychologist requires a doctoral degree. Many of the positions above require education, training or licensure beyond a master's degree.
Whichever career path you choose, you can have the opportunity to apply your understanding of how people learn and develop at different stages of life.
“While a bachelor’s provides required knowledge in the field, pursuing an advanced degree affords learners the opportunity to expand on the foundational knowledge and focus on a specialized area within the field,” said Dr. Nickolas Dominello, associate dean of social sciences at Southern New Hampshire University (SNHU).
With a master's in child development, you will have the unique training and understanding necessary to help others grow, adapt and reach their fullest potential in all areas of life.
Can I take child development classes online?
Not only are child development classes available online, they are available at a high level of rigor and accessibility.
When considering an online program, it’s important to ensure that the school is accredited. You should also look for evidence that the school has a demonstrated commitment to student success. Internship and experiential opportunities can round out an online education and prepare you for the workplace.
Perhaps the best part of studying for a master's in child development online is the ability to customize the pace of your education. Courses are available 24/7, so you can complete your work on your schedule and at your pace. At Southern New Hampshire University (SNHU), our instructors are professionals working in their respective fields, so you will benefit from their professional expertise as well as from the subject matter.
With SNHU, you will be able to take courses such as:
- Developmental Psychology: This course provides a deep dive into the theoretical perspectives of child and adolescent development.
- Cognitive Neuropsychology: Closely examine the psychology behind how the brain works. The study of the brain and behavior are the hallmarks of this course.
- Intervention Strategies: Both contemporary and traditional methods for interventions within child and adolescent development may be covered here. You may also have the opportunity to apply this knowledge to real-world scenarios.
- Child and Developmental Psychology Seminar: This course may take a holistic view of child and adolescent psychology, integrating all skills learned throughout the master's in child development online program.
Each of these courses is designed to provide you with top-of-the-line instruction in the field of child development so that whichever direction you choose to take your career, you are ready to help others reach their fullest potential.
How many years does it take to become a child psychologist?
A great deal of formal education is required to become a licensed child psychologist. A bachelor’s degree online, or on campus, in a related field is the best place to start. From there, a master's in child psychology or other related field is the best next step.
At Southern New Hampshire University, you'll get the opportunity to begin your career in psychology with us even if your existing bachelor’s degree is in another field. If needed, you’ll simply complete up to 3 foundational courses in general psychology to prepare you for the major coursework in the degree program.
While the child psychology master’s program does not lead to licensure or certification, students will find the coursework well aligned with industry standards and expectations. You will also graduate with the preparation necessary for doctoral-level coursework should you choose to continue with your studies. It can also lead to a host of rewarding careers that allow you to help children and adolescents reach their fullest potential.
At SNHU, the child and adolescent developmental psychology degree can be completed in as little as 15 months. Our admission counselors and academic advisors can help ensure that you receive the maximum number of transfer credits possible based on any past coursework you may have taken. From there, you can take courses at your pace that suit your schedule.
What kind of degree do you need to be a child psychologist?
To become a fully licensed child psychologist, you generally need a doctoral degree in psychology. A focus on an aspect of child psychology, child development or adolescent psychology is also needed.
No matter the area of specialty, every state requires licensure to practice as a clinician. While the MS program at Southern New Hampshire University (SNHU) does not prepare you for state licensure, it does provide the foundation needed for a rich and rewarding career in child and adolescent psychology.
Our program includes 24 credits of major coursework, including such courses as:
- Social Psychology. Learn about the interactions between people and their environment and society. You may also study theory and perspectives of social psychology.
- Cognitive Processes. Study topics such as memory, language and decision-making for people of all ages.
- Measurement and Assessment. Where you may learn to apply psychometric techniques commonly used in the field of psychology. This could involve analysis and assessment of psychological test results, and the examination of related ethical issues.
What is the average salary of a child psychologist?
The earning potential for psychologists looks bright. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median salary across psychologists of all specialties was $80,370 in 2019.1 Between the years of 2018 and 2028, jobs for psychologists are expected to grow by 14%, which is higher than the national average for all professions.1
Child psychologists may work in a variety of professional settings including local, state and federal government. They may also work in hospitals and clinics or in private practice. It’s also not uncommon for child psychologists to work in elementary and secondary schools, assisting students of all ages.
Southern New Hampshire University is a private, nonprofit institution accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE) as well as several other accrediting bodies.
Sources & Citations (1, 2)
1 Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, on the internet, at: https://www.bls.gov/OOH/life-physical-and-social-science/psychologists.htm (viewed June 15, 2020) Cited projections may not reflect local and/or short-term economic or job conditions and do not guarantee actual job growth.
2 According to more than 9,200 SNHU online students in survey responses from the fall of 2019.