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Master’s in Child Development

Prepare to excel in serving the complex needs of children and their families.

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Acquire Actionable Knowledge of Child Development 

Knowledge of child development can be applied across a range of practice settings and disciplines.

Its study makes it clear that there is potential in everybody. At Erikson, you’ll develop a thorough knowledge of child development and best practices. And you’ll become able to improve the lives of the children and families in your care.

Internships are an important component of your Master’s in Child Development degree work. For two semesters, you’ll put theory into practice by working during the day at custom-selected field placement locations. (Child Life concentration students will complete a 600-hour child life internship.)

Join One of The Nation’s Top Grantors of Master’s Degrees in Child Development

Start this Fall or Spring and earn your Master’s in Child Development degree with our hybrid or online program if you choose the Core concentration. Child Life concentration students start on Campus in the Fall term only.

33-41 Credit Hours

Campus, Hybrid or Online

Fall or Spring Start Date

Part Time: 3 years

Full-Time: 2 years or 28 months


Our Master’s in Child Development Program is Made For You

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Flexible Study Options

Study part-time or full-time based on your needs.

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Specialized Pathways

Select the specific concentration courses that will prepare you for your chosen focus.

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Faculty Experts

Collaborate with our nationally recognized faculty, build a respected network of colleagues, and learn from the field’s leading voices.

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Small, Personal Classes

Be seen and heard working closely with your professors and peers.

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Self-Reflective Supervision Seminars

Learn resilience and healthy professional practices from experienced practitioners.

Gain Experience with Extraordinary Child Development Field Placements

Put theory into practice.

Learning can never be confined to a classroom — nor should it. Field work is a critical component of your Master’s in Child Development degree work.

For two semesters, you will be working during the day at custom-selected internship locations for at least 15 hours per week. When you graduate, you’ll be ready to take your learning and lead in your career path.

450 +
Internship Hours Over 1 Year
200 +
Chicago-based Internship Opportunities


Choose From 2 Specialized Child Development Concentrations

Each concentration allows you to delve deep into a key area of child development. You’ll build a toolkit of new skills to help you thrive in this demanding field.

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Prepare for your role as a Certified Child Life Specialist in hospitals and community-based medical centers

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Prepare to work with children, birth to age 8, and their families in a wide range of non-clinical settings. 

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Financial Services

How Much Does a Master’s in Child Development Degree Cost?

Your Master’s in Child Development degree shouldn’t break the bank.

With dozens of scholarships and financial aid opportunities, we’re here to help you achieve your professional goals.

Financial Aid Options Tuition & Fees


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Apply Now for Priority Scholarship Considerations

Applications received before March 15th (for Fall) and November 15th (for Spring) are given priority consideration for scholarship awards.

Start My Application

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Career Services

Erikson Institute Supports You at Every Step of Your Journey

Our Career Services team is there for you in both the preparation and search for a job.

  • Career counseling and workshops
  • Annual job fair and networking events
  • Interview prep and resume reviews
  • Career placement program
  • Student and graduate resume book

With hundreds of partnerships and robust networks of alumni and field experts, the Career Services team is here to help you put your education into practice.

Meet our Career Specialists

Employers Hire Erikson Graduates

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Claire Dunham
Senior Vice President Start Early
“ We have hired over a dozen Erikson graduates over the years because they share our vision of excellence in early childhood and understand that self-awareness is a professional competency. ”

Career Paths

Open New Career Doors with Your Erikson Degree in Child Development

Once you graduate, you’ll be able to put your Degree in Child Development to work right away. Here are a few of the roles Erikson graduates take on after graduation.

Learn more about Career Services

  • Certified Child Life Specialist
  • Program director/administrator
  • Family/parent support specialist
  • Research specialist
  • Developmental therapist
  • Home visiting supervisor

Hear from Our Alumni

Eunique Drinkard
MS Child Development 2017
“ Working and being an Erikson student at the same time played a huge role in expanding my goals and vision for my profession. I took my newfound knowledge right into my workplace. ”
Miranda Franco
MS Child Development 2022
“ Although having worked many years in the field, one of my educational goals for pursuing my graduate degree at Erikson was to understand the role of theory and how the whole child develops. Erikson has expanded my knowledge and given me the opportunity to look beyond the surface and truly dive into the why’s of what is developmentally appropriate, policy-making decisions and think about what is truly happening. ”


Explore a Few of Our Degree in Child Development Program Courses

Want to know what you’ll uncover while embarking on your Degree in Child Development? Check out a few examples of the courses you’ll take in our program.

See all MSCD courses

Family and Culture
This course is designed to help students gain knowledge about diversity through an examination of social science research on child development, child rearing across cultures, and issues of equity, power, and privilege.
Social & Emotional Development I:  Infancy and Childhood
This course focuses on the study of social and emotional development in children from birth through age eight.
Physical Growth and Development
This course is an examination of physical growth and development beginning with prenatal development and extending through eight years of age.
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Erikson is a Gateways to Opportunity Credential Entitled Institution.

Erikson Institute has partnered with Illinois Gateways to Opportunity to be able to provide an entitled application route for many of our certificate and degree programs.

Students in the Core concentration may seek these additional Illinois Gateways to Opportunity credentials to help demonstrate your content knowledge, skills and experience, especially to potential employers within Illinois.

Learn more

Your Professors are Scholars & Leaders in the Field

Our faculty and teaching staff are nationally recognized. With specific research interests and decades of experience, each of our faculty enriches your academic experience, connecting you to new networks and the latest data.

Meet the MSCD Faculty

Jennifer Rosinia
Jennifer Rosinia
Program Director, Child Development; Senior Instructor
“ When you work with children in any capacity, the right child development knowledge can have a transformative effect on the relationship. At Erikson, you’ll develop deeper insight on the ‘why that underlies children and families’ thinking, behavior, and emotions and learn a broad repertoire of ways to respond and interact with them. ”


Master’s in Childhood Development Program FAQs

Here are answers to frequently asked questions.

We award over $2 million in scholarships to students enrolled in our degree and certificate programs. Erikson also participates in the federal Direct Loan programs, and assuming you meet all eligibility requirements, you will have access to both Unsubsidized and Graduate PLUS loans to help finance your Erikson education.

Over 90% of our students work either part-time or full-time as they are pursuing their Erikson degree. You can choose to enroll at Erikson as part of the day cohort with most of your classes during the day on Mondays and Wednesdays, or as part of the evening cohort, which will allow you to take your classes in the evenings. The cohort model allows you to balance your work and Erikson course schedules.

The other factor to consider as you think about your work schedule is whether you want to pursue your master’s degree program in two or three years. While there are always exceptions to this, most students who wish to work full time while enrolled at Erikson opt for the three-year program. Students who have more flexibility in their work schedule or want to complete their program in a shorter period of time while working part-time tend to enroll in the two-year program.

It’s important to note that depending on your chosen concentration and specific internship requirements, you will be required to be available during business hours two or three days per week during your internship year. Evening/weekend internships are very uncommon, so we encourage you to plan ahead and communicate as necessary with your employer in advance of your final year in the master’s program.

The staff in our Field Education and Career Services Office will work with you to prepare you for seeking positions while you’re enrolled at Erikson and upon graduating from the program. You’ll receive feedback on your resume and cover letters, and we also maintain a job board on our campus portal where employers list part-time and full-time positions for which they’re hiring.

The Career Services team also plans an annual social work, early education, and child development job fair for Erikson students and alumni. In concert with the job fair, you can submit your resume to be included in an annual Resume Book that we distribute to organizations and managers who are interested in hiring Erikson students and alumni.

Erikson students live in a wide range of neighborhoods in Chicago and in the suburbs. We do not offer campus housing. While we can’t make specific recommendations about where you should live, we encourage you to find a neighborhood that suits your style, taste, and budget. To help you in your housing search, we work closely with StudentSpace, a free apartment-finding service that specializes in helping graduate students find housing in Chicago.

Because of Erikson’s small size, you’ll have access to a wide range of both informal and formal student support services. These include:

  • The Field Education and Career Services team will help you identify and apply for your internship placement. Erikson has hundreds of pre-approved internship sites, so you don’t have to worry about finding a placement site on your own.
  • Advising about your financial aid options, including personal financial education, is coordinated through the Financial Aid Office.
  • Academic advising is facilitated through your faculty advisor and program director.
  • The Academic Success Center provides services to help you with the academic reading and writing expectations of your program. The Center also sponsors discussion groups for selected master’s program courses.
  • The Director of Disability Services provides advising and support for students with disabilities and students who need accommodations for their academic work.
  • WorkLifeMatters is a confidential student assistance program offered to all Erikson students through Guardian and Integrated Behavioral Health (IBH). You have unlimited access to consult with a professional counselor via telephone. Face-to-face counseling sessions are available, if needed, with an IBH network provider — and up to eight sessions are free of charge as part of WorkLifeMatters.
  • Validated parking at a reduced rate is provided to Erikson students in three nearby parking garages. You will also have access to deeply discounted public transportation through the CTA U-Pass program.

This program is available online with the Core Concentration. Students will need to select from available online elective courses.

Students interested in Child Life will need to attend courses on campus.

You will be responsible for identifying potential internship locations. Erikson will support you in securing an internship with mentoring and coaching.