Program structure

How long is the program?

Master’s degree students generally complete the program in two or three years.

Certificate programs are generally two-year, part-time programs. It is possible to complete the infant specialist certificate program (which begins with the summer session) in one calendar year (May–July) by taking two courses in the first summer session.

Ph.D. students usually complete their course work in three years; other requirements, including the dissertation, take another two to three years to complete.

Is Erikson accredited?

Yes, Erikson Institute is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission and is a member of the North Central Association. Erikson’s master’s degrees and certificate programs are approved by the Illinois Board of Higher Education. Erikson’s teacher education program is approved by the Illinois State Board of Education. More on our accreditation

Can I take one class as a time?

Yes, some students will start the program by taking only Human Development I during the first semester. However, to complete the master’s degree within the maximum time frame of five years, students will have to take more than one class during some semesters. Also, students sometimes must schedule more than one class due to joint projects.

What is an integrative seminar?

It is a small-group session with other students serving their internships in areas of similar interests. Read the course description

How many students are enrolled?

Erikson currently has 265 students in the certificate, master’s, and doctoral programs. There are 210 master’s students in four cohorts.

Preparation for Erikson

What classes can I take to prepare myself for Erikson?

While there are no prerequisite courses for admission to Erikson, courses in the social sciences—psychology, sociology, child/human development, education, family studies, human ecology, etc.—will probably be useful. Taking classes in which you are required to write academic papers will also help prepare you for the rigorous demands of graduate education at Erikson.

What volunteer/work can I do to prepare me for Erikson?

We recommend volunteering or working in any setting where you will deal directly with children from birth to age eight and their families. Many students volunteer or work in childcare programs, day schools, social service agencies, etc.

How much experience do I need?

While we expect that applicants have a minimum of one year of practical experience (two years is preferred), we do accept applicants with less experience in the field. However, we typically require admitted students with less experience to work or volunteer during their first year of the program in order to gain experience. Our director of career services can help first-year students find work in the field.

Can I apply to the program before I finish my undergraduate degree?

Yes! We accept applications from students who are still working on an undergraduate degree but will graduate before the beginning of Erikson’s fall semester. If you are accepted to Erikson before graduating, you will be required to submit an official transcript showing the conferring of your bachelor’s degree by the end of your first semester at Erikson.

Admission requirements

What does Erikson look for in a student?

Erikson is looking for future leaders — those who are passionate about making a difference in the early childhood field. We also strive to have a student body that is diverse in background, experience, age, ethnicity, geography, etc.

Learn more about our commitment to diversity, by reading Erikson’s nondiscrimination policy

Is it very competitive to get into Erikson?

Unlike some schools that accept only a specific number of students, Erikson strives to accept as many qualified applicants as possible. (We have created additional course sections in past years in order to accommodate more entering students.) When making an admission decision, we look at each individual applicant’s qualifications as opposed to making “competitive” decisions by comparing applicants to each other.

Is the GRE required?

The Graduate Record Examination is required only for applicants to the Ph.D. program. Master’s and certificate applicants are not required to take the GRE.

Do I have to have a GPA of 2.75 to be considered for admission?

We don’t automatically deny students with a GPA below 2.75. An applicant’s GPA is only one of many factors in making an admission decision. The admissions committee will review your entire application and take into consideration your experience, leadership ability, recommendations, etc. We will also look at any undergraduate or graduate course work taken after your degree was received. If your GPA is below 2.75, we also encourage you to submit a letter of explanation with your application if there were circumstances that affected your academic performance.

Do you accept transfer credits?

Because Erikson’s core curriculum is very structured and sequenced to integrate knowledge across courses, and because Erikson offers limited elective courses, we do not allow students to transfer in credit from other schools.

Do I have to come to Chicago for my interview?

No, we conduct interviews with applicants who are out of the area by phone or Skype; however, we encourage all applicants to interview in person and visit Erikson if possible.

If I apply to the dual degree program and don’t get accepted at Loyola, can I still come to Erikson?

Yes! Erikson and Loyola review dual degree applicants and make admission decisions separately; therefore, if you apply to the dual degree program and are accepted only by Erikson, your can still enroll in the M.S. in child development program.

How much does the program cost?

Tuition for 2015-16 is $1,000 per semester credit hour. Students are charged tuition each semester based on the number of credit hours they are taking. The cost of attendance for a fall and spring semesters in our master’s degree program, including tuition, books, fees, living expenses, transportation, and other personal expenses is approximately $36,000. See tuition and fees page for more information.

Application process

What is the application deadline?

With the exception of the Child Life and Ph.D. programs, Erikson makes admissions decisions on a rolling basis. The priority application deadline is  March 1 for master’s programs. However, we will continue to accept applications after the priority deadline as long as space is available in the entering class. The postmark deadline for the Child Life program is January 15th, and the deadline for the Ph.D. program is February 1.

The application deadline has passed; should I bother to apply?

Absolutely! We continue to review applications until the entering class is full. In past years, we have continued accepting master’s students as late as July and certificate students as late as August.

Are all applicants interviewed?

Yes, all applicants to our degree and certificate are required to interview with a faculty member. Admission interviews are conducted after we have received all required application materials, including transcripts and letters of recommendation. The interview gives us a chance to get to know you personally and gives you a chance to ask questions and get advice about which academic program is best for you.

Can I send my recommendations with my application?

Yes, letters of recommendation can be sent with your application, or recommenders can send letters directly to the Admissions Office. Any letters received before your application will be put in a holding file and matched up with your application when it is received.

Who should my letters of recommendation come from?

If possible, you should try to submit recommendations from people who know about your academic and professional background. We are trying to get a sense of who you will be as a student and as a professional working in the early childhood field.

What should I do if I can’t get any academic recommendations?

If you can’t get an academic recommendation, we would suggest replacing it with a professional recommendation.

How many pages should my essay be?

Try to keep your essay answers to 250–500 words each.

How long will it be after my interview before I find out if I’m accepted into the program?

Typically, you will receive an admission decision within two weeks of your interview.

If I’m accepted, can I wait a year before starting the program?

Yes, we will consider requests for deferring your admission for one year. Requests for deferment should be made in writing. Deferred students will be asked to submit the $100 matriculation fee to hold their space for the following year. Also, if you take any course work at another institution during the deferment year, you must provide us with a transcript, even though the courses are not to be considered for transfer credit.

Internships, jobs and housing

How do I go about finding an internship?

Your faculty adviser and the director of career services will assist you in finding an internship location that meets your interests and fulfills the internship requirements. Erikson has internship sites all over the Chicago metropolitan area in a variety of institutions serving young children and their families.

What type of internships will I be doing?

It depends — students are placed in internships that reflect their interests and career goals. In the past, students have interned in such places as child care centers, schools, hospitals, therapeutic programs, government bureaus, social agencies, and museums.

What type of job can I get after I graduate?

Erikson graduates are employed in a wide variety of settings. For example, Erikson alumni work as teachers, early intervention specialists, program directors and administrators, child development and child life specialists, college and university faculty, consultants, advocates, and policymakers. See what careersyou can pursue with an Erikson education

Financial matters

What kind of financial aid is available?

Erikson is committed to helping students finance their graduate education by offering need-based grants, scholarships, merit-based fellowships that include a living stipend, and low-interest federal student loans.

How many people get financial aid?

Approximately three-fourths of master’s students receive financial assistance including scholarships, need-based grants and loans. A limited number of scholarships are also available for certificate and Ph.D. students. Eligible certificate students may receive low-interest federal student loans.

Learn more

Can you put me in contact with a student or graduate to talk about Erikson?

Yes. E-mail Valerie Williamsor call her 312-893-7142. She can put you in touch with an alum or current student.