Master of Arts in Child Development

The Master of Arts in Child Development is a 36-unit, graduate program designed to provide students an in-depth background in child development and learning. The M.A. in Child Development will provide professional educators in the field of early childhood a deep, interdisciplinary understanding of the theories of intellectual, social, emotional, and biological development of young children. The program prepares graduate students for a wide range of professional objectives by offering an advanced study of developmental theory, research and application. Graduates of the program are expected to be lifelong learners and advocates for young children, with excellent preparation in research, theory, and practice in diverse, multicultural settings.

This program is targeted for students wishing to continue their studies at the graduate level in child development, for professionals currently in careers relating to children and families (e.g., early childhood education, elementary education, special education, or social service professionals), for those wishing to teach early childhood courses at a community college, and for those who plan to pursue doctoral-level studies in related fields such as child/human development, child and family studies, child/adolescent developmental psychology, and clinical/counseling psychology.

Our division is housed in the Holmes Hall building at Tougaloo College. The building houses an Academic Resource Center and partners with the Friends of Children of Mississippi, Inc. to provide an infant/toddler laboratory for research and child assessment learning activities.


The Child Development Program accepts students with a bachelor's degree in child development or related fields. Students may transfer up to six (6) graduate credits if the courses are relevant to the master's program of study. Each individual case will be reviewed. Application for admission to a specific semester must be received by the deadlines listed below:

Fall Deadline - June 1

Spring Deadline - October 1

Summer Deadline - April 1

The following pre-requisites should be met prior to admittance:

  1. A minimum grade-point average of 3.0 in the last 60 semester hours completed in undergraduate/graduate courses.
  2. A minimum of 12 quarter units (or eightsemester units) in upper division early childhood education and/or child development courses.
  3. A course in introductory statistics (an upper division course is strongly recommended).

Application Procedure

All information and forms must be received by the Office of the Registrar and the Division of Education by the appropriate deadline to be guaranteed consideration for current academic year admission. It is the candidate’s responsibility to be sure all information is received.

All applicants whose files are complete by the appropriate deadline will be reviewed and considered for unconditional admission status. All applicants will be notified by letter as to their acceptance or non-acceptance into the program. Late applicants may be considered if there are openings.

Limited financial aid resources are available to our graduate students. Student loans, available through the Guaranteed Student Loan (GSL) program, and may be awarded if you are accepted into the program. Interested applicants are encouraged to contact the campus Financial Aid Office at (601) 977-6164 early (i.e. before March) for information about these loans and other aid possibilities (i.e. grants and scholarships).

Official Transcripts

Send one official copy of transcripts from each college and university you have attended to the Office of the Registrar:

Office of the Registrar
Blackmon Building, Room 108
500 West County Line Road
Tougaloo, Mississippi 39174-9799
601-977-4459 – Office
601-977-4501 – Fax

Graduate Application

Send the following materials to:

Graduate Administration Assistant
Division of Education, Supervision & Instruction
Tougaloo College
500 West County Line Road
Tougaloo, MS 39174-9799

  1. Complete College Application for Graduate Admission at

There is a nonrefundable fee of $50.00 (International candidates ($65.00) made payable to Tougaloo College. Fees should be remitted by cashier’s check or money order payable to Tougaloo College. This fee is nonrefundable, regardless of the admission decision. Former candidates must also submit the application; however, they are not required to submit the application fee.

  1. Personal Statement
    • Written personal statement that includes relevant experience that has prepared you for work in early childhood and/or child development graduate studies (500-1,000 words).
  2. A CV or professional resume
  3. Three (3) confidential letters of recommendation.
    • At least one letter should come from faculty instructor who knows the quality of your academic work and can make relevant comments on your likely success in a graduate program.
    • Letters must be sent directly from the recommender or received in a sealed envelope with the recommender’s signature over the seal.

Requirements for Graduation (36 units)

Students will complete a minimum of 36 semester units of graduate-level courses in child development and learning covering the age span between infancy and age 8. In addition, students will complete coursework relating to e.g., parenting and families, social-emotional development, cognitive development, research methodology, and assessment. To complete their degree students will take elective courses that meet their personal interests within the Division of Education.

By the student's second semester, the research thesis or project should be proposed. All students must conduct an independent written research thesis or project under the supervision of a graduate faculty advisor and thesis/project committee. The topic of the study should relate to child development and the study should focus the student's specialization within a certain domain of child development and a certain age group.

Required Core (24 units)

  • ECD 501: Theory and Research in Child Development Studies (3)
  • ECD 503: Screening and Assessment in Inclusive Early Childhood Settings (3)
  • ECD 504: Research, Design and Evaluation in Education (3)
  • ECD 511: Early Childhood Pathways: Challenges to the Developmental Process (3)
  • ECD 512: Historical, Social and Cultural Contexts of Child Development (3)
  • ECD 525: The Child and the Family: Social, Cultural, and Health-Related Issues at Home and in School (3)
  • ECD 535: Leadership in Early Childhood Programs (3)
  • ECD 541: Teaching Methods in Early Childhood Settings (3)

Electives (6-9units)

Students must select a minimum of six (6) credit hours of elective courseworkfrom 500-level courses in consultation with their graduate advisor that supports an individualized program to support their professional goals.

  • ECD 512: Historical, Social and Cultural Contexts of Child Development (3)
  • ECD 517: Young Children’s Literature: Developmental and Literacy Perspectives (3)
  • ECD 536: Survey of Methods, Materials, and Technology in Early Childhood Education (3)
  • ECD 545: Advanced Curriculum in Early Childhood Education (3)
  • ECD 596: Internship (Birth-8) (6-9)

Thesis or project (6-9units)

A research thesis or project is required for the master’s degree in Child Development. Students should expect to complete all course work in their program and comply with College and division requirements. The thesis or project is undertaken upon approval by a child development faculty committee. Students must take the thesis/project development seminar (ECD 585) course prior to enrolling in thesis/project research (ECD 589). Students must remain enrolled in ECD 589 until their thesis or project is completed.

  • ECD 585 Thesis/project Development Seminar (3) and
  • ECD 589 Thesis/project Research (1-9)

Students must maintain a grade point average of at least 3.0 ("B") in all courses taken to satisfy the Master of Arts degree, grades of "B-" (2.7) or better in each required course in the program, and grades of "C+" (2.5) or better in each elective course. Successful completion of the course work listed above, including the culminating experience consisting of the completion and defense of a comprehensive project or thesis. The graduate writing requirement is met upon successful completion of the culminating experience. Students who fail to register for at least one course in the MACD program each semester will automatically be dropped. Students should maintain continuous enrollment via ECD 589 until the thesis/project is completed. Graduate students in the Master of Arts program must complete their degree requirements within six years of admission to the program.

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For more information:

Division of Education, Supervision, and Instruction
Master of Arts in Child Development Program
Holmes Hall #1
(601) 977-7744