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Master of Arts in Child Development

Cal State L.A.’s Department of Child and Family Studies offers a Master of Arts degree in Child Development. This degree prepares individuals to understand the relationship between theory, research, and practice and to apply this knowledge to issues in the field of human development. Students are trained to think and write critically about human development by identifying and solving real-world problems, advocating for individuals and families, and disseminating knowledge. The Department seeks to improve the quality of life for individuals at all levels of development within diverse environments.

Admissions Overview

New students are admitted to the program once per year, in the Fall, with the application deadline in Spring as follows: 

Priority Deadline: February 15, 2023
General Deadline: March 15, 2023

Applicants must submit an online application to the University: For more information, you can visit the Graduate Admissions Website ( or call (323)-343-3901.  

On the Cal State Apply website, select the Cal State LA campus and the MA program in Child Development. Complete all “quadrants” of the application, including the supplemental department application. The supplemental application will require the following: 

  • Two letters of recommendation: the applicant will supply the contact information for the recommenders, and the Cal State Apply system will request the letters directly from the recommenders. 
  • Personal Statement (500-700 words) 
  • Professional philosophy (150-200 words) 
  • Diversity statement (150-200 words) 

Program Details

The Master of Arts degree in Child Development strengthens professional competence and prepares individuals for various leadership positions as child development specialists.

Characteristics of Degree:

Interdisciplinary faculty
Developmental theories
Social, cognitive, and language development
Risk and resiliency
Research methods and statistics
Opportunity to overlap with teaching credential requirements or other certificate programs

Education Style Related to the Degree:

Small, seminar-style classes
Intimate learning environment
Supplement classes with electives for an individual career path
Individual fieldwork
The option of a Comprehensive Exam, Thesis, or Culminating project.

Career Pathways Related to the Degree:

Child Development Specialist
Preschool Teacher and/or Administrator
Child Life Specialist
Parent and Community Educator
Non-Profit Organization
Community College Instructor
Preparation for Doctoral Study

Program Learning Outcomes

Students will integrate their understanding of advanced concepts and theories related to human development through exams, writing assignments, and oral presentations.
Students will implement their advanced knowledge of specific developmental concepts related to their individual career goals within professional settings.
Students will demonstrate quantitative reasoning by formulating and conducting research showing sensitivity to ethical standards and diversity. 
Students will articulate advanced concepts and promote awareness of the needs of today’s diverse children and families to stakeholders at the local, state, and national levels.