MA in Child Study and Human Development

Our master's program is committed to training our students to be scholars and practitioners who want to make a difference in the lives of children and adolescents and impact the contexts in which they live: families, schools, and communities. Join small classes led by innovative faculty and be immersed in interdisciplinary research that includes virtually every major influence on children's and adolescents' lives.

After their first semester in the program, students choose whether they want to pursue the applied track or the thesis track, and whether they wish to concentrate in a specific area.

Upon completion of the MA, many of our graduates enter a CSHD-related profession; others enter doctoral or other degree or licensure programs; some work for a few years before going on to further studies. Recent jobs obtained by graduates of our MA program include:

  • Developmental Specialist in an early intervention program
  • Child Development Specialist/Early Childhood Mental Health Consultation in a community-based non-profit organization
  • Child Advocate in juvenile and family courts
  • Family Therapist in a therapeutic school
  • Mental Health Specialist in a psychiatric hospital
  • Research Coordinator in a pediatric unit of a hospital
  • Curriculum Specialist in a public school
  • Technology Consultant in an after-school program
  • Assistant to the Director of a children's television program
  • Director of summer camp programs
  • Bilingual Intensive Care Coordinator in a community-based non-profit organization
  • Assistant Program Coordinator in a hospital-based non-profit organization working with individuals with autism
  • Transition Specialist in an autism program

Applied Track

Eliot-Pearson's location in the Boston area provides a wide variety of applied opportunities in teaching hospitals, clinics, therapeutic centers, schools, after-school programs, juvenile justice facilities, the Massachusetts state government, children's media, and hundreds of agencies and organizations serving children, adolescents, and families. Our faculty are extremely well connected with agencies in and around Boston, and offer students help obtaining internships. All students, whether on the applied or thesis track, have the opportunity to work in multiple settings for credit or just for experience. Moreover, students are not left "out there in the field"; rather their work is guided by faculty who meet with them regularly to oversee their applied work and support them in making the theory-research-application links that Eliot-Pearson so highly values.

Applied Track Requirements

Thesis Track

In the thesis track of the master's program, students participate in faculty research labs and projects. They attend research meetings, conduct literature reviews, locate participants, collect data, analyze data, and write up research reports, articles, and books for publication. There are often opportunities to guide a research proposal through the IRB process and gain grant proposal writing skills. Some master's students end up directing a study of their own. For further information about research opportunities, see Faculty Profiles and Research.

Thesis Track Requirements

Concentrations of Study

The master's program offers three concentrations of study (Clinical-Developmental Health and Psychology, 21st Century Literacies, Identity in Global Context) for students who wish to focus on one of these areas within child, youth, and/or family development. Alternatively, a student may wish to develop an individualized plan of study (IPS), which is constructed together with the academic advisor. All students, whether pursuing a concentration or an IPS, must also meet the generalized requirements as described under the "thesis" and "applied" tracks to build strong theoretical and research foundation in child and family development. Students learn about concentrations and the IPS during the master's Pro-Seminar and decide at the end of their first semester whether they intend to pursue a concentration or IPS. If one of the department-offered concentrations is selected, it will appear on the transcript.

Clinical-Developmental Health and Psychology

The concentration in Clinical-Developmental Health and Psychology focuses on the health and well-being of children and adolescents in a variety of settings including schools, families, clinics, hospitals, and early intervention centers. The concentration provides training in understanding clinical issues of health and well-being from a developmental and systems-based perspective (e.g., family, community, and culture). The Clinical-Developmental Health and Psychology curriculum is designed to provide breadth and depth in the concentration. Students in this concentration typically take courses with clinical-developmental applications and pursue research and/or practice-based applied experiences in clinical and health-related settings that support children, youth, and families in diverse and challenging contexts. The coursework and fieldwork opportunities offered in this concentration support student interest in direct service, advocacy, media, policy, and research.


  • Foundational courses (2 courses/6 credits):
    • CSHD 211: Theories of Human Development
    • One of the following:
      • CSHD 151 Advanced Intellectual Development or approved alternate
      • CSHD 155: Language Development or approved alternative
      • CSHD 161: Advanced Personal & Social Development or approved alternate
      • CSHD 163: Infancy: Prenatal to Age Three
      • CSHD 164/262: Cultural Sensitivity/Diversity
      • CSHD 168: Adolescent Development and the Transition to Adulthood
      • CSHD 190: Children with Special Needs
      • CSHD 191: Developmental Psychopathology & Adaptation
      • CSHD 193: Pediatric Psychology
      • CSHD 248: Applied Developmental Science
  • Concentration courses (2 from electives courses and not taken as foundation course; 6 credits):
    • CSHD 120: Assessment of Children
    • CSHD 149: Evidence Based Interventions with Children and Youth
    • CSHD 281: Consultation and Collaboration Strategies (must be taken second year)
    • CSHD 164: Cultural Diversity in Child and Family Services or CSHD 262: Cultural Sensitivity in Child and Family Research/Practice
    • CSHD 190: Children with Special Needs
    • CSHD 191: Developmental Psychopathology and Adaptation
    • CSHD 193: Pediatric Psychology
    • CSHD 143: Autism Across the Lifespan
    • CSHD 143: Sexuality and Gender
    • CSHD 143: Health Promotion for Youth and Adults with Disabilities
    • CSHD 143: Child Life and Children in Hospitals

21st Century Literacies: Media and Technology

The interdisciplinary concentration 21st Century Literacies: Media & Technology is intended to prepare students to use, design and critically evaluate new media and technologies for young people; to participate and direct the implementation of programs aimed at using these to foster children's development; and to acquire technical skills and theoretical knowledge that will contribute to their development as researchers and/or practitioners in this emergent field. Students will have the possibility of a field experience in a setting where technology and media is used in the Boston area or in a research lab at Tufts such as the Center for Educational Engineering Outreach (CEEO). This concentration takes a psychosocial approach to technology and media and includes the creative use of technology for teaching and learning. The concentration prepares students to understand and work towards the positive role that technology and media can play as a literacy of the 21st century in all aspects of human development. Working with the advisors, students will choose a plan of study that accommodates their unique needs and unique interdisciplinary backgrounds.


  • Foundational courses (2 courses/6 credits):
    • CSHD 211: Theories of Human Development
    • One of the following:
      • CSHD 145: Technological Tools for Playful Learning
      • CD 267: Children and Mass Media
  • Concentration courses (2 courses-from electives courses and not taken as foundation course; 6 credits):
    • CSHD 145: Technological Tools for Playful Learning
    • CSHD 267: Children and Mass Media
    • CSHD 176: Children's Literature
    • CSHD 167: Children and Mass Media
    • CSHD 159: Understanding Children through Film
    • CSHD 169: Creating Children's Media

Relevant elective courses from other departments can also be taken. Here are some examples.

Course Number Course Title Semester Offered
ANTH 32 Introduction to the Anthropology of Science and Technology Spring
ANTH 136 Cultures of Computing Fall
SOC 40 Media and Society Spring
ILVS 72 Television in the Age of Change Fall
COMP 10 Computer Science for All Spring
COMP 11 Intro to CS Fall and Spring
COMP 150 Human-Robot Interaction Fall and Spring
ED 192-05 Making to Learn Fall
ED 192-06 Educational Design and Design-based Research Spring
PSY 110 Computers in Psychology Irregular
ED 214 STEM Disciplines  Fall

Identity in Global Context

This concentration focuses on the study of identity from multiple disciplinary perspectives, recognizing it as central to the well-being of humans as they negotiate their place and position in local, national, and increasingly connected global communities. Students examine identity as multi-layered and multi-dimensional, with implications for psychological health, civic empowerment, and advocacy to build inclusive and equitable communities that support and enhance the lives of children, youth, and families in diverse contexts. This concentration examines the multiple and intersecting dimensions of identity (e.g., gender, ethnic, racial, sexuality, class, personal), as well as socialization processes through which identities are constructed and negotiated. The course work, opportunities for research, and applied work support student interest in working with children, youth, and families in educational, clinical, health, and extracurricular settings. This includes opportunities for diversity and inclusion leadership in such settings as well as applications and analysis of identity concepts in digital media and the creative arts.


  • Foundational courses (2 courses/6 credits):
    • CSHD 211: Theories of Human Development
    • CSHD 262: (Cultural Sensitivity in Child/Family Research & Practice)
  • Concentration courses (2 from electives courses and not taken as foundation course; 6 credits):
    • CSHD 143-07: (Sexuality and Gender)
    • CSHD 143-19: (Raising Young Moral Citizens)
    • CSHD 143-27: (Gender Development)
    • CSHD 151: (Intellectual Development)
    • CSHD 155: (Language Development)
    • CSHD 157: (Religious-Spiritual Development)
    • CSHD 161: (Advanced Personal and Social Development)
    • CSHD 168: (Adolescent Development)
    • CSHD 177: (Bilingual Studies)
    • CSHD 234: (Children as Earth Stewards)
    • CSHD 261: (Seminar in Personal and Social Development)