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Child and Adolescent Development Specialization Master of Science in Psychology

Harold Abel School of Psychology

Become a Leader & Expert in Child Development

Prepare to become an expert and leader in organizations serving children and adolescents. Capella University—one of only a few online universities to offer a master's in psychology, child, and adolescent development degree—helps you learn to address mental health, social, and educational issues. You’ll gain an understanding of how to develop and advocate for policies that can make a positive impact on the lives of children and adolescents.

This program can boost your ability to research, evaluate, and employ best practices that can be applied in areas such as education, human services, and behavioral health, to name a few.

At a Glance

  • Online
  • FlexPath Available
  • 4 Core Courses
  • 6 Specialization Courses
  • Integrative Project

Reduce Your Tuition by $3,000

Enroll in a qualified program, apply for a $3K scholarship, and meet the eligibility requirements.

Apply Now »

Classes Start June 3rd

Ready to get started? We’re ready for you. Chat with an enrollment counselor or apply now to take the first step on the journey toward your future.

$50 application fee (waived w/promo SPRING)

What you’ll learn

Gain Deep Understanding

Research and evaluate sources of knowledge, theory, and best practices within child development. 

Analyze & Evaluate

Critically examine the scientific and practical value of research and literature pertaining to child and adolescent development.

Communicate Effectively

Enhance your ability to communicate knowledge, theory, and best practices.

Be an Ethical Leader

Apply ethical and best professional practice principles to your work with children, adolescents, and families.

Honor Diversity

Recognize, value, and respect cultural and ethnic diversity among children, adolescents, and their families.

MS in Child and Adolescent Development Program Features

Our program offers additional benefits you might be interested in.

Scholar-Practitioner Faculty

All our faculty members hold doctorates and bring years of experience, as well as the latest theories and practices to students.

Relevant & Applicable

Our competency-based learning model allows you to immediately apply valuable skills to the work you do every day.

An Extra-Flexible Schedule

Thanks to FlexPath, you can earn your degree on your own schedule, at your own pace, potentially saving you time and money.  

Professionally Credible, Professionally Aligned 

This specialization is built upon core foundational psychology coursework to ensure professional credibility. It's designed to help prepare you to work with and support the growth and development of children and adolescents.

Cost & learning format

Online education isn’t one-size-fits-all. We know you’re busy—you need a learning experience tailored to your life, not the other way around. Capella has learning and tuition formats to suit you, however you learn. 

Our original learning format offers extra structure for those who want it. We'll set the schedule, you meet the deadlines. 

  • Based on the quarter system; 1-3 courses per 10-week quarter
  • 1 semester credit = 1.5 quarter credits
  • Weekly assignments and courseroom discussions
  • Pay for what you take, price varies by courseload or term
$19,400$26,675* MAX TRANSFER CREDITS–TYPICAL TRANSFER CREDITS
$485 per credit, 55 total quarter credits, 15 max transfer credits

Our self-paced learning format lets you take courses at your own speed, moving onto the next course when you're ready.

  • Take unlimited courses (up to two at a time) per 12-week billing session
  • 2 Capella quarter credits = 1 program point
  • Set your own deadlines, no courseroom discussions
  • Pay a flat tuition fee per session*
$10,800$21,600* ACCELERATED PACE–TYPICAL PACE
$2,700 per 12-week billing session, 27.5 total program points, 8 max transfer points

*This is only an estimate, using general program pricing. Your price may be higher or lower depending on your specialization, transfer credits, tuition discounts, and (in FlexPath) the speed at which you move through the program. Fees, including application fees and resource kits, are not included in this estimate. The GuidedPath prices show the tuition you would pay if you brought in the average number of transfer credits or the maximum allowed transfer credits. The FlexPath prices show the tuition you would pay if you brought in an average number of transfer credits and you moved at the speed of a typical FlexPath student or as quickly as the fastest FlexPath students (90th percentile). New or recently revised programs base their estimate on comparable programs. Military Tuition Assistance (TA) is not available for FlexPath.

Get the details

Speak with an enrollment counselor to get a personalized cost estimate for what you can expect to pay.

Ways to save

At Capella, we believe your education is an investment in your future. It’s also an investment within your grasp. Your goals are achievable—there are more ways to save than you might think. 

10% military discount

If you're an active-duty military service member, spouse, or veteran, discounts may be available.

Transfer credits

We can accept many transfer credits from regionally accredited schools.

Employer & association discounts

If your employer or organization is a partner with Capella, you may be eligible for a tuition discount.

Student Success Story

"I started to implement what I was learning while I was taking classes."


Terri Masters Cohen
MS in Psychology, Child and Adolescent Development

Enjoy the Convenience & Flexibility of Online Learning 

Access your engaging, online learning environment anytime, anywhere, with any device, and set your own schedule while meeting deadlines.

Accredited & recognized

Capella University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Accreditation and recognitions provide the assurance we meet standards for quality of faculty, curriculum, learner services, and fiscal stability. See all of our accreditations and recognitions

Master's in Child and Adolescent Development Sample Courses

Curriculum in Capella’s online master’s in psychology, child and adolescent development program focuses on prenatal, child, and adolescent development, physical and mental health, and social and educational issues in child and adolescent development.

Show course with description
PSY6010
Human Prenatal Development

This course provides learners with an overview of prenatal and postnatal development through the first three months of life. Learners analyze genetic and reproductive technology and articulate its impact on families and society. Learners review and demonstrate their knowledge of the stages of prenatal development (embryonic and fetal), focusing specifically on brain development and fetal life. In addition, learners examine various prenatal illnesses and physical problems resulting from birth complications. The course presents research, theory, and best practices related to promoting healthy newborn and infant development.

5 quarter credits
PSY6020 *
Topics in Child and Adolescent Development

Learners in this course critically evaluate and apply theory and research to child and adolescent development issues and current topics. Learners analyze the impact of policy and legislation in areas such as education, health, mental health, the military, media, and the economy on child and adolescent developmental outcomes and advocate for issues related to policy and legislation that improve the lives of children and adolescents. Prerequisite(s): PSY6010; PSY7220 or PSY7230.

5 quarter credits
PSY7210
Lifespan Development

In this course, learners gain and apply knowledge of lifespan development from infancy through adulthood, including human development processes and milestones. Learners evaluate theories and approaches for examining human development and analyze human development processes related to their specialization.

5 quarter credits
PSY7220
Child Psychology

In this course, learners gain and apply knowledge of the developmental stages of children from the prenatal period to adolescence. Learners examine how children develop physically, emotionally, socially, and cognitively, and evaluate and articulate the influences of family, society, and culture on child and adolescent development. Learners also assess children’s evolving needs and apply theory and research to recommend appropriate responses to those needs.

5 quarter credits
PSY7230
Adolescent Psychology

In this course, learners gain and apply knowledge of the developmental stages from early adolescence to emerging adulthood. Learners evaluate and articulate the physical, psychosocial, emotional, sexual, moral, and cognitive changes associated with adolescent development and examine the ways in which adolescent development is influenced by family, society, and culture. Learners also assess the evolving needs of adolescents and apply theory and research in order to recommend appropriate responses to those needs.

5 quarter credits

Faculty & support

You’re never going it alone at Capella. Our dedicated faculty and support teams are waiting to guide, help, and advise you through every step of your educational journey.

Enrollment counselors

These experts will set you up for success. They’ll help you find the right degree and program, and answer all your questions about Capella.

Advisors

Advisors know the details of your program. Got questions about courses? Instructors? Resources? Advisors have answers.

Faculty

Our courses are taught by distinguished faculty members who hold top credentials and have hands-on expertise in their fields. They know what you need to know today.

Career center

For this team, it's more than resumes and interview tips. It's about thoughtful and strategic career planning—beyond graduation.

Child Development Career Insights

What Is Child and Adolescent Development?

Society, family, and culture all play a role in the development of children and adolescents. 

Understanding the Differences Between Clinical and Non-Clinical Psychology

Learn how licensure, education methods, and workplaces differ in clinical vs. non-clinical psychology.

Which Psychology Career Path Is Best for Me?

A visual guide to help you find a career in psychology that fits your personal and professional ambitions.

MS in Child and Adolescent Development Professional Paths

Here are just some of the career options you could explore with our online master's in psychology, child and adolescent development degree.

Related Job Titles to Explore*

  • Adjunct or part-time faculty
  • Before/after school program director
  • Child care center manager
  • Child development specialist
  • Child life specialist
  • Child protective services manager
  • Child/youth program director
  • Consultant
  • Early childhood education specialist
  • Instructor
  • Intervention advocate
  • Research assistant

Related Employment Settings to Explore

  • Child and family service agency
  • Community college
  • Early childhood education program
  • Government—local, state federal
  • Group home
  • Health care
  • Law enforcement
  • Nonprofit organization
  • Religious organization
  • Social service agency

*These are examples intended to serve as a general guide. Some positions may prefer or even require previous experience, licensure, certifications, and/or other designations along with a degree. Because many factors determine what position an individual may attain, Capella cannot guarantee that a graduate will secure any specific job title, a promotion, salary increase, or other career outcome. We encourage you to research requirements for your job target and career goals.

Other programs to explore

Is this program close to what you need, but maybe not a perfect fit? The programs below might be interesting. Check them out to find one that suits your academic and professional goals.

Ready for the Next Step?

Learning online doesn't mean going it alone. Help is here. From faculty, coaches, advisors, and more. Plus a supportive community of students who are as passionate about their careers as you are about yours.