School of Behavioral and Brain Sciences

HUMAN DEVELOPMENT AND EARLY CHILDHOOD DISORDERS MS

Group of Children

The Master of Science in Human Development and Early Childhood Disorders (HDCD) degree prepares students to work with young children (birth to five years) and their families in early childhood intervention programs, special needs preschools and other professional settings, including schools, hospitals, and clinics. In addition to a strong foundation in children’s physical, cognitive, emotional and social development the program provides specialized training in developmental assessment, identification and intervention techniques for developmental disorders, and in family-centered developmental guidance for parents.  The degree combines coursework with practical experiences in a variety of community settings including homes, preschools, specialized intervention programs and clinics. Many HDCD courses and supervised practicum and internship experiences meet competencies required for First3Years Endorsement (IMH-E®), an internationally recognized credential that supports and recognizes the development and proficiency of professionals who work with or on behalf of infants, toddlers, and their families. HDCD coursework also meets competencies for Child Life Specialist certification.

Degree Program

The Master of Science in Human Development and Early Childhood Disorders degree requires a minimum of 42 graduate credit hours: 24 hours of core courses, nine hours of approved elective courses, and nine hours of practicum and internship in applied settings designed to prepare students to work with children and their families.

Practicum and internship placements are tailored to students’ interests and training needs and take advantage of the diverse and innovative early intervention programs serving young children and their families in North Texas, including those conducted by the UT Dallas Center for Children and Families. All off-campus field experiences, including practicum and internship placements, require a criminal background check; students who fail the criminal background check will not be able to complete the master’s degree.

The UT Dallas graduate catalog provides more information on the Master of Science in Human Development and Early Childhood Disorders degree. The university’s course look-up site, CourseBook, describes specific courses in the HDCD program.

Career Paths

The HDCD master’s degree program is designed for students who are interested in careers serving the families of young children who show or are at risk for developmental delays and disorders. It will be of special interest to students who wish to work in early childhood intervention programs, special needs preschools and other professional settings, including schools, hospitals, and medical/therapy clinics. Graduates are qualified to work as early intervention specialists and developmental specialists in various community programs.

Admissions

Admission to the HDCD master’s degree program is based on a review of the applicant’s grade point average (GPA), scores on the Graduate Record Exam (GRE), three letters of recommendation, and a “statement of purpose” essay describing the applicant’s specific interests and career goals. See the UT Dallas graduate admissions page for general information on the application process.

To be accepted for the fall semester, completed applications are due by May 1.

Specific questions about applying to the HDCD master’s degree program should be directed to Melanie Davis.

Although the program is designed for students with backgrounds in psychology, special education, physical and occupational therapy, early childhood education, speech/language pathology and communication disorders, students from other disciplines who have relevant experiences and interests are also encouraged to apply.

Financial Aid

General information on financial aid for graduate students is available via the UT Dallas graduate admissions page. Financial aid for master’s students in the HDCD program is limited and is awarded on a competitive basis after students have been admitted to the program. Please contact the Program Head for more information about funding opportunities for master’s students in the HDCD program.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Program Contacts

Program Mailing Address

Human Development and Early Childhood Disorders Master’s Degree Program
ATTN Melanie Davis

School of Behavioral and Brain Sciences
The University of Texas at Dallas
800 W. Campbell Rd, GR41
Richardson, TX 75080

Phone: 972-883-2588

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