The master of science program in human development and early childhood disorders offers a professional program of study.
The program is designed for students who want to work with infants and young children, ages birth to 5 years, and their families in early childhood intervention programs, special needs preschools and other professional settings, including schools, hospitals, therapy and medical clinics. Classroom training is combined with practical experience in a variety of community settings including clinical, home and early educational settings. For students who are interested in working toward the Texas Infant Mental Health Endorsement or Child Life certification, the HDCD coursework meets many of the competencies.
The program offers a strong foundation in the normative path of physical, cognitive, emotional and social development with specialized training in diagnostic and intervention techniques for early childhood disorders, and family-centered developmental guidance for parents. A major focus is on how these areas are interrelated and affect the child’s development and family system as a whole.
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The master of science in human development and early childhood disorders requires a minimum of 45 semester hours: 27 hours of core courses, 9 hours of approved elective courses, three hours of a practicum and six credit hours of an internship in applied settings designed to prepare students to work with children and their families.
Practicum and internship placements are arranged by the program's Senior Clinical Lecturer, Sherry Bryant, MS, to best fit the student's interests and training needs. Given the advantages of being located in a major metropolitan area with innovative intervention programming for young children and their families, placements are made in many different settings.
Students are advised that participation in any off-campus field experience with families, including practicum and internship requires a criminal background check. Students excluded from off-campus sites for any reason may be unable to complete all degree requirements.
The graduate catalog provides an overview of course descriptions.
The UT Dallas Center for Children and Families provides numerous opportunities for students to be involved in its mission to promote optimal family and child development through research, practice and outreach. These opportunities include practicum experiences in Center programs, such as Juega Conmigo, a playful learning program for children ages 0-3 and their parents, held in high-need communities in Dallas and east Plano. Opportunities are also available to participate in the Center’s outreach services providing developmental screenings for young children and associated developmental guidance for their families. Practicum and internship placements with the Center for Children and Families are also available, working under the supervision of its developmental specialists in working with the children and families served by the Center.
The program is designed for students who are interested in a career 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.
Students graduating from the program qualify to work as early intervention specialists and developmental specialists in various community programs. The program holds an excellent reputation with the many community programs in which students are placed for their practicum and internship experiences. Many of our program graduates receive offers of employment with these programs, and many become leaders in the field.
The human development and early childhood disorders program is designed for students with backgrounds in psychology, special education, physical and occupational therapy, early childhood education, speech/language pathology and communication disorders, but students from other disciplines with relevant experiences and interests are also encouraged to apply.
Admission to the human development and early childhood disorders program is based on a review of the applicant's GPA, GRE scores (school code 6897), letters of recommendation and narrative description of interests, relevant experiences and career goals.
In general, a combined verbal and quantitative score on the GRE of at least 300 is advisable.
The UT Dallas graduate admissions page will help guide you through the process. You can check your status using the University’s Orion program. If you’ve been accepted into the program, please read the University’s steps after admission page.
Questions about the admissions process should be directed to Melanie Davis.
Undergraduate students who are interested in obtaining an MS in human development and early childhood disorders should learn more about the UT Dallas fast-track program, which enables undergraduate students to take up to 15 hours of graduate courses that will count towards both UT Dallas bachelors and graduate degrees, enabling the completion of both degrees in less time and with less expense.
Robinson Professor of Psychological Sciences
Director, Center for Children and Families
Office: GR 4.826
Academic Support Coordinator
Office: GR 4.824
ATTN Melanie Davis
School of Behavioral and Brain Sciences
The University of Texas at Dallas
800 W. Campbell Rd, GR41
Richardson, TX 75080
The program has limited resources for supporting incoming students. Most students obtain financial assistance through the University's Office of Financial Aid. They offer need-based loans, grants, and work-study. Competitive scholarships are available which when awarded to non-resident students also allow them to pay resident tuition. All students are considered for these scholarships. There are a few on-campus positions, both clerical and in research. Students offered work-study as part of their financial aid package will find numerous opportunities for employment at the University.
The program welcomes visitors any time, before or after admission to the program. We do not have a visitor's day, but are always happy to answer your questions and visit with you about the program. It is always best to email the program to schedule a time to visit. You may also want to schedule a campus tour with the University.
We recommend a cumulative GPA of 3.0 and a GRE of 300 or higher, although there is no specific GPA or GRE cutoff for admission.
The program is small and this allows for plenty of individual attention and directed training. We typically enroll 12-18 students who start in the fall semester. Classes are small, ranging from approximately six to 30 students.