10 Best Online Masters in Child Development

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Earning an online Masters in Child Development provides online graduate students with an extensive network of career opportunities. Students with a Master’s Degree in Child Development go on work as Early Childhood Teachers, Resource and Referral Specialists, and Family Advocates. A specialist in Child Development aims to promote quality of life for families and individuals, as well as the act as a successful advocate for families across their lifespans. Besides making a difference in the lives of children, the best part of studies Child Development studies is how many related jobs have continued to grow successfully. As the demand for specialized employment rises, so does the need for more leadership and management positions. Professionals with a masters-level degree are more likely to obtain these type of leadership roles. Deciding on whether a Master’s degree is right for you can depend on the degree’s institution, the cost of attendance, and the types of certifications available. Earning an online degree, however, makes this decision easier because it allows students to complete classes from nearly anywhere in the world at an affordable rate. In addition, the flexibility of an online degree creates a more diverse learning community, and working students can participate in building healthy communities and families outside of class. Here are Best College Reviews’ 10 Top Online Master’s Degrees in Child Development, where online students can advance in the career field they love.


Best College Reviews provides degree rankings, such as the Best Online Master’s Degrees in Child Development, from carefully researched data sets published from government and non-profit organizations across the United States. Five primary factors affect how we rank degrees: 25% – Student Satisfaction 30% – Earning Potential 15% – Retention Data 20% – Affordability 10% – Acceptance Rates For an in-depth breakdown of how we calculate each ranking, check out our Methodology page.   #10 CAPELLA UNIVERSITY MINNEAPOLIS, MN MASTER OF SCIENCE IN PSYCHOLOGY WITH CHILD AND ADOLESCENT DEVELOPMENT View Website Score: 88.67 Capella University understands that as working professional students need options. It offers Capella University Top Online Bachelor's in Financetwo different courses to start their Master’s: The GuidedPath or FlexPath. These allow students to choose the level of structure or flexibility. Both tracks teach students immediately applicable skills that address mental health, social, and educational issues. Students will learn to recognize and value the diversity among children and their families and explore how to carry out best practices and policies. Students of Capella can choose a focus on childhood development, physical and mental health, or educational issues. Along with flexibility and options, Capella offers an affordable Master of Science degree, making it Best Value Schools’ #3 in Best Cheap Master’s Degrees in Child Development. Tuition: $14,365 #9 MICHIGAN STATE UNIVERSITY EAST LANSING, MI MASTER OF ARTS IN YOUTH DEVELOPMENT View Website Score: 89.61 Michigan State University is a member of the Great Plains Interactive Distance Education Alliance, or IDEA. As such, MSU faculty developed the MS curriculum from various Research 1 institutions associated with IDEA. For the online MS program, professors and students communicate over the phone and online via e-mail, Skype, and Zoom. MSU’s online courses are interactive and collaborative so that students can share their strengths and receive the support they need as they learn. MSU is ranked among the top 100 National Universities by U.S. News & World Report. Tuition: $17,436 / $34,260 #8 UNIVERSITY OF NORTH CAROLINA AT GREENSBORO GREENSBORO, NC MASTER OF EDUCATION IN BIRTH-KINDERGARTEN INTERDISCIPLINARY STUDIES WITH EDUCATION AND DEVELOPMENT View Website Score: 89.99 The University of North Carolina at Greensboro provides online students with a Master of Education in Birth-Kindergarten Interdisciplinary Studies. UNC students can choose degree concentrations in either Early Childhood Leadership and Program Administration, or Early Childhood Leadership and Advanced Teaching Licensure. The second of the two is geared toward students who are more focused on education. Both concentrations prepare graduates to assume leadership positions and teach them the foundation of child development. Students at UNCG can be involved in research on topics such as preparation of early childhood educators, measurement of child-care quality, inclusive practices, and collaboration in early childhood programs and services. CollegeChoice called UNCG the #1 Most Affordable Online Master’s in Child Development, and U.S. News & World Report listed it as #201 in National Universities. Tuition: $5,219 / $18,937 #7 MISSOURI STATE UNIVERSITY - SPRINGFIELD SPRINGFIELD, MO MASTER OF SCIENCE IN EARLY CHILDHOOD AND FAMILY DEVELOPMENT View Website Score: 90.65 The Master of Science in Early Childhood and Family Development from Missouri State University - Springfield is customized to fit student needs. MSUS students can study entirely online, or with a hybrid of online and face-to-face classes. The MS program provides courses such as Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect and The Educational Role of Play. Regarding its reputation, MSUS is ranked #105 for Best Big Colleges in America by Niche, and #111 amongst the Best National Universities by U.S. News & World Report. Tuition: $4,824 / $9,702 #6 UNIVERSITY OF LA VERNE LA VERNE, CA MASTER OF SCIENCE IN CHILD DEVELOPMENT View Website Score: 94.38 Listed among the top 200 National Universities by U.S. News & World Report, the University of La Verne has an excellent Master of Science in Child Development program. Students are prepared to assume leadership roles within the child services industry after completing courses such as Cognition and Brain Development and Studies in Attachment. The MS emphasizes topics involving the theories and issues accompanying the growth and development of early childhood. While enrolled, students build up their understanding of children’s physical, intellectual, and emotional development. Tuition: $13,626 #5 UNIVERSITY OF SOUTH FLORIDA - MAIN CAMPUS TAMPA, FL MASTER OF SCIENCE IN CHILD AND ADOLESCENT BEHAVIORAL HEALTH View Website Score: 94.49 The University of South Florida provides online students with a Master of Science in Child and Adolescent Behavioral Health. USF partners with agencies across the world to provide opportunities for students to get hands-on experience in the field. The program offers four areas of concentration: Developmental Disabilities, Leadership in Child and Adolescent Behavioral Health, Research and Evaluation, and Youth and Behavioral Health. Online courses cover subjects such as cultural competency, behavioral health conditions and services, and policies within behavioral health. The online MS has two track options consisting of a thesis and an applied track. The thesis track works best for students interested in a post-graduate research setting or continuing their education, while the applied track has an experiential focus. Both options are offered entirely online and prepare graduates to become professionals serving public and nonprofit agencies. Tuition: $8,350 / $19,048 #4 UNIVERSITY OF MISSOURI - COLUMBIA COLUMBIA, MO MASTER OF ARTS IN YOUTH DEVELOPMENT AND BEHAVIORAL HEALTH View Website Score: 96.62 The University of Missouri-Columbia offers a flexible timeline for working students. The Human Development and Family Science program encourages online students to become leaders in the field. Online students at Mizzou interact with professors and students from across the nation. Graduates are capable of directing agencies and managing programs and are knowledgeable in topics such as Youth Development, Gerontology, and Family and Community Services. Mizzou is ranked #10 for Best Cheap Master’s in Child Development by Best Value Schools and is in the top 200 National Universities according to U.S. News & World Report. Tuition: $8,640 / $23,659 #3 UNIVERSITY OF NEBRASKA - LINCOLN LINCOLN, NE MASTER OF SCIENCE IN CHILD, YOUTH, AND FAMILY STUDIES View Website Score: 96.88 Also ranked among the top 200 National Universities by U.S. News & World Report, the University of Nebraska stands out for its online Master of Science in Child, Youth, and Family program. UN provides students with the power of choice when it comes to their degree by offering several specializations to aligns with student career goals. Specializations include Child Development, Ethnic Studies, Family and Consumer Sciences Education, Family Financial Planning, Marriage and Family Therapy, and Youth Development. Students at UN can choose to take a thesis or non-thesis track. All online students gain valuable teaching experience by learning how to conduct research and organize intervention among individuals, couples, and families. Tuition: $7,518 / $22,425 #2 UNIVERSITY OF MINNESOTA - TWIN CITIES TWIN CITIES, MN MASTER OF ARTS IN APPLIED CHILD AND ADOLESCENT DEVELOPMENT View Website Score: 98.75 Students at the University of Minnesota learn to research, develop, and apply appropriate prevention and intervention strategies. UM’s Master of Science in Applied Child and Adolescent Development teaches several research methods and ethical models in addition to the basics of social, emotional and cognitive development, and biological development. The 32-credit degree includes field experience for hands-on application. Students in the program can specialize in Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health, Child Life, or Individualized Studies to match their career goals. The University of Minnesota is ranked #76 for National Universities by U.S. News & World Report. Tuition: $16,728 / $25,884 #1 UNIVERSITY OF SOUTHERN MISSISSIPPI HATTIESBURG, MS MASTER OF SCIENCE IN CHILD AND FAMILY STUDIES View Website Score: 100.00 The Master of Science in Child and Family Studies at the University of Southern Mississippi looks at the relationship between family, self, and society. Courses provided within in MS Child and Family Studies cover topics such as family life education, human and social services, and public health. Graduates of USM are prepared to help children and their families by conducting research and applying strategies for improvement. The university’s online MS program is ranked #4 for College Choices list of Most Affordable Online Master’s in Child Development and #230 for Best National Universities by U.S. News & World Report. Tuition: $8,108

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