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M.Ed. in Child Studies

The M.Ed. in Child Studies program offers an interdisciplinary degree through the Department of Psychology and Human Development. Building upon Peabody College’s long tradition of excellence, the program is designed to train knowledgeable practitioners and researchers in a range of fields related to child and adolescent development. Throughout the program, students are encouraged to integrate research, theory, and practice. These goals and expectations are outlined in the Program Philosophy.

The 36-hour program consists of 12-18 credit hours of Core Curriculum Coursework and 18-24 credit hours of Elective Coursework that are individually tailored to each student’s personal interests and professional goals. The program offers traditional classroom preparation alongside hands-on Practicum Experiences or Research Mentorships, which are integrated into the program of studies.

All students choose to complete one of two tracks. The Applied Professional Track is well-suited for students who are interested in working directly with children and families in practitioner roles (e.g., Board Certified Behavior Analysts, Child Life Specialists, Youth and Family Program Developers). The Empirical Research Track is designed for students who are interested in enrolling eventually in doctoral programs (e.g., Ph.D., Psy.D., Ed.D. in Clinical, Counseling, Developmental, Educational, or Cognitive Psychology) or pursuing careers in research. Both options require that students become skilled in integrating the most current child development research and theory with effective practice in professional or academic settings. Within each track, additional Areas of Concentration (e.g., Child and Family Services, Clinical Psychology, Poverty and Intervention, etc.) allow for further specialization. The degree culminates in a comprehensive exam that reflects all coursework completed and is directly relevant to the individual student’s development and personal goals.

Because of the program’s small size (approximately 20 students per cohort), students can expect to receive individualized attention from their advisors. Current Students are pursuing a wide range of interests through varied programs of study. Alumni have gone on to a variety of career paths.

Note: Although the M.Ed. in Child Studies program allows students to pursue a range of interests and includes study of the intellectual, emotional, social, and physical development of children and adolescents, it does not result in licensure as a counselor, therapist, or teacher. Some students may wish to use the program, however, as a foundation for pursuing such licensure or as preparation for related doctoral studies.

What Students are Saying about the Program:

“I decided on Vanderbilt’s Child Studies program because it is a small, flexible, and individualized program. It has helped give me a multi-disciplinary view of child development that will serve me well in whatever future options I pursue.”

“Because of this program, I have now gotten clinical research experience and found a topic that truly interests me that I would like to study in a doctoral program in clinical psychology.”

"My field placements have given me exposure to what it is like to work in various educational settings, helping me to narrow and refine my own career goals."

“I definitely feel I am much more prepared for the doctoral application process. My mentors have pushed me to extend myself outside my comfort zone and as a result I have experienced a new level of confidence as a researcher.”

“During my time thus far in the Child Studies program I have also realized that I have a passion to work with children and I plan to pursue a career as a clinician.”

“Because of this program, I have had the opportunity to work in so many different departments on campus and gain a broad spectrum of skills that will undoubtedly set me apart from my competition in the job market.”

Information Sheet about Child Studies (M.Ed.)