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Child Studies (M.Ed.)

Department of Psychology and Human Development

Program Overview

Solve the most pressing challenges facing children and families today by connecting scholarship and practice through the M.Ed. in Child Studies.

There are two tracks in this program — an Applied Professional Track if you plan to work directly with children and families and a Clinical and Developmental Research Track if you plan to apply to a doctoral degree program later. Both tracks prepare you to work as a practitioner or researcher with expertise in skillfully applying developmental research to real-world problems.

Cohorts are small with about 20 students, and students who succeed in the two-year Child Studies graduate program are passionate about improving the lives of children and families through professional and research roles in schools, community service organizations, nonprofit and research institutions, and universities.

The program combines traditional classroom preparation with practicum experiences or clinical or developmental research mentorships, depending on your chosen career path. It will prepare you for applied careers or strengthen your training for doctoral study in clinical, developmental, or other areas of psychology.

Through the program, you’ll select a primary focus between one of two tracks:

  • Applied Professional Track—for students interested in careers working directly with children and families. Through this track, you’ll be matched with relevant agencies and and community organizations to gain hands-on field experience in applying current research toward improving outcomes for children and families.
  • Clinical and Developmental Research Track —for students interested in pursuing doctoral study in clinical, developmental, educational, cognitive, or other areas of psychology. Through this track, you’ll be matched with a faculty mentor and provided opportunities to participate on a clinical or developmental research team and develop your own interests and publication record to prepare for doctoral study or a career in research.

You’ll pursue a range of interests through either track that includes the study of the intellectual, emotional, social, and physical development of children and adolescents.

The M.Ed. in Child Studies program does not result in licensure as a counselor, therapist, or teacher. However, you may wish to use the program as a foundation for pursuing such licensure or preparing for related doctoral studies.

Areas of Concentration

Through either track, you’ll complete elective coursework according to the program guidelines and your selected area of concentration. This list of courses is flexibly developed with your advisor based on your professional and academic goals.

Some areas of concentration are interdepartmental and may have specific additional requirements as determined by the respective departments.

Program at a Glance

Master of Education (M.Ed.) in Child Studies

Department of Psychology and Human Development

Program Directors:
Vicki Harris, Ph.D. (Applied Professional Track)
Nina Martin, Ed.D. (Clinical and Developmental Research Track)
Admissions Coordinator:
Ally Armstead, 615-343-4963
Admission Term: Summer
Credit Hours: 36
Priority Application Deadline: December 31
Two Track Options: Applied Professional Track; Clinical and Developmental Research Track

Success Stories

“[I] fell in love with Peabody, Vanderbilt, and the Child Studies program. The program allows for flexibility and individuality, while offering the opportunity to experience all of the top professors and courses that Peabody has to offer ... I feel as though I could not have received a more well-rounded and comprehensive learning experience.”
Dan Berman, M.Ed. ‘06 (Applied Professional Track)
Project Manager, Children’s Forum
“I was able to combine challenging and innovative courses with eye-opening clinical experiences. Between working with the pediatric palliative care team and local pediatric hospice, completing special education research at preschools throughout Nashville, and completing internships and volunteer experiences at Monroe Carell Jr. Children's Hospital at Vanderbilt, not a day went by that I didn't feel fulfilled and motivated.”
Hannah Clark, M.Ed. ‘14 (Applied Professional Track)
Certified Child Life Specialist, Parkland Hospital
“The mentorship I received from the program directors was wonderful, and with their help I was able to matriculate into the doctoral program of my choice! I am very happy where I am, and the research skills that I learned during my time in the program are undoubtedly helping me as I move through my program!”
Joya Hampton, M.Ed. ‘13 (Clinical and Developmental Research Track)
Doctoral Student in Clinical Psychology, Emory University
“Peabody truly offered all the opportunities, experiences and support I hoped it would, and my time in the program without a doubt helped me get to the next step and achieve what I'd set out to do, which was move on to a doctoral program in Clinical Psychology. I am excited to be spending the next few years at the University of Houston studying parent-child relationships and developmental psychopathology.”
Francesca Penner, M.Ed. ‘16, (Clinical and Developmental Research Track)
Doctoral Student in Clinical Psychology, University of Houston

98%

of Child Studies graduates were employed or attending graduate school within four months of graduation.

Click here to see a list of recent career and graduate school placements:

Recent graduates with an M.Ed. in Child Studies have gone on to the following positions, among others:
  • Assistant Clinical Director & Family Architect, Cognition Builders, New York, N.Y.
  • Behavior Therapist, Carolina Center for ABA and Autism Treatment, Fayetteville, N.C.
  • Ph.D. Candidate, Applied Human Development, Boston University
  • Board Certified Behavior Analyst, Woodfards Family Services, Westbrook, Maine
  • Ph.D. Candidate, Counseling Psychology, University of Louisville
  • Child Life Specialist Fellowship, Detroit Medical Center, Detroit, Mich.
  • Early Learning Center Teacher, Martha O'Bryan Center, Nashville, Tenn.
  • Literacy Coach, McNeilly Center For Children, Nashville, Tenn.
  • Ph.D. Candidate, Educational Neuroscience, Vanderbilt University, Nashville, Tenn.
  • Pre-First Classroom Teacher, The Gardner School, Nashville, Tenn.
  • Child Life Specialist, Monroe Carell Jr. Children's Hospital at Vanderbilt, Nashville, Tenn.
  • Ph.D. Candidate, Clinical Psychology Oklahoma State University, Stillwater, Okla.
  • MSN Student, Psychiatric-Mental Health Yale University, New Haven, Conn.
  • Ph.D. Candidate, Clinical Psychology University of Houston, Houston, Texas
  • Ph.D. Candidate, Clinical Psychology Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, Va.

 

Practicum Experience

As a Master of Education (M.Ed.) in Child Studies student, you’ll apply what you learn in the classroom to either a field-based placement or as a member of a clinical or developmental research team, engaging in hands-on work with children, adolescents, and families.

Applied Professional Track

Through the Applied Professional Track, you’ll be matched with a community site based on your interests and career goals, a process facilitated by program advisors in the semester before your placement. Placements may last one or more semesters, based on your progress and objectives.

The nature of the 10 hour/week commitment varies significantly depending on your specific site. You may work in such endeavors as developing community programs, providing developmental interventions, or writing educational curricula. Regardless of site, your work will be informed by evidence-based practice.

In conjunction with your field placement position, you will take two semesters of PSY-PC 7950: Child Development Practicum: Applied Professional Track.

What Students Say
"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."

Clinical and Developmental Research Track

Through the Clinical and Developmental Research Track, you’ll be matched with a research lab and faculty mentor based on your interests and lab availability. Program advisors facilitate this process during the summer session before your first fall semester. The research lab placement is intended to last for the full duration the program to allow you to develop in your chosen area of clinical or developmental research.

The 10 hour/week commitment typically requires you to attend research lab meetings, participate in ongoing research projects, conduct reviews of relevant literature, engage in general professional development activities, and prepare conference-ready posters or presentations and/or publication-ready articles and manuscripts.

In conjunction with your research lab position, you’ll be required to take two semesters of PSY-PC 7951: Child Development Practicum: Clinical & Developmental Research Track.

What Students Say
“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.”

Program Curriculum

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 your personal interests and professional goals.

In addition to the required courses, you’ll integrate child development research and theory with effective practice through a range of field experiences. Through these experiences, you will develop expertise as consumers and producers of scholarly research.

Prerequisite  Coursework

Applicants to the M.Ed. program should have taken these courses or their equivalents during their undergraduate program or before applying for the M.Ed. in Child Studies.

  • Developmental Psychology, or equivalent (3)
  • Introduction to Statistical Analysis, or equivalent (3)

Core Curriculum Coursework

You will be required to complete 12-18 credit hours of core curriculum classes for the M.Ed. in Child Studies. The exact sequence varies depending on the track you select. Graduate course requirements for Vanderbilt 5th-year students and external master's applicants are identical.

Applied Professional Track: 12 hours

  • PSY-PC 6010: Applied Child Studies (3)
  • PSY-PC 6020: Advanced Applied Child Studies (3)
  • PSY-PC 7950: Child Development Practicum (6)

Clinical and Developmental Research Track: 18 hours

  • PSY-PC 6010: Applied Child Studies (3)
  • PSY-PC 6020: Advanced Applied Child Studies (3)
  • PSY-PC 7951: Child Development Practicum (6)
  • PSY-PC 7850: Developmental Research Methods (3)
  • PSY-GS 8861: Statistical Inference (3)

Elective Coursework

You are required to complete 12 credit hours of elective classes.

Applied Professional Track: 12 hours

Two Advanced Developmental Seminars (6) such as, but not limited to, the following:

  • PSY-GS 8400: Developmental Psychology (3)
  • PSY-PC 8600: Seminar in Social and Personality Development (3)
  • EDUC 7500: Special Topics in Education - Cognitive Development and Learning
  • HOD 7120: Human Development and Prevention Science (3)

Two advanced courses in Research Methodology or Statistics (6) such as, but not limited to, the following:

  • HOD 6200: Program Evaluation (3)
  • PSY-PC 7940: Directed Research in Child Studies (3-6)
  • LPO 7200: Grants, Policy, & Administration (3)
  • SPED 7810: Research Methods in Special Education (3)

An additional 12 credits are completed through individualized elective courses that are consistent with your professional and academic goals. These are selected according to your interests and area of concentration.

Clinical and Developmental Research Track: 12 hours

Two Advanced Developmental Seminars (6) such as, but not limited to, the following:

  • PSY-PC 8400: Developmental Psychology (3)
  • PSY-PC 8600: Seminar in Social and Personality Development (3)
  • EDUC 7500: Special Topics in Education - Cognitive Development and Learning (3)
  • HOD 7120: Human Development and Prevention Science (3)
  • PSY-GS 8420: Advanced Seminar in Clinical Psychology - Developmental Psychopathology (3)

Two additional advanced courses in Research Methodology or Statistics (6) such as, but not limited to, the following:

  • PSY-GS 8864: Experimental Design (3)
  • PSY-GS 8870: Correlation and Regression (3)
  • PSY-GS 8876: Psychological Measurement (3)
  • PSY-GS 8882: Multilevel Modeling (3)
  • PSY-GS 8850: Advanced Seminar in Measurement Statistics and Evaluation (3)
  • PSY-PC 7940: Directed Research in Child Studies (3-6)
  • PSY-GS 8873-01:Structural Equation Modeling 
  • PSY 8310-01: Research Methods in Clinical Psychology 

An additional 6 credits are completed through individualized elective courses that are consistent with your professional and academic goals. These are selected according to your interests and areas of concentration.

 

Areas of Concentration may include:

Applied Professional Track:

Clinical and Developmental Research Track:

 

 

 

 

 

Program Curriculum

Faculty

Vicki Harris
  • Assistant Clinical Professor of Psychology, Department of Psychology and Human Development
  • Director, Applied Professional Track, Child Studies
  • Program Coordinator, Specialty in Poverty and Intervention
Nina Martin
  • Associate Clinical Professor of Psychology, Department of Psychology and Human Development
  • Director, Clinical and Developmental Research Track, Child Studies
  • Faculty, Human Development Counseling Master's program, Department of Human and Organizational Development