Frequently Asked Questions
The explicit goal of the Child Studies Master's program is to train knowledgeable practitioners and researchers in a range of fields related to child and adolescent development and to best prepare students for eventual careers in related applied fields or for further doctoral study.
- Specifically, while working toward Master's degrees, students will deepen their understanding of:
- How children and adolescents develop, learn, and think
- How families, schools, and communities impact children's development
- How to interpret, design, and conduct research related to children and adolescents
- How to translate theory-based knowledge into practical strategies for workplace, research, and academic settings
- How to influence policy
- How to strengthen children, families, and neighborhoods
NOTE: The GRE is optional for admission to master's programs for the 2021 application cycle due to ongoing restrictions resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic. If you have taken the GRE and believe your scores will improve your application, you may submit the GRE with your application.
Under the GRE scoring system instituted in 2011, a combined GRE score of at least 300 is expected in order to be considered a competitive applicant. If the GRE was taken before the scoring system was changed (before 2011), a minimum score of at least 1000 is expected. A grade point average (GPA) of 3.0 or higher (on a 4.0 scale) is also expected.
Applicants are reviewed holistically, however, and additional application materials, such as the personal statement and recommendation letters, are considered an important part of the application and given serious consideration in addition to grades and GRE scores. In preparing a personal statement, competitive applicants articulate the clear link between the program focus on evidence-based practice and scholarship and their academic and professional goals.
Students who are enrolled full-time are able to complete the program within 1½ to 2 years.
Ideally, students should complete their prerequisite courses (i.e., developmental psychology and statistics) before admittance. Applicants who have a strong academic record, however, may have the flexibility to complete these courses in their first semester of the program, if approved by the program director. Those applicants interested in pursuing the Pediatric Healthcare Concentration in pursuit of certification as a Child Life Specialist are most competitive when they have completed a Child Life practicum before enrollment.
The program has a summer start date (course work typically begins in early July). All applicants are strongly encouraged to apply by December 31 of the previous year in order to receive priority consideration for admission and financial aid. Applications are considered on a rolling basis, however, and will be reviewed through June, before the July start date.
We encourage students to reach out to our Program Coordinator, Ally Armstead, to schedule a tour of the Peabody campus and a visit with Child Studies faculty and current students. In addition, Peabody College will host a Welcome Weekend for admitted students in the spring.
Most applicants will be informed of an admission decision by early March, prior to the summer they are to begin the program. Vanderbilt undergraduate students applying to the program as a fifth year option will receive notice before the start of the Spring semester of their Senior year.
No. The program is open to students from varied disciplines. We are looking for bright, motivated individuals who have a strong interest in working with children and families through roles in practice or research, regardless of their specific academic background. Those without a major in psychology may not have completed the required pre-requisite courses, however, and will want to pay particular attention to these pre-requisite requirements to ensure that they are completed before admittance to the program or that other appropriate arrangements are made.
Please visit our financial aid website for information about financial aid for Peabody College Master's students.
All applicants to the Child Studies program are considered for a limited number of Scholarships at the time of their application review. These awards are based on students' application to the program; no additional materials are required for consideration of these awards. In addition, students can apply for on campus employment through the Peabody student job board.
The online application allows for students to designate and enter the names and emails of those individuals who will serve as applicants' sources of recommendations. If those providing recommendations choose to submit outside of the online process, all materials should be sent to the following:Center for Data Management
2301 Vanderbilt Place
Nashville, TN 37240-7833