Early Childhood and Family Development

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Graduate programs

Master of Science, Early Childhood and Family Development

Elizabeth King, Program Director
Hill Hall, Room 305; Phone 417-836-6961

Program description

The graduate program in Early Childhood and Family Development is designed for individuals who work with, or who are interested in working with, young children and/or families. The three pillars (Ethical Leadership, Cultural Competence, and Community Engagement) of the Missouri State Public Affairs Mission are an integral part of this degree throughout required courses, elective offerings and opportunities provided by program faculty, the college and the university. This degree is appropriate for a large number of persons working with children and families in a variety of settings. In addition to a core of required courses, students will choose electives that best meet their professional needs. This flexibility allows students to develop a program of study to meet their needs. Although it is not a certification program, some of the courses may be able to be taken for certification credit. This will be done individually for each student. The program has a core set of courses that provide a strong early childhood and child development background. There are also a wide variety of electives that can be taken to round out the degree according to the individual needs of the student.

Program admission requirements

Admission requires the following minimum criteria:

  1. A minimum GPA of 3.00 for courses taken in the last 60 hours of course work in the undergraduate program. Students who do not meet the GPA requirement must take the Graduate Record Examination (GRE). GRE minimum scores must be provided prior to the student's registering for more than 9 hours.
  2. Applicants for whom English is a second language are required to submit appropriate proof of English proficiency. Requirements for TOEFL (minimum 550 -paper or 213 computer); iBT TOEFL (79); IELTS (6); or MSU ELI (Level 5) are required for admission.
  3. To be considered for admission to this program, a student must submit both the Graduate Application and submit the required Early Childhood and Family Development documents.
  4. Students must possess a bachelor’s degree and must meet the requirements for admission to the graduate school as states under the Admission to Graduate Studies section of the Graduate Catalog.
  5. Additional materials must be submitted.
    1. A letter of intent containing professional goals, future plans, background information, and professional experiences.
    2. Submission of two letters of recommendation from professionals familiar with the candidate’s academic abilities and potential.
    3. Completion of any required prerequisite courses or permission from the Director of the Early Childhood and Family Development Program.
  6. Students may transfer in no more than 9 credit hours which must be approved by the advisor.

Required courses

Courses may count only once in meeting the 32-hour program course requirement.

Required core courses, 23 hours
Course code Course title Credit hours
CFD 701 Orientation to Early Childhood and Family Development 1 hr
CFD 750 Advanced Human Development Studies 3 hrs
ECE 725 Inquiry in Early Childhood and Family Development 3 hrs
CFD 761
ECE 726
Advanced Family Studies
Programming and Policy Issues for Early Childhood Settings
3 hrs
3 hrs
ECE 727 Children and Families in a Diverse Society 3 hrs
CFD 765 Research Methodology in Early Education, Child Development, and Family Studies 3 hrs
ECE 771 Proposal Development 4 hrs
ECE 762 Seminar in Early Childhood and Family Development 3 hrs
Elective courses, 9 hours

Courses may be selected with the recommendation and approval of student’s advisor. These courses can include a variety of classes from our program and related programs. Below are examples of some course electives, however, other course options are available in consultation with your advisor.

Course code Course title Credit hours
ECE 601 Home/School/Community Relationships with Young Children and Their Families 3 hrs
ECE 705 Field Experiences in Early Childhood Education 1-3 hrs
ECE 724 Foundations of Early Childhood Education 3 hrs
ECE 728 The Educational Role of Play 3 hrs
ECE 729 Literacy in Early Childhood 3 hrs
ECE 730 Family Literacy 3 hrs
CFD 702 Community Engagement 3 hrs
CFD 632 Family Advocacy 3 hrs
CFD 633 Principles of Family Life Education 4 hrs
CFD 662 Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect 3 hrs
ELE 713 Advanced Theory and Practice in the Teaching of Communication Arts 3 hrs
ELE 720 Advanced Theory and Practice in Student Assessment and Evaluation 3 hrs
PSY 604 Forensic Child Psychology 3 hrs
PSY 629 Psychological Tests and Measurements 3 hrs
LTC 640 Analysis and Correction of Difficulties in Literacy 3 hrs
LTC 700 Relationship of Language to Literacy and Intellectual Development 3 hrs

Degree requirements

  1. Satisfactory completion of a minimum of 32 approved graduate hours with a minimum overall GPA of 3.00.
  2. No more than 16 hours of 600-level course work may be applied to the degree program.
  3. Comprehensive Examination. A comprehensive examination must be passed by the candidate before a degree will be granted.
  4. Research. Completion of one seminar which shall require an extensive paper or major creative work.
  5. Transfer Credit. A maximum of 9 credit hours of graduate credit may be accepted toward a master’s degree. All transfer credit must be “A” or “B” grade status from a regionally accredited college or university and must be approved by the Department Head or student’s advisor.

Accelerated Masters Program in Early Childhood and Family Development

The Accelerated Masters Program option in Early Childhood and Family Development provides an opportunity for outstanding undergraduate child and family development majors, early childhood education majors, elementary education majors, and psychology majors to begin their graduate course work during their junior or senior year.

If accepted into the accelerated program, up to a maximum of 12 hours of graduate courses taken after admission into the program may be given credit for both undergraduate and graduate programs.

Before enrolling in a course to be counted as both undergraduate and graduate credit and to count the course toward the masters degree, an undergraduate student must be accepted into the accelerated program, and receive prior approval from the graduate program advisor, and complete a "Mixed Credit" form. This form can be obtained from the student's department or the Graduate College. Mixed credit registration must be done in person.

Admission requirements for CFD, ECE, ELE, and PSY majors include:

  1. Junior or Senior standing
  2. Overall GPA of 3.25 or higher
  3. To be considered for admission to the program, a student must apply to both the Graduate College and the Early Childhood and Family Development Graduate Program