Online MA
Infant and early childhood mental health track

Applications for the online MA program are currently open. The application deadline is February 15th for the Summer 2023 term. View application instructions.

Infant and early childhood mental health professionals support the social-emotional development of infants, toddlers, and preschoolers. Drawing on development theory, infant and early childhood mental health professionals address the needs of young children by assessing family needs and recommending developmentally-appropriate prevention strategies and interventions. Infant and early childhood mental health professionals also lead programs or craft policies that promote healthy early development. This program offers an option for students living in Minnesota to become licensed clinical professionals.

Find what drives you: Join us

  • Gain the knowledge in typical and atypical early development needed to understand and support the development of young children ages birth to five.
  • Study the role of relationships and explore how factors like family, culture, individual history, and socioeconomic status impact a child’s health and well-being.
  • Learn how to apply infant and early childhood mental health principles in a variety of professional and practice settings.
  • Reside in Minnesota? Take in-person courses through the University of Minnesota (U of M) College of Continuing and Professional Studies concurrently with your MA coursework to complete the licensed professional clinical counselor (LPCC) licensure application requirements.

How to apply

Are you interested in taking a graduate course but aren't a student at the U of M? Visit OneStop Student Services to learn more about how to register.


Core coursework

Take foundational online courses in child and adolescent development:

  • CPSY 5301: Advanced Developmental Psychology
  • CPSY 5302: Cognitive and Biological Development
  • CPSY 5303: Social and Emotional Development
  • CPSY 5304: Research Methods in Applied Child and Adolescent Development
  • CPSY 5306: Ethics and Professionalism in Applied Child and Adolescent Development

Learn more about the curriculum

Track coursework

In addition to the program’s core online courses, you'll take:

  • CPSY 5503: Development and Psychopathology in Early Childhood
  • CPSY 5506: 5508, 5511: Infant Observation
  • CPSY 5513: Early Childhood Assessment
  • CPSY 5518: Prevention and Intervention in Early Childhood: Principles
  • CPSY 5521: Prevention and Intervention in Early Childhood: Practice
  • CPSY 5996: Field Experience with Reflective Practice

View a sample degree timeline


With an MA in applied child and adolescent development with a specialization in infant and early childhood mental health, advance your career as a mental health provider or practitioner in a variety of fields that serve young children and their families. If you reside in Minnesota, you can choose to pursue an option that would lead to LPCC licensure.

Infant and early childhood mental health fields include:

  • social work
  • psychology
  • family and marriage counseling
  • nursing and related disciplines
  • early care and education
  • advocacy or policy
  • licensed clinical professional

If you reside in Minnesota, you can take an additional 28 credits concurrently with your MA coursework through the U of M College of Continuing and Professional Studies' Integrated Behavioral Health program to complete LPCC licensure application requirements. LPCC licensure courses are primarily in-person courses offered on the University of Minnesota's St. Paul campus.

Although the University does not award licensure this option would allow you to meet the requirements to apply for licensure through the state of Minnesota. For current requirements, visit the Minnesota Board of Behavioral Health and Therapy website.

Taken together, infant and early childhood mental health and licensure courses will prepare you to apply a two-generational approach to your counseling work with infants and young children in high-risk caregiving environments, such as those who have caregivers with histories of mental illness, substance use, or related risks like homelessness or extreme poverty.

Prepare to pursue Endorsement

Minnesota is one of 31 member states of the global organization, the Alliance for the Advancement of Infant Mental Health®, that offers the credential for Endorsement for Culturally Sensitive, Relationship-Focused Practice Promoting Infant & Early Childhood Mental Health®. Our online MA program meets the theoretical foundations and competencies for the Alliance endorsement process.

Endorsement levels include:

  • Infant Family Specialist (Prevention/Early Intervention)
  • Infant Mental Health Specialist (Treatment/Intervention)
  • Infant Mental Health Mentor (Clinical, Faculty, or Policy Leadership)

More information on the endorsement process is available through the Minnesota Association for Children’s Mental Health-Infant and Early Childhood Division or through your state’s infant mental health association listed under the Alliance member states. Don't live in Minnesota? Learn if your state is a member of the Alliance.

We're driven to make a difference

Andre Dukes
I am grateful to the Institute of Child Development for their support and commitment to my work and for expanding the field to promote the healthy development of all children in our communities.

Andre Dukes
Graduate of the infant and early childhood mental health track
Recipient of the Irving B. Harris Foundation Diversity Scholarship

Tuition and funding

Students who take all their courses online qualify for the Minnesota resident tuition rate. Tuition for our MA program follows the University’s general resident graduate tuition rates. Full-time enrollment is 6 to 14 credits per semester. Each track in our MA program has its own course and credit requirements.

Irving B. Harris Foundation Diversity Scholarship

The Irving B. Harris Foundation promotes equity of academic and life outcomes for all children by enabling access to comprehensive, high-quality care in nurturing environments for pregnant women, very young children, and families. With their support, we offer diversity scholarships for underrepresented students and professionals. To apply for this scholarship, write a statement on how your background and experiences will support their mission (limit 500 words) and upload it as part of your application. This scholarship is only available to Minnesota residents.