MA, Child and Adolescent Development

Our MA in Child and Adolescent Development (ChAD) is designed for students who are passionate about studying development, from early childhood through emerging adulthood. The degree prepares graduates for a wide range of career paths, including:

  • Early Childhood Education, Care, and Administration
  • Parent Educators and Youth Advocates
  • Community College Instruction
  • Community Programming and Outreach
  • Pediatric and Public Health Professionals
  • Academic Research and Program Evaluation
  • Doctoral Study

If you have any questions about our MA program, email our Graduate Program Coordinator, Dr. Danielle Mead at

Program Overview

  • Official Title: MA, Child and Adolescent Development
  • Format: Late-afternoon and evening classes
  • Units: 30, including 9 units of electives
  • Start date: Fall only
  • Program length: 2 years
  • Application deadline: April 1, 2024 (or February 1, 2024 for early decision); letters of recommendation and transcripts accepted until April 20, 2024 (or February 20, 2024 for early decision)

Initial Eligibility and Requirements

Curriculum and Roadmaps

For more details about each of these courses, visit the SJSU Catalog website. No substitutions or waivers are allowed unless previous coursework (no more than three units) is deemed equivalent and transferable. Requests for substitutions and waivers must be submitted in writing to the Graduate Program Coordinator and approved by the ChAD faculty.

Steps To Apply

International students only: Take the TOEFL test and have ETS send your official TOEFL transcript to SJSU.

Step 1 | Begin your Cal State Apply application

Follow the instructions provided SJSU Graduate Admissions Office to apply for admission to San Jose State University via CalState Apply

Step 2 | Apply to the ChAD Department

By April 1, 2024 (or by February 1, 2024 for early decision), complete the ChAD Department Application Form (requires Google sign-in) to apply for admission to the Department of Child and Adolescent Development. Required attachments include:

  • A 1-2 page statement describing your educational and professional background as well as your professional goals, and reflecting on how getting a masters degree in Child and Adolescent Development will further your these goals
  • A writing sample of 250-500 words that responds to one of the four following prompts:
    1. Explain the conditions that lead to aggression or prosocial behavior during toddlerhood, childhood, and/or adolescence.
    2. How and to what extent do parents or caregivers affect children’s cognitive development and/or academic achievement?
    3. Is it possible to “spoil” infants? Explain why or why not? Can parents or caregivers affect infants’ self-reliance and independence?
    4. Explain the processes by which cultural norms and values may affect children’s development (e.g., cognitive development, academic achievement, inter-group relations, self-esteem, mental health, motivation). Select one aspect of development.

Step 3 | Request recommendations

  • By April 20, 2024 (or by February 20, 2024 for early decision), submit at least two letters of recommendation from current or former professors and/or employers from within the past 5 years who can describe your ability to successfully pursue an advanced academic degree.
  • In order for a letter to be uploaded, the letter must meet the following requirements:
    • File must be in a PDF format.
    • File size cannot exceed 1 MB.
    • File cannot be encrypted or password protected.
    • Filename cannot contain the following special characters such as | * ? :
    • Page size must be 8.5 x 11 inches.

It is recommended that letters are written on a professional letterhead and signed by the author. Before uploading a letter, carefully review the letter for accuracy and grammatical errors. Letters of recommendation should be signed by the author and include a date. Letters can also be emailed directly from the recommender to the Graduate Program Coordinator.

Step 4 | Submit your transcripts

Obtain one official sealed transcript from each college/university where you studied and submit the official sealed transcript(s) to:

Graduate Admissions and Program Evaluations
San Jose State University 
One Washington Square
San Jose, CA 95192-0017

If the college/university provides official electronic transcripts, the institution can email the transcripts to etranscript@sjsu.eduQuestions pertaining to transcripts, GPA calculations, and application fees should be directed to

Next Steps | Application Review

Applicants will receive a letter from the Department of Child & Adolescent Development regarding their status (i.e., acceptance) by early May (or by early March for early decision). Applicants will also receive a letter from GAPE regarding their status after the department has made its decision. The letter from GAPE will provide information about how to register for classes.

Admission for Conditional Standing

Students who are admitted conditionally will be required to take additional courses in addition to the required master's courses. These students admitted based on conditional status can gain classified standing when the student completes these additional courses in a timely manner with a grade of B or better in the additional required courses. The Graduate Program Coordinator will specify these conditions in the admit letter. Students who have no conditions on their admission have classified standing.

Complete the MA Requirements

Additional Resources

For information about academic advising, financial aid opportunities, and more, visit our Student Resources webpage.