Admission to ChAD Master's Program

Application Steps

The applications process consists of 2 PARTS: 

Part 1 APPLY to UNIVERSITY

Submit application to Graduate Admissions and Program Evaluation (GAPE). You must apply for admission to SJSU via the instructions on the SJSU Graduate Admissions site.

Part 2 APPLY to ChAD DEPARTMENT

Submit application to ChAD Department via the below instructions.

  1. Complete the ChAD Online Application Form to apply for admission to the Department of Child and Adolescent Development.
    • You must upload a one- to two-page statement of educational and professional background, and professional goals. 
    • You must upload a writing sample of 250-500 word essay. Please select only one of the four essay prompts from the application form.
      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.
  2. Upload a copy of your transcripts to the ChAD Online Application Form. These must be directly uploaded to the ChAD Online Application Form. Note that these copies of your transcripts are in addition to the official transcripts required by GAPE. A minimum 3.0 grade point average is required.
  3. Submit three letters of recommendation from current or former professors and/or employers (within the past 5 years) who can describe your ability to successfully pursue an advanced academic degree. These must be directly mailed to the Department of Child and Adolescent Development at the address listed below. Please be sure to have your recommender seal and sign the back of the envelope including the letter of recommendation.
  4. TOEFL scores for international students only. 

Application materials for the department should be uploaded directly to the ChAD Online Application Form by March 1, 2020.

Letters of recommendation should be mailed to the address below and received by March 20, 2020

Graduate Program Coordinator 
Child & Adolescent Development 
One Washington Square 
San José State University 
San Jose, CA, 95192-0075

Requirements for Admission

The minimum admissions requirements for the MA program:

  • A baccalaureate from an approved institution. Preferences are given to applicants with a background in Child & Adolescent Development or related field (e.g., Psychology, Sociology, Education, Social Work, Nursing). You are required to have the following 6 units of coursework completed or in progress prior to admission to the ChAD program: a 3 unit course in an introductory developmental psychology or child development and a 3 unit course in social science research methods. Both classes must be completed with a grade of B or better.
  • A minimum 3.0 overall grade point average. In computing the grade point average for admission to graduate school, we use the last 60 semester or 90 quarter units. All colleges and universities attended are considered in the calculations beginning with the most recent and going backwards semester by semester. We calculate all courses in a semester if the 60th semester unit or 90th quarter units falls in a semester. (ex: we might calculate 65 units instead of 60 to complete the semester).
  • For international students only, TOEFL score of 550 and above is required.
  • Applicants will receive a letter from the Department of Child & Adolescent Development regarding their status (i.e., acceptance) by April 1. 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.

Requirements for Progression toward Master's Degree

To maintain enrollment in the ChAD MA program, students' overall minimum GPA across all 30 units required for the degree must be 3.0 with no single course grade below a B-. Students who earn less than a B- in any required course (ChAD 260A and B, 262, 266, 268, 270) must retake the course and earn a grade of B- or better. For electives in which the earned grade was less than a B-, students have the option to retake the same course or to select a different elective.

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 Master's Program Coordinator and approved by the ChAD faculty.

Admission to Classified 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 Master's Program Coordinator will specify these conditions in the admit letter.

Students who have no conditions on their admission have classified standing.

Advancement to Candidacy for the Master of Arts Degree

During the semester that the first nine units of course work will be completed, the MA candidate will need to submit a Departmental Request for Candidacy form. This form must be signed by the ChAD Master's Program Coordinator and submitted to GAPE by the appropriate deadline. Check the deadline for submitting the Request for Candidacy form. Any changes made in the program degree academic plan as listed on the Request for Candidacy form need to be requested using the course substitution form. This form must be signed by the ChAD Master's Program Coordinator prior to submission to GAPE.

Requirements for the ChAD MA


Course Requirements          Units

Core Course Requirements                                                 18
CHAD 260A.* Seminar in Child and Adolescent Development: Research     3
CHAD 260B.** Seminar in Child and Adolescent Development     3
CHAD 262. Multicultural Issues in Child and Adolescent Development     3
CHAD 266. Social Policy Issues in American Childhood and Youth     3
CHAD 268. Seminar in Social and Emotional Development     3
CHAD 270. Seminar in Cognitive and Language Development     3
Culminating Requirement(Select One Plan Only) 3
Plan A (Thesis)  
CHAD 299. Master's Thesis     3-6
Plan B (Project)  
CHAD 298. Special Studies in Child and Adolescent Development     3-6
Elective Requirements*** 9
Nine units of upper division and graduate level courses are to be taken in consultation with an advisor selected from the department-approved list.  

Total Units: 30

*Meets the Graduate Studies writing requirement. Must be taken in the first semester of enrollment.

**Student should complete at least three of the core courses prior to enrollment.

***Electives may be taken at any time during the MA program. In rare circumstances, MA candidates may petition to take an elective not on the list. Candidates should submit a written statement to the Graduate Program Coordinator indicating what course is requested and a justification for why the course and not one of the pre-approved electives is necessary

Culminating Requirement

Candidates for the ChAD MA may only select either Plan A (Thesis) or Plan B (Project).

Plan A (Thesis)

Plan A requires a thesis and an oral examination. Thesis proposals must be approved by the graduate committee. Two advisors will be assigned to work with the candidate on the thesis, and the thesis committee must be a committee of three. Students enroll in CHAD 299, MA Thesis, for 3 units. Completion of the degree also requires a 3.0 GPA in all courses taken to meet the degree program.

Plan B (Project)

Plan B requires satisfactory completion of a project or research paper. These students enroll in CHAD 298, Special Studies in Child Development, for 3 units. Completion of the degree also requires a 3.0 GPA in all courses taken to meet the degree program.

Application for Award of Master's Degree

Apply for graduation online via the instructions on the GAPE website. Be sure to check the deadline for submitting the graduation application form.