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The University of Texas at Dallas
Graduate Admissions

Graduate Program in Human Development and Early Childhood Disorders


Professors: Bert S. Moore, Margaret Tresch Owen, John W. Santrock, Melanie J. Spence, Robert D. Stillman, Marion K. Underwood, Deborah Wiebe
Associate Professors: Pamela Rollins, Candice Mills
Assistant Professors: Shayla Holub, Mandy Maguire, Jackie Nelson, Noah Sasson
Clinical Faculty: Cherryl Bryant
Senior Lecturer: Toosje Van Beveren


The Master of Science program in Human Development and Early Childhood Disorders is designed for students with professional interests in early child development and disorders. The curriculum offers a strong foundation in the normative path of physical, cognitive and social development with specialized training in diagnostic and intervention techniques needed to work with developmental disorders of early childhood. The program is designed for students interested in a career in the delivery of services to young children who show developmental delays and disorders and teaches students to work as part of a multi- or transdisciplinary team. It provides training to work with infants and young children and their families in early childhood intervention programs and other professional settings, including schools, hospitals, and medical/therapy clinics. Classroom training is combined with practical experience in a variety of clinical and educational settings, both on campus and in the community. Students graduating from the program qualify to work as Early Intervention Specialists and Developmental Specialists. Coursework also satisfies many competencies toward Child Life certification. Graduates with one additional year of work experience typically qualify for Level 2 Infant Mental Health Endorsement by the Texas Association for Infant Mental Health.


The principal sites for the academic and research activities of the The Human Development and Early Childhood Disorders program are located at UTD and the Callier Center for Communication Disorders on the main campus in Richardson and on the campus of the UT Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas. Facilities include research and observational laboratories, including laboratories dedicated to infant and child assessment. On-campus fieldwork opportunities with preschool-age children with special needs are available in the Preschool Language Development Program held at Callier-Richardson. The Callier Center on both the main campus in Richardson and the medical center campus offer a number of educational and clinical programs serving young children. Various community programs and settings throughout the Metroplex provide essential educational and clinical environments for training in Human Development and Early Childhood Disorders. Practicum and Internship placements both on campus and in the community provide supervised on-site and community based fieldwork experiences with young children with special needs and their families.

Admission Requirements

The University’s general admission requirements are discussed here.

The Human Development and Early Childhood Disorders program is designed for students with backgrounds in psychology, special education, early childhood education, social work, and communication disorders. Students from other disciplines are also encouraged to apply. Those from other fields are generally not required to take leveling courses.

Admission to the Human Development and Early Childhood Disorders program is based on a review of the applicant’s GPA, GRE scores, letters of recommendation, and narrative description of interests, relevant experiences, and career goals.

Degree Requirements

The University’s general degree requirements are discussed here.

The plan of study includes a set of required foundational courses, elective course options, and supervised practical experience in applied settings designed to prepare students to work with children and their families.

Students are advised that participation in off-campus practicum and internship requires a criminal background check.  Students excluded from off-campus sites for any reason may be unable to complete all degree requirements. 

The Master of Science program requires a minimum of 45 semester hours. Specific degree requirements follow.

Required Core Courses (24 hours)

HDCD 6319 The Developing Child: Infants and Toddlers 
HDCD 6312 Atypical Development
HDCD 6315 Assessment Theory
HDCD 6316 Developmental Assessment
HDCD 6335 Intervention Paradigms
HDCD 6310 Parent Education
HDCD 6320 The Developing Child: Preschool Years
HDCD 6370 Intervention with Young Children

Practicum (3 hours)

HDCD 7V20 Practicum in Disorders of Young Children

Internship (6 hours)

HDCD 7V20 Internship in Disorders of Young Children

Electives (12 hours)

HDCD 6325 Service Coordination of Community Resources

HDCD 6395 Medical and Biobehavioral Factors in Early Childhood Disorders

HDCD 6325 Families and Culture

HDCD 6335 Child Psychopathology

HDCD 6355 Family Outreach and Assessment

HDCD 6390 Infant Mental Health

HDCD 6V81 Special Topics in Early Childhood Disorders

HDCD 6360 Behavior Management

HDCD 6365 (COMD 7336) Social Communication in Early Childhood Disorders

HCS 7382 Health Psychology

COMD 6307 Language Acquisition

COMD 7362 Seminar in Autism

HDCD 7V98 Independent Study

HDCD 7V80 Independent Research


Last Updated: July 18, 2012