Graduate Program in Human Development and Early Childhood Disorders


Professors: Thomas G.R. Bower, Duane Buhrmester, Bert S. Moore, Margaret Tresch Owen, John W. Santrock, Melanie J. Spence, Robert D. Stillman, Marion K. Underwood
Associate Professors: Teresa Nezworski, Pamela Rollins
Assistant Professors:  Shayla Holub, Mandy Maguire, Candice Mills
Clinical Faculty: Cherryl Bryant
Senior Lecturers: 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 disorders of early childhood. The professional plan of study is designed for students interested in a career in the delivery of services to young children who show developmental delays and disorders and the delivery of services to their families. This program will be of special interest to students wishing 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. Students graduating from the program qualify to work as Early Intervention Specialists and Developmental Specialists in various community programs.


The principal sites for the academic and research activities of the The Human Development and Early Childhood Disorders program are located at the UTD/Callier Center for Communication Disorders on the main campus in Richardson, and on the campus of the UT Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas. Facilities at the main campus include research and observational laboratories, and laboratories dedicated to infant 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 the UT Southwestern Medical Center campus operates a laboratory preschool, as well as a number of other educational and clinical programs serving young children.  These facilities, and various community programs and settings throughout the Metroplex, provide essential educational, clinical, and research environments for training in Human Development and Early Childhood Disorders. Practicum and Internship placements 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, and communication disorders. Students from other disciplines are also encouraged to apply.

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 and career goals. In general, a combined Verbal and Quantitative score on the GRE of at least 1000 is advisable based on our experience with student success in the program. However, there is no minimum cut-off score for admission nor does a score of at least 1000 assure admission to the program.

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 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 48 semester hours. Specific degree requirements follow.

Professional Plan of Study

Required Core Courses (24 hours)

HDCD 5311 The Developing Child: Infants and Toddlers 
HDCD 5312 Atypical Development
HDCD 5315 Assessment Theory
HDCD 5316 Developmental Assessment
HDCD 5330 Intervention Paradigms
HDCD 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 (15 hours)

HDCD 5320 Service Coordination of Community Resources
HCS 6350 Social Development
HCS 6331 Cognitive Development
HDCD 6310 Parent Education
HDCD 6395 Medical and Biobehavioral Factors in ECD
HDCD 6V81 Special Topics in Early Childhood Disorders
HDCD 7350 Family Outreach Assessment
COMD 6307 Language Acquisition
COMD 7362 Seminar in Autism
HCS 7376 Child Psychopathology
HDCD 7V98 Independent Study
HDCD 8V80 Independent Research

Teacher Certification Early Childhood – 4th Grade

Required of post-baccalaureate students seeking Early Childhood-4th grade Teacher Certification

HDCD 5301 Child Development
HDCD 5302 Educational Psychology
HDCD 5303 Exceptional Children
HDCD 5304 Cognitive Development