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Lynch School of Education

Applied Developmental and Educational Psychology

master of arts (m.a.) degree


The Master's program in Applied Developmental and Educational Psychology (ADEP) at the Lynch School of Education is suited for students who want to deepen their understanding of child and youth development, and the contributions of school, family, community, and economic and cultural contexts to human development. 

This program is fitting for individuals interested in advancing careers as educators, researchers, service providers, and advocates as well as for individuals who wish to understand and serve the needs of children and youths, families, and communities. It embeds challenging academic work and a collegial and vibrant intellectual environment within the broader culture of the Lynch School of Education at Boston College, which seeks to promote social justice and enhance the human condition.


Our program curriculum is developed to be maximally flexible to meet diverse career goals and training needs.  The required 30 credits (ten 3-credit courses) can be completed in a one-year period, or spread over two or more years.  The curriculum includes a set of core course requirements that provide a rich and broad understanding of cognitive and social/emotional processes of human development from infancy to adulthood.  Core requirements also include courses on scientific methods of studying human development, and on analyzing social issues and social structures that support or impede development and well-being.

As a capstone experience, students in their final semester complete an advanced practicum in which they work in an applied, research, or policy practicum site related to their area of interest.

Beyond the core requirements, students work with their academic advisor to select an additional set of courses that best fulfills their career goals and areas of interest.  Through these courses students can elect to complete Certificates or Specializations in areas including:

  • Assessment Literacy and Data Use for Educators
  • Autism Spectrum Disorders
  • Child and Family Mental Health
  • Early Childhood Leadership
  • Human Rights and International Justice
  • Institutional Research
  • Positive Youth Development

In line with accreditation standards and with our program mission, the following are the expected student learning outcomes upon completion of the program.

  • Learn theory and content core to the field of social, emotional, and cognitive development.
  • Learn to analyze and critique theory and content.
  • Learn to use evidence to examine, critique, and evaluate scholarship and current controversies in developmental and educational psychology.
  • Learn how to communicate disciplinary knowledge to professional audiences.
  • Learn how to apply disciplinary knowledge to real-world situations.

Career Options

Graduates of the program go on to doctoral or professional programs in psychology or related fields, or enter employment in areas of education, social policy research and advocacy, social program evaluation, and academic and education counseling.

Please visit the Program of Study page to download information on the M.A. / Applied Developmental and Educational Psychology program requirements.