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Online M.A.: Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health Track

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Infant and early childhood mental health professionals support the social-emotional development of infants and toddlers. Drawing on development theory, infant and early childhood mental health professionals address the needs of young children by assessing family needs and recommending developmentally-appropriate prevention strategies and interventions. Infant and early childhood mental health professionals also lead programs or craft policies that promote healthy early development.

In the Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health track:

  • Gain the knowledge in typical and atypical early development needed to understand and support the development of young children ages birth to five.
  • Study the role of relationships and explore how factors like family, culture, individual history, and socioeconomic status impact a child’s health and well-being.
  • Learn how to apply infant and early childhood mental health principles in a variety of professional and practice settings.


  • Core courses in typical social, emotional, cognitive and biological development
  • CPSY 5503: Development and Psychopathology in Early Childhood
  • CPSY 5506, 5508, 5511: Infant Observation
  • CPSY 5513: Early Childhood Assessment
  • CPSY 5518: Prevention and Intervention in Early Childhood: Principles
  • CPSY 5521: Prevention and Intervention in Early Childhood: Practice
  • CPSY 5996: Field Experience with Reflective Practice

Learn more about the curriculum.

View a sample degree timeline.


This track helps individuals to advance their career as a mental health provider or practitioner in a variety of fields that serve young children and their families, such as social work, psychology, school psychology, family and marriage counseling, nursing and related disciplines, and early care and education. This track also prepares individuals for a career in policymaking or advocacy in children’s mental health.

Prepare to pursue Endorsement

Our online M.A. program will provide you with the developmental science background, reflective practice experience, and professional guidance necessary to apply for Endorsement for Culturally Sensitive, Relationship-focused Practice Promoting Infant Mental Health® through the Minnesota Association for Children’s Mental Health, Infant and Early Childhood Division.

Endorsement levels include:

  • Infant Family Specialist (Prevention/Early Intervention)
  • Infant Mental Health Specialist (Treatment/Intervention); and
  • Infant Mental Health Mentor (Clinical, Faculty, or Policy Leadership).

Tuition and funding

Tuition for our M.A. program follows the University’s general graduate tuition rates for the College of Education and Human Development. Full-time enrollment is 6 to 14 credits per semester. This track has a total of 32 credits.

Since this is an online program, all students qualify for the Minnesota resident tuition rate.

Irving B. Harris Foundation Diversity Scholarship

The Irving B. Harris Foundation promotes infant and early childhood mental health through professional training and education. With their support, we offer diversity scholarships for underrepresented students and professionals. To apply for a scholarship, write a brief explanation of why you feel you would qualify and upload as part of your application.

Additional resources

Featured Faculty

Betty Carlson headshotElizabeth Carlson, Ph.D., is affiliated graduate faculty at the Institute of Child Development and director of the Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health certificate program. Her research focuses on the role of early experience in development, including how individuals become vulnerable to psychopathology and the impact of trauma on development.



How to apply


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Why choose the University of Minnesota?

Founded in 1925, the University of Minnesota Institute of Child Development is a premier center of scholarship, teaching and research. Study with award-winning faculty and be a part of a community devoted to understanding and supporting how children learn and grow.