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Program: M.A., Education

Educational Psychology

Program Description

The Master of Arts (M.A.) in Education with an option in Educational Psychology offers two emphases: (1) Early Childhood Education and (2) Development, Learning, Instruction and Evaluation. Students must take prerequisite courses before formal admittance to a master’s program.

Educational Psychology: Early Childhood Education Emphasis

The specific objectives of the Master of Arts in Education with an option in Educational Psychology and an emphasis in Early Childhood Education (ECE) are:

  1. To prepare students to assume leadership positions in early childhood care and education in a variety of educational, health and mental health-settings institutions concerned with children from the prenatal stage through age 8. Academic career choices of students selecting this emphasis typically include:
    1. Instructor of child development courses in community colleges.
    2. Parent educator in public adult education or in a variety of private settings.
    3. Specialist working with hospitalized children and in programs serving families with high-risk infants and young children.
    4. Coordinator of community program services for young children and their families.
    5. Lead teacher, supervisor or director of programs.
    6. Child advocate working in various social policy agencies.
  2. To prepare students to enter doctoral programs in early childhood education with a view to teaching at the university level, conducting research in child development, planning and administering programs, or developing public policy.
  3. To provide students with knowledge of child development, adult-child interaction, cultural and language diversity, and biological and environmental factors influencing families and their young children and community staff-family collaborations.

This program is aligned with the Professional Standards for Advanced Students (master’s level) as specified by the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) in concert with the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE). Students must complete courses with a grade of “B” or better to make satisfactory progress in the program. Students earning less than a grade of “B” will be required to meet with their faculty advisor to determine if they may continue in the program.

Development, Learning, Instruction and Evaluation Emphasis

The Development, Learning, Instruction and Evaluation (DLIE) Program offers graduate study of theory research and applications in human life-span development, motivation, learning, instruction, development, teaching processes, affective processes, individual and group differences, assessment, evaluation and instructional design. The specific objectives of the M.A. in Education degree program with specialization in Educational Psychology/Development, Learning, Instruction and Evaluation are: (a) To prepare students according to current academic demands for entry into doctoral programs in educational psychology and education; and (b) To offer pre- and in-service teachers the opportunity to improve their teaching through in-depth study of the psychology of learning, as well as by learning how to do research about students, family, teacher, school, community and teaching-instruction variables; and (c) to prepare students to understand and implement research and evaluation skills in a wide spectrum of education and education-related settings.

The degree prepares candidates for the following career goals:

  1. Establish a foundation for doctoral study in a variety of fields.
  2. Become a more effective classroom teacher or mentor.
  3. Design instructional materials.
  4. Conduct educational research and program assessment.
  5. Open a private, educationally related business.
  6. Become an educational consultant.
  7. Work in businesses with an educational or training dimension.
  8. Evaluate educational programs in various settings, such as business, education or government.

Program Requirements

A. Admission Requirements for Classified Standing

  1. Complete University application and requirements.
    1. Have earned a baccalaureate degree from an accredited college or university.
    2. Have been in good standing at the last institution attended.
    3. Have at least a 2.5 GPA in the last 60 semester/90 quarter units attempted.
    4. If cumulative undergraduate GPA is less than 3.0, score at or above the 50th percentile on one of the three sections of the aptitude test of the Graduate Record Examination (i.e., verbal, quantitative or analytical) or on the Miller Analogies Test (MAT). Applicants to the School Psychology Program are required to take the GRE or MAT.
    5. Pass Upper Division Writing Proficiency Exam by earning a score of 8 or higher.
  2. Complete Department application for admission to graduate programs.
    1. Submit two recommendations, either as letters or on the departmental form.
    2. Participate in the admission’s interview process.
    3. Be accepted by Departmental Student Affairs Committee.
  3. Complete all required prerequisite courses (6 units) with a grade of “B-” or better within the past 7 years. (Equivalent courses may be substituted for prerequisites.)
    1. Early Childhood Education Emphasis Prerequisites
      1. EPC 430 Development and Learning in Early Childhood Education (3)
      2. EPC 600 Educational Statistics for Research and Measurement (3)
    2. Development, Learning, Instruction and Evaluation Emphasis Prerequisites
      1. A 3-unit course in Psychological Foundations, which may be any of the following:
        EPC 314 Psychological Foundations, K-12 (3)
        or EPC 315 Psychological Foundations of Learning and Teaching (3)
        or EPC 420 Educational Psychology of Adolescence (3)
        or EPC 500 Foundations of Elementary Teaching (3)
      2. EPC 600 Educational Statistics for Research and Measurements (3)

B. Educational Psychology: Early Childhood Education Emphasis

1. Required Courses (21 units)

EPC 602 Research Principles (3)
EPC 609 Human Development: A Life-Span Perspective (3)
EPC 632 Issues, Theories and Current Practices in Early Childhood (3)
EPC 635 Foundations of Developmental Curriculum for Early Childhood (3)
EPC 639C Fieldwork in Early Childhood (3)
EPC 683 Collaboration with Families in Educational Settings (3)
EPC 668 Partnerships for Excellence in Early Childhood Education (3)
or EPC 642 Assessment and Evaluation in Early Childhood Education (3)

2. Electives (6 units)

Electives must be approved by an Early Childhood Education program coordinator.

Concentrations of Study (optional)

Students are not required to have a sub-specialization in their choice of electives, but areas of sub-specialties have been identified as one way to fulfill elective need, depending upon a student’s area of interest.

Cognition and Language

Electives selected from:
EPC 605 Advanced Psychological Foundations of Education (3)
EPC 607 Motivation in Learning and Development: Theories and Application in Educational Psychology (3)
EPC 634 Language and Concept Development in the Early School Years (3)

This sub-specialty is ideal for master’s students who may be teaching at the elementary school level or for those with a special interest in learning, motivation or language

Infant-Toddler-Family Mental Health

Electives selected from:
EPC 630 The Infant-Parent Dyad and the Social/Emotional Development of the Infant-Toddler (3)
EPC 631 Family, Culture and Ecological Influences on Early Childhood Mental Health Development (3)
EPC 633 Neurobiological Development, Sensory Issues and Challenges in Early Childhood (3)
EPC 636 Systems and Policies in Infant-Toddler-Family Mental Health (3)
EPC 644 Current Issues in Infant-Toddler-Family Mental Health (3)

The Infant-Toddler-Family Mental Health Certificate provides recognition for a specialized course of study to enhance knowledge of the most recent research and practices related to working with very young children and their families in a variety of educational and health-related settings. The full certificate requires five courses, of which two courses can be completed as electives in the Early Childhood Education emphasis. Three additional courses also are required to earn the certificate. This is not a license, credential or other government-recognized certificate.

3. Culminating Experience (3-6 units)

EPC 697 Comprehensive Exam (3)
or EPC 698C Thesis/Graduate Project (3-3)

Suggested Course Sequence by Semester:

Semester 1: EPC 632, 639C
Semester 2: EPC 602, 635, elective
Semester 3: EPC 609, 683, elective
Semester 4: EPC 642 or 688, and either 697 or 698
Semester 5: EPC 697 or 698 if needed

C. Educational Psychology: Development, Learning, Instruction and Evaluation Emphasis

1. Required Courses (21 units)

EPC 602 Research Principles (3)
EPC 605 Advanced Psychological Foundations of Education (3)
EPC 607 Motivation in Learning and Development: Theories and Application in Educational Psychology (3)
EPC 609 Human Development: A Lifespan Perspective (3)
EPC 615 Introduction to Instructional Design (3)
EPC 684 Educational Program Evaluation and Assessment (3)
EPC 695D Seminar in Selected Studies: Development, Learning and Instruction (3)

2. Elective Courses (6 units)

Electives must be chosen in consultation with and must be approved by a DLIE program advisor. Students may choose courses covering the following: human development, statistics, measurement, evaluation cognition, instructional design and teaching. (Electives are individualized for each student.)

3. Culminating Experience (3 units)

EPC 697 Comprehensive Exam (3)
or EPC 698C Thesis/Graduate Project (3)*

*EPC 698C may be taken for an additional 3 units if the culminating activity requires an additional term to complete.

Total Units Required for the M.A. Degree: 30

All programs must be approved by the program coordinator in advance of course enrollment.


Department of Educational Psychology and Counseling
Chair: Alberto Restori
Education (ED) 1218
(818) 677-2599
(818) 677-2601

Graduate Coordinator: Shyrea Minton
(818) 677-4976