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University of La Verne Master’s Child Development Program Ranks Best in California

College Choice has ranked the University of La Verne’s Master of Science in Child Development program as No. 1 in California and No. 9 in the nation.

The online version of the same program came in at No. 8 in the publication’s “Best Online Masters in Childhood Development Degrees” list. Both lists were released this month.

LaFetra College of Education Dean Kimberly White-Smith credited the distinction to the program’s leadership and faculty.

“We strive to cultivate knowledgeable, highly-skilled early childhood practitioners,” she said. “Our program is designed to be accessible to a wide variety of students, with educational options ranging from traditional face-to-face coursework through fully online programming to best meet the needs of the adult learner.”

Associate Professor of Child Development, Dr. Lisa Looney, chair of the child development master’s program, said students pursuing the degree often seek leadership positions as preschool directors or other administrative roles. They also use the degree to become college professors in the field, combining their practical and academic experience to pass on their knowledge to future child development educators.

The program’s distinction lies in how well it prepares its students, its focus on research, student support, and program flexibility, Looney said.

“One of our goals is to ensure that early childhood educators understand development well enough to make informed decisions when it comes to children,” she said. “Our courses on attachment, cognition and the brain, and language development, to name a few, provide students with information on theory and research that is critical to understanding the complexity of children’s development.”

The university encourages undergraduate child development majors to further their studies through the program’s 4 + 1 program, which creates a pathway for students enrolled in the undergraduate child development program to also get an advanced degree in an accelerated time frame.

College Choice considered numerous factors such as academic reputation, student retention rates, institutional excellence, student-to-faculty ratio, graduation rate, and early salaries of graduates. The group gathers data from organizations such as PayScale, U.S. News & World Report, and the National Center for Education Statistics.

Information: Kristen Ahn, assistant director of graduate admissions, (909) 448-4480. Program information is available online.