MA, Learning, Developmental and Family Sciences

CU Denver/Mile High Early Learning Partnership

Are you looking to make a difference in the lives of families and children in urban and diverse communities? This innovative MA, organized by CU Denver and Mile High Early Learning, is designed for individuals who wish to lead and excel in organizations that serve urban and diverse families, children and communities.

What you’ll learn

In this master’s degree program, students will develop a deeper understanding of children's learning and development, family systems and dynamics, and culturally responsive practices. The program provides students with hands-on experiences, opportunities to collaborate with colleagues, and the skills necessary to pursue leadership opportunities in organizations that serve urban and diverse families, young children and their communities.

Specialization options:

  • Leadership in Urban and Diverse Communities
  • Family Diversity and Social Justice

This 30-credit hour degree is designed to be completed in two years with the program beginning summer term each year. Some students may choose to complete their courses beyond two years in order to balance working full-time and being a student.

Mode of study: Courses within the program may be offered online, hybrid or face-to-face depending on the course. Online instruction is designed to work around your busy schedule, while face-to-face instruction allows you to collaborate with your peers and get valuable time with our expert faculty.

About CU Denver’s School of Education & Human Development 
CU Denver is recognized for preparing professionals who are passionate about families, education, diversity, equity and social justice. Additionally, CU Denver’s School of Education & Human Development is one of the highest ranked graduate schools in the nation according to U.S. News & World Report. Our faculty are directly connected to the policies and issues facing diverse families and community organizations today.

About Mile High Early Learning
As Denver’s oldest and largest provider of subsidized high-quality early childhood education, Mile High Early Learning offers year-round programs in seven early learning centers and two drop-in centers that serve Denver’s poorest neighborhoods, and engages parents and informal child care providers through community education programs such as Babies Ready for College. Through its Professional Learning Center, Mile High Early Learning provides training with hands-on practical experiences to early learning professionals. The organization serves over 9,000 children and families annually and collaborates with other early childhood programs to expand access to and increase the quality of early childhood education.

About CU Denver and Mile High Early Learning’s Partnership
This partnership combines the expertise of CU Denver’s faculty with Mile High Early Learning staff’s real world know how of fostering the achievement and well-being of diverse urban children and families. Together, we provide students with deep theoretical background combined with practice-based experiences and knowledge.

Admissions and requirements

Participants should already hold a bachelor’s degree and must have the ability to attend classes in Denver. The application deadline is April 1 each year. An application fee of $50 is due at the time of application submission. No GRE is required. You will apply for the MA in Learning, Developmental and Family Sciences and select the Mile High Early Learning option. The next cohort will be in June, 2019.

Tuition rates and fees are listed under the graduate school rates for the School of Education & Human Development.

Apply today!

Please contact the Continuing and Professional Education department to learn more about the program or for assistance with your application.

Faculty Program Leaders

Ruben Viramontez Anguiano, PhD

Diana Schaack, PhD

Mile High Early Learning Program Leaders

Pamela K. Harris, PhD

Lisa Grant, MA


Program Core Courses (21 credits)
All students in the MA program are required to complete each of the following core courses. As one of the core courses, students will be required to complete an applied project in their last semester of the program. A faculty member will be assigned to each student to advise through completion of the project.

HDFR 5180: Family, Schools and Community Partnerships
EDHD 6100: Socio-cultural Contexts of Child Development
EDHD 6750: Designing Environments for Learning & Development
EDHD 6600: Motivation in Context
EDHD 5110: Human Learning
RSEM 5120: Introduction to Research Methods
EDHD 6919: Applied Project


Concentration Area Courses (9 credits)
Each student will select one of the following concentration areas: Leadership in Urban and Diverse Communities or Family Diversity and Social Justice. Students will take nine credits, or a series of three courses, in their concentration area.

Leadership in Urban and Diverse Communities Concentration

HDFR 5002: Family & Life Community Programs
HDFR 5003: Leadership & Organizations
HDFR 5004: Grants and Funding

Family Diversity and Social Justice Concentration

HDFR 7260: Family Diversity and Social Justice
HDFR 5075/4075: Family Policy and Law
HDFR 5020: Black and Latino Children in Families and Schools