MA in Infant Mental Health
Explore a range of infant mental health issues—from attachment theory to intervention strategies—while learning to work collaboratively with parents and primary caregivers using a culturally sensitive and family-centered approach.
About the Program
Infant mental health is an interdisciplinary field founded on the principle that early relationship-based intervention in the context of family, community, and culture can support normative emotional and behavioral development and help children at risk and their families prevent future developmental problems.
The master of arts in infant mental health at Mills provides students with the skills and knowledge to become practitioners or researchers who specialize in working with children from birth through age five. Our program builds on a solid background in psychology, research methodology, and normative development. Graduate courses include advanced study of development, assessment, and special needs children, combined with fieldwork and a master's thesis. Each student works with an advisor to create a plan of graduate study that fits her/his goals. View our degree requirements for further information.
In addition to entering careers in the early childhood field, graduate students may also use this program as a bridge to other graduate training, such as doctoral work in psychology, early childhood special education, or occupational therapy.
Mills also offers a one-of-a-kind BA/MA accelerated degree in infant mental health for undergraduate students. This program combines undergraduate and graduate course work and field placement with a broad background in the liberal arts and sciences. Students earn a bachelor's degree in psychology and an accelerated master’s degree in infant mental health with just one year of additional study.
Students interested in serving infants and young children who have developmental disabilities and their families can combine the MA in infant mental health with our early childhood special education credential.
What You’ll Learn
The MA in infant mental health prepares students to become core providers working with infants, toddlers, and preschoolers. The interdisciplinary nature of the program brings psychological and educational disciplines together in a comprehensive curriculum that will help students develop competencies in both areas. Students will discover:
Biological and psychosocial factors impacting outcome:
- Stress and trauma on early brain development
- Regulatory issues
- Sensory problems
High-risk influences upon early relationships:
- Atypical child and family factors
- Teen parents
- Chronic physical and mental illness
- Developmental disabilities
- Substance abuse
- Family violence
- Community violence
- Foster care
Risk and resiliency:
- Risk and resiliency factors
- Factors that promote resiliency and protect children from risk