MA in Leadership, Policy & Advocacy for Early Childhood Well-Being

The Master of Arts (MA) in Leadership, Policy & Advocacy for Early Childhood Well-Being provides advanced study for practicing educators, social workers, healthcare professionals, psychologists, administrators, and others. This program prepares early childhood leaders to work with and on behalf of young children and families in policy, leadership, education, human services, health, and other careers. The program is uniquely flexible, with core coursework in child development, international child and family research, racial and cultural identities, understanding and dismantling systems of inequity and oppression, and early childhood policy. Additionally, students will select from identified courses from across the University to tailor their program to their own professional aspirations.

The MA is designed as a 12-month, full-time or part-time program that may begin in the summer or fall semester each year. All students will design and participate in two semester-long field experiences in their professional field. 

Learning Outcomes

At completion of the program, students will:

  • Demonstrate and apply knowledge and understanding of the physical, neurological, cognitive, language, social, and emotional domains and theories of development applied to young children, prenatal to middle childhood.
  • Demonstrate respect for and recognize the strengths in cultural and other variances in developmental norms, values, and family dynamics and systems.
  • Using a multidisciplinary lens, critically analyze current research on young children and their environments, and policies that affect them, across a range of relevant fields in order to carry out original research and/or to design field interventions for healthy development of young children and their families.
  • Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of a range of texts, concepts, and issues in early childhood, including the intersectionality of categories of difference, the impact of relations of power, oppression, and liberation, and past and present theories and practices designed to promote social justice.
  • Develop, articulate, and demonstrate in one’s professional practice an understanding of one’s own racial, cultural, and linguistic identities, areas of privilege and marginalization, biases, participation in and/or personal impact of racist and oppressive behaviors and systems.
  • Develop the skills necessary to actively plan and implement an antiracist, anti-bias agenda and to participate in dismantling systemic oppression in one’s practice settings and systems.
  • Understand public and private social policy as it pertains to young children, their families, and the systems that contain them, as well as the processes and cycles of policymaking, and apply this knowledge in advocacy for children and families.
  • Demonstrate expertise in enacting interdisciplinary practices by appropriately integrating knowledge from a range of disciplines in one’s scholarship and field projects.
  • Demonstrate the capacity to play a leadership role in promoting best practices in early childhood development and family support in programs, organizations, and systems.

Degree Requirements

The 36-credit MA in Leadership, Policy & Advocacy for Early Childhood Well-Being consists of four core courses and two semester-long field experiences with accompanying seminars, as well as at least 12 credits of electives selected in consultation with students’ academic advisors and tailored to students’ previous academic and professional backgrounds, as well as their desired future aspirations and professional roles upon graduation. Elective courses may be selected from offerings within BU Wheelock or at participating colleges and programs across BU to provide a range of multidisciplinary opportunities to students. Up to 12 credits may be taken outside of BU Wheelock.

    Required Courses (24 credits)

    • SED AP 631 Child Policy (4 cr)
    • Child Development & Families in Societal and Cultural Contexts (4 cr)
    • Psychology of Oppression (4 cr)
    • Field Experience & Seminar in Early Childhood Leadership, Policy and Advocacy I (4 cr)
    • Field Experience & Seminar in Early Childhood Leadership, Policy and Advocacy II (4 cr)
    • Foundational Research course (4 cr, chosen in consultation with the academic advisor and will relate to students’ previous academic and professional background as well as their desired professional role upon graduation)

    Upon entry to the program, advisors will work with students to determine if they have already taken the equivalent of any of the required courses. They will then be advised to take other courses from the list of program electives. For example, someone with a degree in Early Childhood Education would already have extensive coursework in child development; someone with an MSW would probably have had coursework in research and racial and cultural identity/systems of oppression.