Applying to the Program

To apply for any of our programs, please use the online application below.  Once you have applied, you can check the status of your application by logging into the Application System.

For more information about the Graduate School click here.

Frequently Asked Questions

What does my application need to include?

If you are applying to the MA program your application would need to include:

  • personal statement;
  • official transcripts;
  • letters of recommendation –  one required, two recommended.

If you are applying to the Ph.D program your application would need to include:

  • GRE score (Note: The Graduate Records Examination (GRE) has been waived for all prospective graduate students applying to the doctoral program in the 2023-24 academic year);
  • personal statement;
  • official transcripts;
  • three letters of recommendation;
  • writing sample (10+ pages)

Do I have to take the Graduate Record Exam (Note: The Graduate Records Examination (GRE) has been waived for all prospective graduate students applying to the doctoral program in the 2023-24 academic year)?

Yes, if you are applying to the Ph.D. program. You must report scores from the GRE as part of the admissions process. If you have taken the GRE within the last five years, it may be possible for you to have scores from your most recent exam forwarded to Rutgers. Check with Educational Testing Service concerning this possibility.

No, if you are applying to the M.A. program.

Does admission into the Ph.D. program require a minimum GRE score?

No. The admissions committee has not set a minimum GRE score, and instead relies on an evaluation of a candidate’s entire set of materials to make admissions decisions.

Do I send my application directly to the Department of Childhood Studies?

No. Send materials (electronic submission is preferred) to Rutgers University Graduate Admissions ONLY.  Do not send copies of your application to the Department.  Begin the application process here:

Is it possible to complete the programs as a part-time student?

Yes. Many of the classes for the M.A. and Ph.D. programs are offered in the late afternoon and evening (4 p.m. and later).  However, the completion of both degree programs requires genuine commitment to learning, study, and research. hese are programs for students serious about understanding children and representations of them!

How many credits do I have to register for to be considered for Federal Loan Programs?

You must register for at least 4.5 credits. This means  two classes (6 credits) per semester.

What is Rutgers’ Institution Code for the GRE / TOEFL?

The institution code is 2790. We do not use department codes.

What kind of jobs do graduates of the Ph.D. program enter?

We expect that graduates of the Ph.D. program will pursue a variety of careers. Some will enter the academy as teacher/scholars in psychology, sociology, English, history, education, and human development; others will become policy makers in federal and state government; and some are likely to become full-time researchers with independent research firms. We advise all applicants to consider whether the skills acquired in an interdisciplinary doctoral program will prepare them for the professions they seek.

For information about recent graduates with Ph.D. degrees in Childhood Studies, see our “where are they now?” page.

What kind of jobs do graduates of the M.A. program enter?

Many of those graduating with an M.A. degree will enter into professional positions involving the development and management of programs targeting youth; join research firms that evaluate social programs; change positions within their professions; and contribute to policy and regulations as members of state and federal governments.  Some will use the M.A. program to develop their skills and assess their interests in pursuing a doctoral degree.  Students whose career plans include clinical work as psychologists or guidance counselors should consider whether their interests might be better served by a Masters of Social Work or Masters of Counseling Psychology degree.

How do I know if the Ph.D. program is right for me?

You should believe that an interdisciplinary context is important for your intellectual growth for the Ph.D. Program in Childhood Studies to be a good fit for you. If you are excited by the prospect of drawing upon multiple disciplines to understand challenging intellectual and social issues related to children, then our program is probably right for you.

You should also imagine the kinds of issues that you might like to investigate in your dissertation study of a significant issue, as it will require a great deal of effort and passion on your part. You will need thoughtful advice and mentoring for your dissertation, and you should consider whether the faculty of our program has the kind of expertise that you will need to help you reach your intellectual goals. We have an exceptionally strong faculty with quite varied areas of strength, but not every possible area of inquiry is currently represented by the existing faculty. Feel free to e-mail faculty members whose interests are closest to yours to assess the fit between your intellectual goals and our capacity to support your development.

Do I need an undergraduate major in a specific discipline in order to apply for the graduate programs?

No. We encourage applications from those with backgrounds in all disciplines who are committed to the study of children and representations of them. In some cases, admitted students who lack important competencies usually obtained in undergraduate study will be counseled by the graduate director to enroll in undergraduate classes in order to acquire missing skills. Generally, however, the program is designed to support the intellectual development of students with diverse intellectual backgrounds.

When should I apply for financial aid?

You should apply for financial aid once you have completed your application for the childhood studies program. Applications for financial aid can be submitted online at Submit financial aid applications by March 15 if applying for fall admission.