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Child and Family Studies Major (B.S.C.F.S.)

Program Overview

The program prepares students to work with children, adults, and families throughout the lifespan in a broad range of settings. The developmental orientation of the program is designed to provide a thorough understanding of every major developmental period in life in multiple contexts from birth to adolescence, to working with mid-life and older adults. It includes child, adult, and family development classes in the Department of Social and Public Health, with a life span emphasis, as well as courses that include diversity in families, family ties and aging, human sexualities, the impact of stress and trauma, and death and dying. Professional skill development is an essential part of the program and intended to give students the practical skill set needed by human services specialists. Required courses from other departments or programs include early childhood education, health, psychology, sociology, and social work. Also required are a 75 hour practicum and a 400 hour full-time internship. These provide practical experience and the opportunity to integrate theory and course content into real-life situations. The program is designed to provide a strong foundation for those students who plan to go on to graduate school. The child and family studies program offers three different concentrations to choose from: child, adult, and family services; child life; and family gerontology. All CFS majors must complete all major and university course requirements before enrolling in CFS 4910, CFS Internship.  The 400 hour internship is the final requirement of the degree.

Child, Adult, and Family Services Concentration

This concentration prepares students to work with individuals and families in diverse settings, including human and social service agencies, and programs for children, adolescents, as well as young, mid-life, and older adults. Students learn about the nature of individual and family interactions, family dynamics, how individuals within the family contribute to and are shaped by these dynamics, and how broad societal contexts (e.g., schools, peers, gender, poverty) influence individual development and family functioning. By studying varied developmental pathways, including those pathways characterized by stress and trauma, students will have the opportunity to acquire the professional skills necessary to work with individuals, couples, and families in a broad range of human service settings.

Child Life Concentration/Pediatric Health Care Settings

This concentration prepares students for careers working with children and families in pediatric health care settings, including the Ronald McDonald House, Make-a-Wish organizations, and children's hospitals.  This concentration also prepares students to become a Certified Child Life Specialist (CCLS), as designated by the Child Life Council, the governing organization that oversees this profession. The CCLS helps normalize the hospitalization experience for children and families, and provides specific services that include preparations for medical procedures, coping skills for children during stressful health care experiences, support for siblings and parents, therapeutic medical play, planning and implementing activities to enhance growth and development, and interdisciplinary team involvement. In addition to core courses in the child and family studies program, students in this concentration are required to take courses in biology, psychology, early childhood education, and health.  Students following the CCLS career path must maintain a 3.0 GPA or higher in order to apply for the required child life practica and internships.  However, many other career options working with psychosocial issues for children and families navigating stressful health care experiences exist within this concentration (besides CCLS). Our Child Life Specialist Graduate Program is Endorsed by the Association of Child Life Professionals (ACLP).

Family Gerontology Concentration

This concentration focuses on aging within the context of families, more specifically the implications, support needs, and outcomes for adults and their family members as they age and the quality of their relationships across the life course. Child and family studies students who choose this concentration will also receive an undergraduate gerontology certificate to help them better prepare for careers advocating for and helping older adults and their family members. With this concentration, students typically seek employment working with mid to later life adults and their family members or pursue graduate work in such areas as marriage and family therapy, social work, human development and family studies, rehabilitation services, and public/community health.

Admissions Information

Freshman/First-Year Admission

No requirements beyond University admission requirements.

Change of Program Policy

No selective or limited admission requirements.

External Transfer Admission

No requirements beyond University admission requirements.

    Opportunities Upon Graduation

    With an accumulation of over 700 hours of service-learning, practicum, and internship experiences (includes 600 hour final internship, 75 hour practicum, and required service-learning hours built into selected courses), students who graduate from this program will have ample opportunities to explore career options, gain valuable experience, and develop/refine marketable skills. Child and family studies graduates find employment in many areas of human services, including child and family services, adolescent groups homes, rehabilitation centers, community programs for the developmentally disabled, senior citizen centers and facilities, family planning centers, mental health agencies, probation services, emergency shelters, adult foster care, hospice, hospitals, 4-H programs, and other agencies that assist families and individuals in crisis. The child and family studies program offers three different concentrations to choose from: child, adult, and family services; child life; and family gerontology. All three concentrations are designed to provide a strong foundation for those students who plan to go on to graduate school.

    Academic Catalog

    The academic catalog provides additional information about curriculum and courses for this major.
    Academic Catalog

    Program Details

    Bachelor of Science in Child and Family Studies


    Administrative Contact

    Jenny Chabot, contact person