The baccalaureate degree program in Human Development and Family Studies provides students with an understanding of human development and family relationships across the lifespan with an emphasis in developing practical skills for working in the field. The four track options prepare graduates for professional careers related to working with children, youth, adults and families in a variety of social and human service settings. Core coursework focuses on family theory and processes including special attention to diversity, advocacy and community engagement. Students will be introduced to lifespan development (from infancy through old age) with the option to specialize in a developmental stage or in family life education. All students will complete service learning and advocacy projects and have the opportunity to either complete field work or a senior research project as a part of their learning program. Curriculum is closely aligned to standards for the National Council of Family Relations (family life education track), Child Development Council (child development track), Child and Youth Care Certification Board (youth development track)
Each student may select one of four 9-hour tracks or the Child Life Specialist Concentration requiring a ten course sequence. These concentrations allow students to guide their career towards the area which most interests them, whether it is working with youth, the elderly, or providing services for families and communities.
- Child Development (designed for students interested in working in Child Care management, aligned for easy degree completion for those with CDA certification),
- Youth Development (designed for students interested in working in Community Youth Organizations, After School programs, and youth sports programs),
- Family Life Education (designed for students interested in working directly with parents and families at community agencies including adoption/foster care, pregnancy centers, and family resource centers),
- Gerontology (designed for students interested in working with community agencies supporting elderly populations including advocacy and policy)
The 31 hour Child Life Specialist Concentration is aligned with the academic program requirements set by the as Association of Child Life Professionals (child life specialist concentration) and prepares students to work in hospitals or medical care facilities as a CLS. Students who complete this concentration will have the academic requirements met to apply for a formal internship and sit for the CLS exam if they choose to pursue certification after graduation.
- Child Life Specialist Concentration (designed for students who wish to work in hospital settings as a Certified Child Life specialist).
A minor is not required for the B.A. in Human Development and Family Studies.