Undergraduate Degree Programs

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Human Development and Family Studies offers degree programs in Child Development (BA) and Human Development and Family Studies (BS or BA).

Human Development and Family Studies

Human Development is an applied field that applies complex theories to multifaceted, real-world issues affecting children and families. Using a social justice lens, HDFS practitioners and scholars seek to understand and work with the contexts in which individuals find themselves embedded. Graduates will be committed to improving the health and well-being of diverse individuals and families across the lifespan through research, teaching, and professional practice. A Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Science degree in Human Development and Family Studies (HDFS) provides rich, broad-based training and can lead to a wide range of career paths including business, counseling, couple and family therapy, healthcare, human services, policy, and resource management. Many HDFS graduates go on to graduate school where they study diverse topics and disciplines. The HDFS degrees are approved by the National Council on Family Relations (NCFR). Upon graduation, students may apply for provisional certification as a Family Life Educator, and with the additional work experience, they can earn full certification.

Child Development: Birth to Kindergarten and Special Education

The Bachelor of Arts in Child Development: Birth to Kindergarten and Special Education degree leads to teacher certification for birth to kindergarten in the state of Michigan upon successful completion of the degree requirements and certification requirements of the state of Michigan. Students may also choose to complete requirements for an additional teaching certification for pre-kindergarten to 3rd grade, resulting in birth to 3rd grade teaching certifications.  The degree program curriculum is built around two core principles: 1) multiple contexts and experiences shape development, including biology, family, school, community, and culture; and, 2) high quality early childhood education reflects the application of empirically-based research to inform practices that promote the comprehensive well-being of children and families. This degree program combines a primary education in child development and family studies with a focus on high-quality early childhood educational practices including special education. The major is appropriate for students interested in working with young children, from birth through kindergarten, in early educational settings as educators or administrators, including early childhood programs, home visiting programs and special education/early intervention. All students will gain extensive practical experience working WITH young children from diverse backgrounds, families, and educators in the MSU Child Development Laboratories (CDLs), which are accredited by the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC), and in other community-based early childhood settings. Students gain hands-on experience in early childhood classrooms and in early childhood home visiting programs. Read more about degree requirements here. 

We also offer undergraduate students in the Birth to Kindergarten and Special Education (BK) major the option to apply for early admission into the HDFS Child Development master’s program. Early admission allows academically strong students to complete their undergraduate degree and a master’s degree in five to five-and-a-half years (depending on scheduling). This option enables students to complete two degrees in a shorter amount of time while also saving money and provides an exceptional start to students’ professional careers. Students may elect to complete a focus on early childhood administration and policy, resulting in a master’s degree in early childhood development, with a transcriptable certificate in early childhood policy. Alternatively, students may complete a focus on advanced early childhood educational practices, including advanced coursework in early childhood development and practices, resulting in a master’s degree in early childhood development and practce. Read more about the dual enrollment program here.