The programs in Child Development and Family Science prepare individuals with the knowledge, skills, and perspective they will need to work effectively with families and children to meet these challenges. We offer undergraduate programs to prepare students to work with families and children in community, government, and medical settings. Students can select the Child Development Specialization, the Child Life Specialization, or the Family Science Specialization.
Child Development Specialization
Child Development is the study of how children grow physically, emotionally, socially, and cognitively from conception to adulthood. Students in the specialization apply child development theory to the practice of helping children across diverse settings, including child welfare and social service organizations. Child Development students take several applied skills courses taught by clinicians. In these courses, students develop therapeutic skills and are well-prepared to work with children and families in many settings following graduation.
Child Life Specialization
Child life specialists are child development experts who help children and families cope in medical settings such as hospitals. They provide education about medical diagnoses and treatments and promote coping through procedural support, play, and therapeutic activities. Graduates of the child life specialization are prepared to pursue child life graduate studies, internships, and certification as Certified Child Life Specialists.
Family Science Specialization
Family Science is the interdisciplinary study of families and close interpersonal relationships. We focus on understanding the dynamics of families in a changing society, as well as the impact that family interaction has on individual development and well-being. Family Science emphasizes a systems perspective in helping families build healthy relationships and preventing problems before they occur. Graduates are prepared to work in community social service agencies, to provide family life education, or to pursue graduate school in family science, social work, marriage, and family therapy, or other related fields.
Likely Career Paths
social service worker, preschool teacher, early intervention specialist, child life specialist, family life educator, paraeducator, adoption specialist, child welfare case manager, crisis hotline specialist, policy consultant
pursue graduate school to become: social worker, marriage and family therapist, school counselor, mental health counselor, occupational therapist
Here's a great resource with lists of places that folks work with CDFS backgrounds: https://family.science/where-we-work
Cost: University-wide costs (cwu.edu/financial-aid/cost-attendance). Additional $120 for course fees in approximately 4 courses, depending on specialization.
Primary contact: Amy Claridge | email@example.com | cwu.edu/child-family/child-development-and-family-science
|CWU Course #||CWU Course Name||Transfer Course #|
|CDFS 232||Child Development||EDUC& 115|
- Any Developmental Psychology course will be helpful for all specializations but are not required to transfer.
- If pursuing the Child Life Specialization, courses in Medical Terminology or Anatomy and Physiology are advised, but not required to transfer.
- Department offers many online summer courses, which often helps students catch up or graduate early.
- Transfer students don't need to meet the GPA requirement, but once students have a quarter at CWU, they need to meet the 2.8-3.0 GPA requirement for program entry (varies across specializations).
- Graduation requirement is GPA of 2.7- 3.0 depending on specialization, and students need to earn C or better in all major courses.
- Students who come in with an AA-DTA can finish in two full-time years.
- Any Washington state DTA (Direct Transfer Agreement) degree will satisfy all general education requirements.
- Major requirements may change over time; students will be expected to meet the catalog requirements in place the quarter they are admitted to the major. Current catalog: https://catalog.acalog.cwu.edu/.