College of Behavioral & Social Sciences

BA in Child Development


Students who major in Child Development (CHLD) are interested in working with children and families directly or indirectly in administrative, advocacy, resource support, or researcher roles. All majors acquire a comprehensive understanding of how children grow and develop from conception through emerging adulthood. Our five emphases include: foundations of child development, child and environmental assessment and study, developmental context, professionalism, and critical thinking. Students are highly engaged in the coursework and career exploration plays a central role in the curriculum.


Within the context of the broader university commitment to higher education, the Department of Child Development offers opportunities for students to engage in the purposeful acquisition and integration of child development theory, research, and practical field experience. Specifically, the program centers on learning the foundations of child development (prenatal through adolescence); assessing children and environments (developmental needs, behavioral guidance, home, school, community); analyzing developmental contexts (including gender, ethnicity, social class, family, peers, culture); applying critical thinking skills in personal and professional settings; and influencing character and behavior.

Goals & Objectives

  • Development and Environment:  Students understand the developmental and environmental factors that affect children and their families.
  • Applied Knowledge: Students apply their knowledge in a variety of practice settings, including health, human services and education.
  • Collaborative Learning:Faculty facilitate students’ professional development by fostering collaborative learning opportunities that integrate teaching, mentoring, scholarship, guidance towards practical experiences, and leadership modeling.
  • Student Outcomes:  Graduates are knowledgeable and reflective professionals who recognize and value the uniqueness and diversity of children and their families within and across multiple contexts. 

Learning Outcomes

Foundations of Child Development:

Students demonstrate knowledge of the theoretical and empirical foundations of the discipline.

Child and Environmental Assessment: 

Students will demonstrate knowledge of assessment issues and perform qualitative and quantitative assessments of children and their environments.

Developmental Context:

Students will demonstrate knowledge of the multiple environmental contexts in which children grow and develop, and will be able to analyze systems that support children’s well-being.


Students will engage in professional behavior appropriate to the discipline in professional contexts.

Critical Thinking

Students will apply critical thinking and scientific methods of thinking (including logical and empirical reasoning) to issues regarding children’s well-being.