As a child development major, you'll examine the long-range effects of growth and development from birth through adolescence. You will learn how critical the childhood years are for building the foundation for health and well-being across the lifespan. Throughout this program, you can work in real-life settings that lead to careers in the human services field such as child protective services or after school programs. This program can also prepare you for graduate study and with advanced training child development majors may become infant mental health specialists, counselors, social workers, speech therapists, or physician assistants.
Points of Pride
CMU is the only university in Michigan and one of three in the nation with a Future Child Advocates of America organization.
Put Your Degree to Work
U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics sample data
Below is a list of potential careers, median salary over the course of the career and projected job growth.
|Job||Median Pay||Job Growth through 2026|
|Social and Community Service Managers||$64,100 per year||18% (26,500 more jobs)|
|Mental Health Counselor||$43,300 per year||23% (60,300 more jobs)|
The course listings below are a representation of what this academic program requires. For a full review of this program in detail please see our official online academic bulletin AND consult with an academic advisor. This listing does not include the General Education courses required for all majors and may not include some program specific information, such as admissions, retention, and termination standards.
(Click on the course name or number for a complete course description.)
Child Development Major
Child Development is an interdisciplinary field of study that examines the growth and development of children in their social contexts. The Child Development major is a flexible plan of study designed to prepare students for a wide variety of careers in human service settings working with children and families. Some examples may include: early intervention, child protective services worker, after school activities director, and youth development specialist. It may also be used as preparatory training for graduate studies in child development and professional programs in health- and counseling-related fields.
Students who take this major cannot minor in Child Development or double major in Family Studies.
Students may only double count 9 credits when combining the Child Development Major with the Family Studies Minor.
Total: 36-37 semester hours
Study of the basic principles of human development and their relation to family interactions throughout the lifespan. This course may be offered in an online format. May be offered as Writing Intensive. Recommended: Students who have taken EDU 280 or PSY 220 should seek departmental advice prior to enrollment. (University Program Group III-A: Behavioral Sciences)
Marriage and Close Relationships
This course examines the cultural and historical factors and processes that affect the development of marital, familial, and other close relationships across the life course.
The study of the parent-child relationship, and the impact of that relationship on the development of both children and parents. Prerequisite: one of: HDF 100, EDU 280, or PSY 220.
Required Courses I
Theories of Child and Adolescent Development
Survey of child and adolescent theories of development. Prerequisites: HDF 100 or EDU 280 or PSY 220; Signed major or minor in Child Development, or in Family Studies. This course may be offered in an online format. May be offered as Writing Intensive.
Child Development Seminar: Promoting Resilience
Through integration of theory, research, and practice, this course focuses on encouraging positive developmental outcomes and resilience in children and adolescents facing stressful life circumstances. May be offered as Writing Intensive. This course may be offered in an online format. Prerequisites: Two of: HDF 302, 303, 306, 307, 308; or graduate standing.
Required Courses II
Select two classes from the following:
Infant and Toddler Development
The study of pregnancy, prenatal development, childbirth, and the development of infants and toddlers (to 3 years) within the family and the larger social system. This course may be offered in an online format. Prerequisites: HDF 100 or EDU 280 or PSY 220.
Early Childhood Development
Principles for growth and development of preschool and early elementary children (ages 3-8) from diverse backgrounds and observations of children in early education settings. This course may be offered in an online format. Prerequisite: HDF 100 or EDU 280 or PSY 220.
Study of adolescence and issues relating to the family of a teenager. Prerequisite: HDF 100 or EDU 280 or PSY 220.
Required Courses III
Select one of the following:
Oppression: Roots and Impact on Human Development in the United States
A study of the roots and impact of different forms of oppression on the development of individuals within the family context. This course may be offered in an online or hybrid format. (University Program Group IV-C: Studies in Racism and Cultural Diversity in the United States)
Families in Cultural Perspective
The varieties of family forms and resulting patterns of interpersonal relations to be found throughout Western history and in selected Western and non-Western cultures. (University Program Group III-B: Studies in Social Structures)
HDFS International Service Learning
An international cultural immersion experience working on a service learning project under the supervision of a faculty member. Prerequisite: Permission of instructor; minimum of 2.5 GPA; minimum of 24 CMU credit hours; depending on the service project approved, prerequisites may include language credit or ability, completion of specialized courses, or demonstration of appropriate skills for the project. (University Program Group IV-B: Studies in Cultures Outside of the Anglo-American Tradition, Option 2)
Early Childhood Special Education
Current issues in early childhood special education aligned with developmentally appropriate practices, working with families, professionals, and curriculum focused on children birth to eight. This course may be offered in an online or hybrid format. Prerequisites: HDF 100 or EDU 280; or junior standing; or graduate status.
Required Courses IV
Professional Skills and Methods
This course examines service learning and potential career paths for professionals in Human Development and Family Studies. Field placements required. Prerequisites: A signed major in Child Development or Family Studies; HDF 100 or HDF 211 or PSY 220.
Child Development Skills and Methods
An introduction to skills and methods for professional practice with children and adolescents. Prerequisites: HDF 219 with a grade of C+ or better; a signed major in Child Development; Recommended: HDF 307.
A structured internship that provides students with an opportunity to work in a professional setting serving the needs of individuals and families. No more than 6 credits may be taken each semester. Prerequisites: HDF 317 or 319 or 506 with a grade of C+ or better; a signed major in Child Development or Family Studies.
Required Courses V
Professional Skills and Methods
Select one of the following:
Developmental Assessment of Children
Focus on the purpose of assessment, with emphasis on methods and skills used in assessing young children's development. Collaboration with parents and professionals is emphasized. This course may be offered in an online or hybrid format. Prerequisites: Two of: HDF 302, 303, 306, 510.
Human Development and Family Studies Research Methods
This course is an introduction to research methods within human development and family studies. Prerequisites: 9 HDF or GRN credits.
Practicum in Parent Involvement
Analysis of goals, trends, methods and models of parent involvement with opportunities to plan programs for parents, and to work with parents in professional settings. Prerequisites: HDF 307; one of HDF 302, HDF 303, HDF 306; or Human Development and Family Studies graduate standing.