FAQs for Child Development Emphasis


What is Child and Family Studies?


Child and Family Studies is the scientific study of child and family development.  CFS students learn how social systems are interconnected in ways that either cultivate or inhibit the development of children, youth, and families.  Our program emphasizes the importance of understanding families as systems of interconnected individuals and the relationship between family dynamics, resiliency, community wellness, and quality of life.  


What is included in the curriculum?


Students are awarded a Bachelor of Science degree in Child and Family Studies with an emphasis in Child Development. The full curriculum can be found in the bulletin, but generally, the curriculum focuses on individual and family development over the life span, examining social, cultural, economic, and historical trends that affect child development and family functioning. In addition, the Child Development emphasis offers pedagogy courses to prepare students to teach children from infancy through kindergarten age in a variety of early educational settings.


Are there opportunities to apply the coursework to real-world situations?


Yes, many classes have an applied component that allows students to practice what they are learning in the classroom. Laboratory, field experiences, and experiential learning are central to students’ preparation, with the goal of providing the best academic foundation within a real-life context.  During a student’s last semester, he or she is enrolled in the practicum course, CD 455, that connects academic preparation with professional practice through a semester of student teaching in two placements:  one infant/toddler placement and one pre-k/kindergarten placement.


What careers are available for graduates in Child and Family Studies?


The Bachelor of Science in Child and Family Studies will prepare graduates for professional positions working with children, youth, and families in educational programs and community services at the local, state, and national levels.  Graduates work in family/human social service agencies, educational systems, mental health facilities, non-profit agencies, faith-based organizations, community programs, governmental and public policy programs.  After successfully passing the Praxis II Education of Young Children (0021/5021) and the Education and Praxis II Principles of Learning and Teaching: Early Childhood (0621/5621), graduates with a Child Development emphasis can apply for Special Licensure through the MS Department of Education to teach pre-k/ kindergarten students


Will this degree also prepare me for graduate school?


Yes, graduates are also prepared to earn advanced degrees in a variety of disciplines, including but not limited to:


  • Human Growth and Development
  • Family Studies & Child Development
  • Early Childhood Education
  • Marriage & Family Therapy
  • Psychology
  • Other Social Science Related Fields 


Can I minor in Child and Family Studies?


Yes. Many students who major in related fields of study such as psychology, social work, anthropology, etc… choose to minor in child and family studies in order to broaden and support their understanding of family processes.


Is the department accredited?


Yes, the undergraduate program is accredited by the American Association for Family and Consumer Sciences (AAFCS). The Family Relations Emphasis is approved by the National Council of Family Relations. The master’s degree program in Marriage and Family Therapy is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Marriage and Family Therapy Education (COAMFTE). The Child Development Center is accredited by the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC).


What are the admission requirements?


Admission is open to all students who meet the general requirements for admission to the university. Students currently attending the university must have a cumulative GPA of 2.0 to transfer into Child and Family Studies.


Is there financial assistance available?


Yes. You may apply for financial assistance through the USM Financial Aid Office. University scholarship information can also be found on that website. Information about departmental scholarships is available on our website.


Who do I contact for more information?


Ms. Ruth Brooks is our Academic Coordinator and you can reach her at 601.266.4679 or ruth.brooks@usm.edu. She can help you with basic information about our department as well as refer you to one of our faculty members for specific program information.