Child and Family Sciences: Changing Lives!
Students seeking a degree in Child and Family Sciences choose one of two emphasis areas, Child Development or Family Sciences. The Child Development emphasis is ideal for those wanting a career in a field related to early childhood education (birth through 8 years, including Pre-K/K licensure) or program administration/evaluation. The Family Sciences emphasis is ideal for those wanting a career in a field related to social services, parent education, or the operation of non-profit agencies.
What Will I Learn?
Child and Family Sciences majors learn how to examine the systemic relationships among individuals, families, and communities. All students take courses in individual and family development across the life cycle, interpersonal relationships and family dynamics, and parent-child interactions. Students then take courses specific to the chosen emphasis area.
Child Development emphasis:
• Childcare administration
• Curriculum development and creative activities
• Early literacy
• Developmentally appropriate methods and materials
Family Sciences emphasis:
• Public policy
• Human services
• Mental health
• Family life education
Our faculty represent several diverse fields
Faculty in Child and Family Sciences include experts in child development, certified family life educators, family scientists, licensed marriage and family therapists, and licensed professional counselors. This expertise, combined with their vast professional experiences and commitment to student success, lends authenticity to their courses and creates a supportive, yet challenging environment for students. Faculty routinely engage students in collaborative research projects, special problem investigations, experiential learning, and student leadership opportunities.
Faculty in Child and Family Sciences regularly collaborate with undergraduate students on research. Several of our students have received funding to help with the cost associated with conducting their own independent research, presenting at professional conferences, and publishing in peer-reviewed journals. Previous undergraduate research topics include: influences of social media, development of empathy in pre-k/ kindergarten, perceptions of breastfeeding in public, how family structure affects adolescent social/emotional development, juvenile diversion versus incarceration, father’s influence on adolescent behavior, and sexual health.
All students engage in experiential internships to enhance professional skills. Child development students have a student teaching experience with children 6 weeks to 6 years old in childcare, pre-kindergarten or kindergarten settings. Family relations students may intern at a variety of agencies such as Boys and Girls Club, alcohol and drug recovery centers, non-profit agencies, faith-based settings, early intervention, juvenile delinquency centers, foster care, and adoption agencies.
The Child and Family Sciences Student Organization (CFSSO) provides students with leadership opportunities, learning experiences, and chances to network with fellow students, faculty, and professionals in the field. The CFSSO supports the enhancement of academic, professional, and service aspects of student life through involvement in planned activities and group projects. Participation allows students to become better leaders in their own families and communities as they develop skills to succeed in their own lives. Membership is open to undergraduate or graduate students majoring or minoring in Child and Family Studies.
- Licensed Pre-Kindergarten/Kindergarten Teacher
- Mental Health/Human Service Agencies
- Technical Assistant Specialist
- Program Evaluator
- Cooperative Extension Agencies
- Faith-based and nonprofit organizations
- Ainsley H., 2016
Kindergarten Teacher, J. E. Johnson Elementary School, Prentiss, Mississippi
- Shamerica J., 2014
Teacher and Assistant Program Coordinator for Gifted Education, Kennedy Early Childhood Center, McComb, Mississippi
- Shakerra M., 2017
Family Protection Worker I, Child Protective Services, Jackson, Mississippi
- Hillary G., 2014
Family Advocate, Kids Hub Child Advocacy Center, Hattiesburg, Mississippi
- Stephanie H., 2013
Director, USM Center for Child Development, Hattiesburg, Mississippi
- Tierra R., 2017
Wraparound Facilitator/Care Coordinator, Canopy Children’s Solutions, Hattiesburg, Mississippi