Bachelor's in Human Development and Family Studies

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Online Bachelor's in Human Development and Family Studies Curriculum

Maryville University’s online human development and family studies curriculum explores the cognitive, emotional, physical, and social development of people and families throughout various stages in their lives. Undergraduate-level human development and family studies students not only study various topics, such as how family, community, human sexuality, and interpersonal relationships can affect human development, they are also taught how various external factors, such as friends, community members, and society, play a role in how individuals behave and learn.

Maryville University’s online degree program also offers a Child Life Specialist concentration and four track options: Early Childhood Development, Family Life Education, Youth Development, and Adult Development and Aging.

Maryville University Online BA in Human Development and Family Studies

Maryville’s online bachelor’s in human development and family studies program comprises 128 credit hours, including general education requirements with core coursework and a number of electives that allow you to tailor your degree to your interests. Tailor your degree to your interest and choose from the 30-credit-hour Child Life Specialist concentration or one of four 9-credit-hour tracks in Early Child Development, Youth Development, Family Life Education, or Adult Development and Aging. Our curriculum blends research, theory, and fieldwork to align with standards set by the National Council on Family Relations, Child Development Council, Child and Youth Care Certification Board, and the Association of Child Life Professionals. As you earn your degree, you can build your base of knowledge to prepare for future certification assessments, such as Certified Family Life Educator (CFLE) and Certified in Family and Consumer Sciences (CFCS).

Human Development & Family Studies Core (33 Credit Hours)

HDFSIntroduction to Human Development and Family Studies3 Credits
PSYC 254Human Development through the Lifespan3 Credits
HDFS 201Culture, Diversity, and the 21st Century Family3 Credits
HDFS 202Family and Community Partnerships3 Credits
HDFS 303Interpersonal Relationships3 Credits
SOC 330Human Sexuality3 Credits
SOC 361Sociology of the Family3 Credits
SOC 305Family Violence Through the Lifespan3 Credits
HDFS 400Family Law, Policy and Advocacy3 Credits
SOSC 240Critical Thinking in the Social Sciences3 Credits
HDFS 244Understanding Research in HDFS3 Credits
HDFS 498Senior Experience: Internship3 Credits
HDFS 499Senior Experience: Capstone3 Credits

Child Life Specialist Concentration (30 Credit Hours - less elective options)

Designed for students who wish to work in hospital settings as a Certified Child Life Specialist. Learn to address children’s unique needs and challenges in this optional concentration. Study areas like infant and toddler development, child psychology, developmental play and learning, anatomy and physiology, and counseling skills. You can also prepare to become a Certified Child Life Specialist (CCLS).

**Student’s have the opportunity to choose between PSYC 311 and PSYC 314 to complete this concentration.

HDFS 120Intro to Child Life3 Credits
HDFS 220Infant and Toddler Development3 Credits
HDFS 320Developmental Play and Learning3 Credits
REL 301Religion, Death and Dying3 Credits
HEPR 108Medical Terminology3 Credits
HEPR 355Counseling Skills for Healthcare Professionals3 Credits
HDFS 494Child Life Practicum I3 Credits
HDFS 495Child Life Practicum II3 Credits
PSYC 311 Child Psychology3 Credits
PSYC 314Adolescent Psychology3 Credits

Early Childhood Development Track (9 Credit Hours)

Designed for students interested in working in child care management, aligned for easy degree completion for those with CDA certification. Study the cognitive, emotional, social, and language development of young children within the context of family and community. Discover how to apply general and early education practices to develop learning programs.

HDFS 220Infant and Toddler Development3 Credits
HDFS 320Developmental Play and Learning3 Credits
HDFS 420Best Practices in Child Guidance3 Credits

Youth Development Track (9 Credit Hours)

Designed for students interested in working in community youth organizations, after school programs, and youth sports programs. Build the skills to promote positive development in children and adolescents from diverse backgrounds. Prepare to work in non-school settings, such as community centers, nonprofit organizations, after-school programs, and the juvenile justice system.

**Student’s have the opportunity to choose between PSYC 311 and PSYC 314 to complete this track. 

HDFS 310Trends and Outcomes for 21st Century Youth3 Credits
HDFS 410Programming and Supervision of Youth3 Credits
PSYC 311 Child Psychology3 Credits
PSYC 314Adolescent Psychology3 Credits

Family Life Education Track (9 Credit Hours)

Designed for students interested in working directly with parents and families at community agencies including adoption/foster care, pregnancy centers, and family resource centers. Champion healthy family development and teach effective communication, parenting, interpersonal, and coping skills to individuals, couples, families, and caregivers. Students will have the opportunity to prepare to become a Certified Family Life Educator (CFLE) with coursework designed to meet National Council on Family Relations requirements.

HDFS 230Family Resource Management3 Credits
HDFS 330Parent and Child Interactions3 Credits
HDFS 430Family Life Education Practice3 Credits

Adult Development and Aging Track (9 Credit Hours)

Designed for students interested in working with community agencies supporting elderly populations including advocacy and policy. Explore the social, emotional, and family-based factors that impact the ways individuals enter adulthood. Gain the knowledge and skills to deliver practical aid and develop care programs for people as they experience midlife and old age.

HEPR 150Introduction to Gerontology3 Credits
SOC 340Social Aspects of the Aged3 Credits
HDFS 440Careers and Ethics with Aging Populations3 Credits

Want to learn how to get started?

To ensure the best possible educational experience for our students, we may update our curriculum to reflect emerging and changing employer and industry trends.

Skills Gained with a BA in Human Development and Family Studies Degree

Maryville University’s online Bachelor of Arts in Human Development and Family Studies program is designed to help students gain the skills to critically examine ethical questions in professional practice. Graduates are prepared to work in various settings, such as schools and childcare centers, government agencies, nonprofit organizations, and treatment centers and shelters. To help students in their chosen careers, the typical curriculum consists of courses that provide students with in-depth knowledge and key skills, such as:

  • Communication. Effective communication involves more than choosing the right words. Students are taught the basics of verbal and nonverbal communication; active listening skills; and how body language, such as eye contact and hand gestures, can help them communicate more effectively.
  • Interpersonal Relationships. Interpersonal relationships often set the tone for the family dynamic. Students are taught how the initiation, development and end of committed relationships, with opposite or same-sex partners, impact all members of a family unit.
  • Critical thinking. Critical thinking skills are important in understanding the logical connections and links between ideas. Students are taught how to observe, analyze, interpret, and reflect upon data so they can solve problems systematically.

Common Courses for BA in Human Development and Family Studies Students

Although course titles vary from one university to another, the following Maryville University courses reflect the core of any human development and family studies curriculum:

  • Human Development Through the Lifespan. This course focuses on human development through an approach that considers the lifespan holistically. It features an in-depth exploration of the various aspects of healthy individuals.
  • Culture, Diversity, and the 21st Century. An overview of family studies across sociocultural contexts such as gender, race, and religion. This course also explores issues relating to marriage, parenting, divorce, remarriage, aging families, and other family development challenges.
  • Human Sexuality. This course features a broad look at the social, cultural, biological, and psychological aspects of human sexual behavior, with a focus on scientific research across the sexual spectrum.
  • Sociology of the Family. A sociological study of how families function and their importance in society, with an emphasis on cultural differences, parenting roles, and relationship differences. Typically, this course will examine familial hierarchies and the relationships between different family members across cultures.
  • Critical Thinking in the Social Sciences. In this course, you can explore how critical thinking and ethics are essential to the social sciences — while creating a foundation in both theory and science.

Program Options for BA Human Development and Family Studies Students

Maryville University’s Bachelor of Arts in Human Development and Family Studies offers students four tracks to choose from — Early Childhood Development, Youth Development, Family Life Education, and Adult Development and Aging. This allows students to tailor their degree to their interests. They can also select the Child Life Specialist concentration, which teaches them to address children’s unique challenges and needs. Here’s a look at each track:

  • Child Life Specialist. This concentration is intended for students who wish to work as a Certified Child Life Specialist (CCLS) in a hospital setting. It focuses on preparing students for certification through expertise in topics like counseling skills, anatomy and physiology, toddler development, child psychology, and developmental play and learning.
  • Early Child Development. This track is for students interested in working in childcare management by focusing on issues and topics relating to early childhood development. Students who have earned Child Development Associate (CDA) certification can complete this track in an expedited manner.
  • Youth Development. This track is designed for students who want to make a difference in the lives of children and adolescents. The concentration can prepare students to pursue careers in childhood developmental programs and institutions like after-school programs, youth sports, community youth organizations, nonprofit organizations, community centers, and the juvenile justice system.
  • Family Life Education. This track is designed for students interested in working with family dynamics and development. With this concentration, you can prepare to work with families to create or reinforce a healthy family life that includes effective communication, coping skills, parenting skills, and healthy relationships. Family Life Education students also have the opportunity to prepare to become National Council on Family Relations-certified family life educators (CFLEs).
  • Adult Development and Aging. Students who choose this track will have the opportunity to learn how to assist an aging and elderly population. As the baby boomer generation ages into midlife and old age, demand may increase for qualified professionals to help address their unique needs and wants through practical aid, advocacy, care programs, and policy.

Your Path Toward a Career in Human Development and Family Studies Begins at Maryville

Earning a bachelor’s degree in human development and family studies not only prepares you to work with children, youth, families, and adults in various settings, but also positions you to pursue an advanced degree, which can help you seek further career opportunities. Contact Maryville University today to get more information about our online Bachelor of Arts in Human Development and Family Studies program. Bring us your ambition and we’ll guide you toward an educational experience designed to change your life.