Overview of Undergraduate Degree Programs

Human Development and Family Studies undergraduates

have had placement rates between 85-95% post graduation

in the past three years! 


Human Development and Family Studies offers degree programs in Child Development (BA) and Human Development and Family Studies (BS or BA). Students choose the option of a Bachelor of Science or a Bachelor of Arts in consultation with their Academic Advisor.  We also offer the Online BA in Early Care and Education for transfer students only through the Great Plains IDEA alliance.  

Child Development

This degree program has been approved by the State of Michigan, Department of Education for students.  The Child Development Degree program (BA) allows students to choose a concentration in:

  • Elementary Education Teacher Certification (Application required to the MSU College of Education Teacher Preparation Program) or

  • Preschool Teaching in an Early Childhood Setting

Graduates are recognized as having expertise working with young children. These revised standards reflect the knowledge and skills to teach children from birth to age 8 in general education settings, as well as significant knowledge and skills for teaching infants and children with special needs.

Taiwanese students and chaperone visiting the CDL in 2013 participating in an MSU tradition--tailgating!

All students will gain practical experience working with children by first observing, then planning activities and finally culminating with  a semester of student teaching in the MSU Child Development Laboratories (CDL's)  which are accredited by the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC). The Child Development Laboratories are a multi-cultural experience for students and children and families represent over 20 countries. Learn more about the CDL's; their programming and opportunities, by clicking on the link above.

The Child Development Preschool Teaching degree program prepares graduates to:
  • teach in the pre-Kindergarten years
  • direct and/or own a child care center
  • direct or teach in Head Start centers
  • work in hospital settings as a Child Life Specialist
  • work as a consultant for toy companies or non-profit agencies
  • understand the cognitive, physical, social and emotional development of children for careers in medicine or graduate school
  • affect policies regarding children and education

The Child Development Elementary Education degree program combines the College of Education Teacher Preparation program, which has been the nation's top teacher preparation program for the last 19 years, and the approved Early Childhood General and Special Education Endorsement to prepare graduates to:

  • teach in Kindergarten through eighth grades in public and private schools
  • Earn an Elementary Education Teacher Certification, a teachable major AND an Early Childhood Education Endorsement (ZS)

Returning Elementary Education or Special Education Teachers

Certified Elementary or Special Education Teachers may also take courses to earn their Early Childhood General and Special Education Endorsement or ZS in this program.  Please go to the Early Childhood General and Special Education Endorsement section of this website for a list of courses and scheduling options.

Human Development and Family Studies Degree Program

NCFR LogoThe Human Development and Family Studies BA and BS degrees are approved by the National Council on Family Relations (NCFR), and allows students to become Certified Family Life Educators (CFLE).  The degrees prepare graduates to work in human service agencies serving children, youth and adults responding to the needs of an increasingly diverse society. The HDFS field is any organized effort to provide family members with information, skills, experiences, or resources intended to strengthen, improve or enrich their family experience. HDFS uses collaboration, prevention, resources and provides educational opportunities to assist individuals and families throughout their lives. The degree program encourages service in the areas of social need with a positive, holistic and family focus.

Students in the Human Development and Family Studies degree program will take classes to understand:
  • families and their relationships to society
  • strengths and weaknesses in all families
  • physiological, psychological, and social aspects of sexual development
  • relationships and how to maintain them
  • decisions individuals make about money, time, space, etc.
  • how parents teach, guide and influence children
  • ethical issues and the philosophy of family studies
  • how to plan, implement and evaluate programs
The HDFS Degree Program prepares graduates to serve as:
  • counselors for at-risk youth
  • governmental policy makers for children, teens and adults
  • providers of support services for youth with mental or physical disabilities
  • provide services for children, youth and families of military personnel
  • Provide care, create and administer programs for older people
  • directors of recreational programs, youth group leader
  • 4-H and Extension specialists, parent trainers
  • adoption and foster care specialists
  • Military family liaisons
  • human services agency directors
  • child life specialists working with children, youth and families in children’s hospitals or pediatric wards

Early Care and Education

Please go to the Great Plains IDEA section for information on the Early Care and Education online BA degree program.  This degree is only available to non-traditional undergraduates.


HDFS believes that all families and individuals can benefit from enrichment programs and education, not just families in crisis.  Common themes across both majors include: respect diversity, families and changes throughout the lifespan.  If HDFS fits your career goals, come in and speak with an advisor.  Please visit the 'advising' section of this website to schedule an appointment, or see our walk-in hours.

"The ruin of a nation begins in the homes of its people."
Ashanti proverb from Ghana