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Child and Family Development, BS

Bachelor of Science in Child and Family Development

Change lives for the better — including your own — with a Bachelor of Science in Child and Family Development from the University of Central Missouri. You’ll learn how to effectively connect with, support and guide people at any age to improve their health and happiness. UCM’s degree in Family and Childhood Development teaches you practical skills alongside high-quality academics so that you can launch right away into a fulfilling career.

Your UCM degree will enable you to choose from an incredible array of Child and Family Development degree jobs. You’ll be prepared to work in childcare, parent education, substance abuse prevention, grant writing, community service and much more.

Earn your Bachelor of Science and certification in Child and Family Development in just four years

UCM’s BS in Child and Family Development is one of only four Certified Family Life Educator (CFLE) programs in the state of Missouri. We embed CFLE requirements in the curriculum for our family and childhood development students. This means that with no extra time and at no extra cost, you can apply for provisional CFLE certification through the National Council on Family Relations as soon as you graduate.

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Dr. Jaimee L. Hartenstein
Associate Professor
Health Center 101
Warrensburg, MO
Tel: 660-543-8358

Harmon College of Business and Professional Studies

School of Human Services

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#5 Best Child Development Degree

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Additional certificate at no extra cost

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Fully accredited degree program

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Three integrated internships

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Ideal for transfer students

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94% job placement rate

What you will study

The Family and Childhood Development program at UCM covers the full cycle of life, from birth and development to death and grief. With many elective credits included as part of the degree program, Child and Family Development majors can sculpt coursework to reflect their interests. This flexibility also makes the program ideal for transfer students. 

Program faculty have extensive professional experience in their fields and many serve with state or national organizations. The UCM Child Development program gives you the opportunity to take part in faculty research. This is an excellent way to gain insight into the most current thinking in the field. Faculty research experience means undergraduate research opportunities, giving you a competitive edge with future employers and graduate schools.

Some of UCM’s courses on development in childhood and over the lifespan include: 

  • Child and Adolescent Development: Engage with the physical, cognitive and psychosocial factors that shape childhood development. Experiment with making toys to discover what draws children to them. 
  • Family Systems and Lifespan Development: How do family relationships change over the course of the family life cycle? Learn how to make a genogram, a tool for visualizing patterns — such as medical or behavioral — that run through generations.
  • Multicultural Study and Approaches With Families: Learn how to center individuals and families within their unique cultural heritage context and the best methods for serving the needs of diverse communities with sensitivity.


National Rankings

  • Fully accredited by the National Council on Family Relations (NCFR). NCFR also issues the Certified Family Life Educator credential that Child and Family Development majors receive after completing their Bachelor of Science coursework.
  • #5: Best Child Development Degree Program (Intelligent, 2022)
  • A Most Focused College for Human Development & Family Studies in the Plains States Region (College Factual, 2022)
  • Top 15%: Most Popular Colleges for Child Development (College Factual, 2022)
  • Top 15%: Most Popular Colleges for Human Development & Family Studies (College Factual, 2022)


Unique learning opportunities in childhood development

The foundation of the University of Central Missouri’s Child and Family Development program is experiential learning. Real experience in the field builds confidence and prepares you for Child and Family Development degree jobs.

  • Internships: Expand your working knowledge of specialty areas within family and childhood development by taking part in three internships. Two “mini” internships take place during the academic year, while the third takes place over the summer. Students have experienced development in childhood firsthand while interning with a Tanzanian orphanage, a South African hospital, summer camps in New York and Florida, domestic violence shelters and many more. The connections UCM students make during these internships often lead to desirable child and family development degree jobs.
  • Student leadership: Get involved with our vibrant student groups to grow your network, develop professionally and gain resume-worthy experiences. Central’s Society for Child and Family Development, Central Missouri Children in Healthcare and Medical Play, Recovery Central and Pre-Marriage and Family Therapy are all active groups on campus.


What can you do with a bachelor’s degree in Child and Family Development from UCM?

Your Bachelor of Science degree in Child and Family Development from the University of Central Missouri will bring you to the attention of employers in many fields who will be eager to hire you. 94% of our program’s graduates are employed or accepted into graduate school within six months of graduation.

Child and family development degree jobs vary widely. Whichever aspect of this field most interests you is likely to offer exciting roles that will put your UCM undergraduate education to good use. 

At UCM, we help you sort through your many options for development in careers in human services. You’ll be exposed to a wide variety of fields through diverse course content and interactions with practicing professionals. We also support you with dedicated advisors as part of our commitment to making sure you’re ready to step into your new career in lifespan or childhood development and human services.

Learn more about child and family development degree jobs

A bachelor’s degree in Child and Family Development from UCM is extremely versatile. Use our interactive tool below to explore income and employment trends for this inclusive and in-demand discipline.




Financial assistance options for your Child and Family Development degree

The University of Central Missouri has low tuition fees and a recognized commitment to low student debt. We offer many options to help finance your college education

If you’re studying development in childhood at UCM, your four-year degree program comes with the additional benefit — and value — of a professional certification at no extra cost. UCM is one of only four Missouri schools where you can earn a nationally recognized Certified Family Life Educator credential simply by completing your standard bachelor’s degree program coursework.

As a Child and Family Development major, you may be eligible for dedicated funds in addition to university-wide financial aid. Use the UCM Scholarship Finder to learn more about our program-specific scholarships.


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Take your degree further.

Many of our program graduates pursue master’s degrees. Some apply directly after completing their bachelor’s degree; others choose to enter the job market first and return to UCM for degrees such as: 

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Explore programs related to family and childhood development.

Development in childhood is relevant to many fields and career opportunities. Consider one of these related programs at UCM: 

Benefits of Child and Family Development

  • Small class sizes provide you with many opportunities to interact 1:1 with faculty.
  • Thriving and active student organizations.
  • Faculty, most with specialist and/or doctoral degrees, are involved in diverse research and writing projects.
  • A growing MS program.
  • Three internship opportunities help guide your career trajectory and act as a resume builder; hands-on experience often leads to job placement; it’s the beginning of a professional network with mentors.
  • Degree programs prepare students for wide range of opportunities, including graduate school and many different types of jobs in a variety of settings.
  • CFLE Certification opportunity through the National Council on Family Relations.

Career Opportunities

  • Preschool Educator
  • Child Care Center Director
  • Before and After School Program Coordinator
  • Recreation Coordinator for Children
  • Family Life Educator
  • Foster Care Counselor
  • Family Planning Educator
  • Adoption Counselor
  • Parenting Educator
  • Family/Youth Activities Coordinator
  • Hospice Family Coordinator
  • Divorce Mediator and Consultant
  • Consultant of Educational Materials and Toys
  • State Licensing Representative
  • Parent as Teacher Educator
  • Child Abuse Counselor
  • Child Advocacy Agencies
  • Family Mediator
  • Community Development Programmer
  • Youth Program Director
  • Childbirth Instructor
  • Family Shelter Director
  • Family Support and Children’s Divisions Worker
  • Assisted Living/ Adult Care
  • Premarital and Marital Educator
  • Grief/Death/End of Life Counselor 


UCM's Child and Family Development program is a National Council on Family Relations Certified Family Life Educator approved program


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