University of Tennessee

Department of Child & Family Studies
CFLE Approved
Last Updated

The Department of Child and Family Studies prepares students at the undergraduate and graduate levels to become competent professionals and effective family members. Our primary areas of emphasis focus on children, youth, families, and early learning in diverse contexts. A central foundation for our programs is the idea that scientific inquiry provides the most effective means to improve the welfare of children, youth, and families.A notable feature of both our undergraduate and graduate programs is the opportunity for outreach and engagement experiences in area communities. Students complete intensive semester-long experiences in a wide range of community placements including mental health, medical facilities, public and private schools, and intervention programs. Students also have the opportunity to join a research team of faculty and students. 

Program Overview
Program Administrator
Dr. Mary Jane Moran
Department Emphasis
  • 50% Early Childhood Education
  • 25% Family Studies
  • 25% Human Development
Campus Enrollment
26,000
Program Options
  • Undergraduate
  • Master’s
  • Doctoral
Areas of Study
  • Child or Adolescent Science/Studies - Doctoral
  • Child or Adolescent Science/Studies - Master's
  • Child or Adolescent Science/Studies - Undergraduate
  • Early Childhood - Undergraduate
  • Family Science/Studies - Doctoral
  • Family Science/Studies - Master's
  • Family Science/Studies - Undergraduate
Department Address

1215 West Cumberland Avenue
115 Jessie Harris Building
Knoxville, TN 37996-1912
United States

Phone Number
865-974-5316
Undergraduate Program
Undergrad Program Options
  • Child and Family Studies
  • Health and Human Sciences
  • Child and Family Studies (Minor)
  • Pre-K to K
  • Pre-K to Grade 3
Undergrad Courses Offered
  • Introduction to ECE
  • Human Development
  • Development in Infancy and Childhood
  • Development in Adolescence and Adulthood
  • Marriage and Family: Roles and Relationships
  • Human Sexuality
  • Family Interaction
  • Family Resource Management
  • Early Childhood Education I: Environments for Children
  • Early Childhood Education II: Curricula and Program Development for Young Children
  • Reading, Language, and Literacy
  • Family Stress
  • Diversity Among Children and Families
  • Introduction to Research Methods and Statistics
  • Development of Professional Skills
  • Early Childhood Teaching Methods
  • PreK-K Teaching Methods
  • Family Life and Parent Education
  • Directed Study in Child and Family Studies
  • Practicum: Pre-K Teaching
  • Practicum: Child Development
  • Practicum: Student Teaching PreK-K
  • Practicum: Community Outreach
  • Research in Child and Family Studies
  • Special Topics in Child and Family Studies
  • Practicum: Research
  • Honors: Child and Family Studies
Undergrad Accreditations/Approval
CFLE
Undergrad Comments

The primary mission of the Child and Family Studies department is to graduate students who have acquired the competence to work with children and families. The major prepares students to be effective family members as well as competent professionals with the knowledge and skills to help children, youth, and families face the difficult challenges of today's complex society. Students in the department complete an integrated curriculum that includes human and child development, family processes and interactions, research skills, and interpersonal and professional skills needed in the workplace. The major course of study concludes with a field-based experience that enables students to hone practical skills and knowledge in a work setting consistent with their personal and professional goals. Graduates of the department are prepared to work with individuals and groups from diverse backgrounds and in a variety of settings – in schools as early childhood educators as well as non-profit agencies and for-profit businesses providing services to children and families.

Graduate Program
Graduate Director
Dr. Hillary Fouts
Graduate Courses Offered
  • Thesis
  • Registration for Use of Facilities
  • Theory in Human Development
  • Explorations in Child Development
  • Survey of Research in Early Childhood Education
  • Children in Contemporary Society
  • Families of Children with Disabilities
  • Couple Relationships
  • Parent-Child Relations
  • Theory in Family Studies
  • Assessment in Early Childhood Education
  • Diversity in Children and Families
  • Cross-Cultural Research in Early Care and Education
  • Culture and Early Development
  • Families and Children Coping with Stress
  • Practicum in Human Development or Family Studies I
  • Practicum in Human Development or Family Studies II
  • Theories of Family Therapy
  • Action Research in Early Childhood Education
  • Research Methods in Child and Family Studies
  • Professional Seminar 1: Introduction to CFS
  • Analysis of Teaching for Professional Development
  • Professional Internship in Teaching
  • Special Topics in Child and Family Studies
  • Directed Study in Child and Family Studies
  • Clinical Studies
  • Doctoral Research and Dissertation
  • Advanced Special Topics in Child and Family Studies
  • Advanced Directed Study in Child and Family Studies
  • Adolescent Development in Families
  • International Perspectives on Children, Youth, and Family
  • Seminar in Child Development, Family Studies, and Early Learning
  • Advanced Qualitative Research in Human Sciences
  • Gender and Families
  • Advanced Observation Research Design and Methods
  • Professional Seminar 2: Professional Socialization
Master's Level
Masters Program Options
  • Research and Application
  • Early Childhood Education concentration (PreK-3)
Masters Comments

The Master of Science (MS) degree in Child and Family Studies offers a concentration that focuses on research and application as well as a concentration for teacher licensure (PreK–3). In general, the MS provides a broad foundation for understanding how children develop and how families function in contemporary society. All master's degree candidates enroll in CFS foundation courses, which include theoretical and empirical surveys of the human development, child development, and family science literatures as well as a survey of methods of discovery used in child and family research. Master's students are expected to engage in productive research culminating in a thesis or project. As part of the application process, students elect to concentrate in either child and family studies or early childhood education. The latter concentration is ordinarily restricted to students currently enrolled in the undergraduate fifth-year licensure program.

MS en route to PhD

Typically, applicants to the doctoral program have earned a master's degree or are currently working on a master's degree when they apply to the doctoral program. However, applicants with only an undergraduate degree may also be considered for direct admittance to the PhD program if they have (a) undergraduate research experience relevant to child and family studies, (b) focused research interests, and (c) a strong academic record. Students admitted without a master's degree will complete requirements for the thesis-based master's degree as part of their program of study. If in good standing after completing the master's program requirements and under the recommendation of their graduate committee, these students will proceed directly into the PhD program. Applicants without a master's degree should select the "MS–PhD" option on their application to the department. Applicants with a master's degree should select the "PhD" option on their application to the department.

Doctoral Level
Doctoral Program Options
  • Child and Family Studies
Doctoral Comments

Students in the doctoral program pursue in-depth studies of theory and existing empirical knowledge about child development and family relationships. A definitive characteristic of this program is a focus on scientific inquiry, which involves learning advanced methodologies and strategies to examine basic developmental phenomena and family relationships.

The CFS doctoral program also seeks to train professionals who can design and empirically evaluate sophisticated intervention and prevention programs for children, youth, and families. The doctoral program in CFS consists of 72 hours of graduate credits—24 of which are devoted to the dissertation.

CFLE Information

NCFR recognizes schools offering undergraduate and graduate degree programs with course work that follows the Standards and Criteria required for approval as a Provisional Certified Family Life Educator (CFLE). NCFR approval allows the school to offer their graduates the opportunity to apply for Provisional Certification using the Abbreviated Application process. The CFLE Checklist represents the courses that meet the CFLE criteria at that school. Students must complete all the courses on a checklist in order to qualify to apply for the CFLE designation through the Abbreviated Application process.

CFLE Information

NCFR recognizes schools offering undergraduate and graduate degree programs with course work that follows the Standards and Criteria required for approval as a Provisional Certified Family Life Educator (CFLE). NCFR approval allows the school to offer their graduates the opportunity to apply for Provisional Certification using the Abbreviated Application process. The CFLE Checklist represents the courses that meet the CFLE criteria at that school. Students must complete all the courses on a checklist in order to qualify to apply for the CFLE designation through the Abbreviated Application process.

Program Approved Since
10/1/1997
CFLE Contact
Heidi Stolz, Ph.D.
CFLE Contact Email