West Virginia University

Department of Child Development & Family Studies
Last Updated

Child Development and Families Studies (CDFS) is a program in the Department of Learning Sciences and Human Development in the College of Education and Human Services at West Virginia University. Both B.S. and M.A. degrees are offered. Students in the B.S. program can select from two options: (a) Birth through Pre-K Early Childhood Education or (b) Family and Youth Studies. Birth through Pre-K Early Childhood Education is best suited for students who are interested in working with young children, from birth to four years, and their parents in pre-school or child care programs. Family and Youth Studies is best suited for students who are interested in working with older children, adolescents, and/or families in youth development or family development programs in community agencies. A M.A. can pursued in Educational Psychology with an emphasis in CDFS. Students complete 33 hours of coursework which includes a six-credit hour research-based thesis. Doctoral studies in Human Development and Family Studies (HDFS) is available as an emphasis within the Interdisciplinary Ph.D. in Education in the College of Human Resources and Education. See details below.

Program Overview
Program Administrator
Dr. Carol Markstrom
Department Emphasis
  • 65% Child/Human Development
  • Family Studies
Campus Enrollment
Program Options
  • Undergraduate
  • Master’s
  • Doctoral
Areas of Study
  • Child or Adolescent Science/Studies - Undergraduate
  • Development (Child, Human, or Family) - Doctoral
  • Development (Child, Human, or Family) - Master's
  • Early Childhood - Undergraduate
  • Family Science/Studies - Doctoral
  • Family Science/Studies - Master's
  • Family Science/Studies - Undergraduate
Department Address

506D Allen Hall
PO Box 6122
Morgantown, WV 26506-6122
United States

Phone Number
Undergraduate Program
Undergrad Program Options
  • Birth through Pre-Kindergarten
  • Family & Youth Studies
Undergrad Courses Offered
  • Families Across the Lifespan
  • Introduction to Marriage and Family
  • Introduction to Parenting
  • Infant Development
  • Early Childhood Development
  • Research Methods
  • Best Practice Pre-K Movement
  • Infant Toddler Language/Literature
  • Early Socio-Emotional Growth
  • Adolescent Development
  • Contemporary Issues in Family Relations
  • Family Interaction/Communication
  • Child Development Practicum
  • Professional Field Experience
  • Adolescent Problems/Disorders
Undergrad Comments

The undergraduate program offers two certificates: Infant and Toddler Education and Early Childhood Development. The Infant and Toddler Education certificate consists of 19 hours of course work. Specific courses in literacy, socio-emotional, and physical domains are offered. Students are trained to assess and provide developmentally appropriate activities for infants and toddlers.

The Early Childhood Development certificate consists of 15 hours of course work, and includes classes on early childhood development and curriculum development for this age group. This is a specialized curriculum designed for those who work in Pre-K classrooms in the public school, Head Start and Child Care Centers who must obtain a specific body of knowledge and need specific written recognition for their ability to work with preschool children.
A Director's Credential is also offered in the summer. This 10 credit program prepares students to develop, administer and operate a child care center. Course work covers the business, budgeting, grant writing, fund raising, licensing and other administrative tasks needed to operate a child care center.

Graduate Program
Graduate Director
Dr. Carol Markstrom
Graduate Courses Offered
  • Survey of Family Studies
  • Socio-Emotional Development of Children and Adolescents
  • Comparative Study of the Family
  • Theories of Child and Development
  • Socialization Processes and Social Contexts
  • Statistics
  • Research Methods
  • Teaching Practicum
  • ThesisAdvanced courses in quantitative and qualitative methods and statistics.
  • Families & Human Development in Educational Contexts
  • Families/Human Development in Rural & Appalachian Contexts
  • Issues of Families
  • Human Development within Families
  • Additional courses available in Educational Psychology and related fields.
Master's Level
Masters Program Options
  • Child Development & Family Studies
Masters Comments

Child Development and Family Studies requires that students complete 33 hours with 5 required CDFS courses, two electives, statistics, and research methods. Six credit hours of research leads to completion of a research thesis with an oral defense. Graduate teaching and graduate research assistantships are available.

Doctoral Level
Doctoral Program Options
  • Education with Human Development and Family Studies Emphasis
Doctoral Comments

The Ph.D. program is intended to enhance the ability of the College of Human Resources and Education to meet the needs of those candidates who seek an explicitly scholarly career path. Ed.D. candidates may engage in scholarly writing and dissemination in addition to the dissertation, but this is typically not a programmatic requirement as the orientation of their degree is often serving the educational community from within as practitioners. Currently the College of Human Resources and Education at West Virginia University offers the following areas for candidates who are seeking a doctorate in the field of education: Curriculum & Instruction, Educational Leadership Studies, and Special Education. The interdisciplinary nature of the degree provides students with knowledge in four areas with one of those areas selected as the student's major focus of study:

Human Development and Family Studies;Educational Leadership & Policy Studies;Learning, Instructional Design, & Technology;Curriculum, Literacy, & Cultural Studies

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.