East Carolina University

Department of Human Development & Family Science
CFLE Approved
Last Updated

The mission of the Department of Human Development and Family Science is to educate future leaders and professionals to enrich the wellbeing of individuals, children, families, and communities through innovative teaching, research, service and community engagement. We offer students model teacher training in early childhood education and family and consumer sciences education with practicums and internships in our 5-Star, nationally accredited Child Development Center and local schools. We offer the only academic child life program in North Carolina, and we developed the first medical family therapy doctoral program in the nation. We maintain a family therapy clinic as part of the family therapy training program-the only such combination in the state. Our family and community services- family science concentration is an approved program for the Certified Family Life Educator credential through the National Council on Family Relations. All four undergraduate programs within the department are accredited by the American Associatin of Family and Consumer Sciences.

Program Overview
Program Administrator
Dr. Sharon M. Ballard
Department Emphasis
  • 40% Child Development & Early Childhood Education
  • 40% Family Science
  • 20% Marriage & Family Therapy
Campus Enrollment
Program Options
  • Undergraduate
  • Master’s
  • Doctoral
Areas of Study
  • Child or Adolescent Science/Studies - Undergraduate
  • Development (Child, Human, or Family) - Master's
  • Development (Child, Human, or Family) - Undergraduate
  • Family Science/Studies - Master's
  • Family Science/Studies - Undergraduate
  • Therapy (Couples, Marriage, or Family) - Doctoral
  • Therapy (Couples, Marriage, or Family) - Master's
Department Address

108 Rivers Building
Greenville, NC 27858-4353
United States

Phone Number
Undergraduate Program
Undergrad Program Options
  • Birth through Kindergarten
  • Child Life
  • Family & Community Services
  • Family & Consumer Science
Undergrad Courses Offered
  • Marriage and Family Relations
  • Child Development I & II
  • Introduction to Child Life
  • Early Experience in Birth through Kindergarten Education
  • Interaction Techniques for Working with Young Children
  • Introduction to Child, Family, and Community Services
  • Theory and Practice in Family and Community Services
  • Introduction to Gerontology
  • Child in the Family
  • Death, Dying, and Bereavement
  • Introduction to Early Intervention
  • Educational Assessment and Intervention with Young Children
  • The Hospitalized Child
  • Exploring Professions and Practices in Family Science
  • Introduction to Child and Family Research
  • Community Services Internship
  • Child Life Practicum
  • Families and Cultural Diversity
  • Guiding the Behavior of Children
  • Trends and Issues in Family Studies
  • Infant and Toddler Curriculum
  • Social Studies, Math, and Science Curriculum in Early Childhood
  • Language and Literacy Curriculum in Early Childhood
  • Learning Environments and Teaching Methods in Early Childhood
  • Internship in Birth through Kindergarten Education
  • Internship Seminar
  • Issues in Birth-Kindergarten Education
  • Family Life Education
  • Grant Writing, Fundraising, and Leadership Development
  • Families as Consumer
  • Family Resource Management
  • Parent-Professional Collaboration
  • Professional Seminar
  • Child Life Internship
  • Child Family Internship and Laboratory
  • Public Policy and Legal Issues Affecting Families
  • Families, Sexuality, and Gender Roles
  • Parent Education
  • Administration of Programs for Young Children
  • Counseling Elders and their Families
  • Models and Foundations of Early Education
  • Study Abroad in CDFR
  • Early Experience in Family and Consumer Science
  • Curriculum Development in Family and Consumer Science
  • Methods of Teaching Family and Consumer Sciences
  • Internship in Family and Consumer Sciences (and Professional Seminar)
  • Internship Seminar: Issues in Family and Consumer Sciences
Undergrad Accreditations/Approval
Undergrad Comments

The department, while known for its high quality of teaching, is committed to experiential as well as theoretical knowledge related to individuals, children, and families. Therefore, each program option requires a one-semester internship in a community agency. Birth Through Kindergarten and Family and Consumer Sciences majors are placed in local school systems. Child Life majors are selected for internships in hospitals throughout the country. Family and Community Services majors select internships in regional human service agencies in which many of the department's graduates hold leadership positions. The Family and Community Services Family Studies option is a CFLE-approved program. All four undergraduate programs within the department are accredited by the American Association of Family and Consumer Sciences

Graduate Program
Graduate Director
Dr. Alan Taylor
Graduate Courses Offered
  • Counseling Elders and their Families
  • Special Topics in Human Development and Family Science
  • Advanced Public Policy and Legal Issues Affecting Families
  • Parent Education
  • Counseling Elders and their Families
  • Research in Child Development and Family Relations
  • Family Theories and Issues
  • Theories of Child Development
  • Family Risk and Resiliency
  • Practicum in Human Develpment and Family Science
  • Program Planning and Evaluation for Child and Family Services
  • Assessment and Treatment Planning in Familu Therapy
  • Human Development Part I and Part II
  • Developmental Evaluation and Family Therapy
  • Child Behavior and Development
  • Family Systems Theories
  • Family Therapy Theories
  • Family Therapy Seminar I, II, III, & IV
  • Family Therapy Issues
  • Exceptional Families
  • Family Therapy Practicum
  • Seminar in Child Development
  • Seminar in Family Relations
  • Trends and Issues in Birth through Kindergarten Teacher Education
  • Family Therapy Supervision Methods and Practice
  • Advanced Methods and Materials in Birth through Kindergarten Teacher Education
  • Child Life Internships
  • Action Research I & II in Educational Settings
  • Leadership in Birth through Kindergarten Education
  • Thesis
  • Statistics in Child/Family Studies
  • Contemporary Issues in Early Intervantion and Childnren's Health
  • Special Topics in Family and Consumer Science Education
  • Special Problems in Family and Consumer Sciences
  • Advanced Methods and Curriculum
  • Internship: Family and Consumer Sciences Education
  • Research Methods in Child/Family Studies
  • Introduction to Medical Family Therapy
  • Illness and Disability Across the Lifespan
  • Family Therapy Supervision Methods and Practice
  • Special Topics in Medical Family Therapy
  • Advanced Family Therapy Theories
  • Gender and Ethnicity in Medical Family Therapy
  • Medical Family Therapy Practicum
  • Family Therapy Internship
  • Dissertation
Master's Level
Masters Program Options
  • Birth through Kindergarten
  • Human Development & Family Science
  • Marriage & Family Therapy
Masters Comments

Students in the HDFS MS program prepare for professional roles in the administration of programs serving children, families, and older adults; in teaching young children; in family life education programming; and in specialized clinical roles in child-life, early intervention, developmental evaluation and other mental health and human service programs. The program also prepares students for advanced studies in doctoral programs. The M.S. in MFT prepares therapists in systems theory and its application to clinical practice. Faculty, students, and local mental health professionals work cooperatively on treatment teams in the department's family therapy clinic. Students also complete internships with patients and families in the university hospital and local mental health agencies. The department offers one distance education MAED programs (birth through kindergarten).

Doctoral Level
Doctoral Program Options
  • Medical Family Therapy
Doctoral Comments

The first ever doctoral program in Medical Family Therapy (MedFT) was established at East Carolina University (ECU) in fall 2005 and graduated the first group of MedFT doctoral students in the nation in May of 2008. The mission of the doctoral program in Medical Family Therapy (MedFT) is to advance students learning in the areas of research, theory, clinical practice, leadership, supervision, and teaching in order to prepare and qualify them to pursue employment as researchers, educators, administrators, and/or clinicians in the field of medical family therapy. Our doctoral students conduct research, teach, and supervise from a relational and systemic perspective through the incorporation of a biopsychosocial-spiritual approach. The aim is to widen the knowledge base in healthcare to include biomedical, psychosocial, and family data in the collaborative education, treatment, research, and theoretical understanding of medical and mental health issues. In January 2009, the Doctor of Philosophy in Medical Family Therapy was accredited by COAMFTE (Commission on Accreditation for Marriage and Family Therapy Education), which made it the first accredited MedFT program in the United States. The program was reaccredited in 2013.

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
CFLE Contact
Sharon Ballard, PhD, CFLE
CFLE Contact Email