The department’s major is designed for students whose educational and career goals are focused on studying and working with children and families within educational programs, community services, and other professional settings. The major is designed to accommodate the special interests or strengths of students and allows for flexibility and individualization. Students design a program of study in consultation with their advisor that includes a core of required courses, a complement of specialty courses supportive of individual interests, and a 12-hour practicum that will complete their program of study. All students graduating with a child and family studies major will have in-depth knowledge about children and families, a broad integrative perspective, and means for application.
In consultation with their faculty advisor, students will select at least 27 credit hours from the list of courses meeting departmental requirements for specialty areas. Students must complete a total of three specialty areas of 9 credit hours each. Students wishing to emphasize one specialty area may satisfy two of their three specialty areas by taking 18 credit hours in that area. A course may be counted in one specialty area only and may not be used to fulfill any other elective requirement.
Students electing to pursue the early development and learning (PreK-K) or the early childhood education teacher licensure preparation (PreK-3) specialty areas will take a total of 34 credit hours in this specialty area plus an additional 3 credit hours from their advanced social science electives.
Students are expected to know the criteria they must meet in order to progress into a practicum (CFS 470 , CFS 472 , CFS 480 , or CFS 490 ) and to regularly monitor their progress in meeting these criteria. Students will not be allowed to progress into the practicum until these criteria are met. If students do not appear able to meet these criteria, they are encouraged to work closely with their advisor to plan an alternative educational program. Specific information on how to apply for the practicum is available from the student’s advisor. Students must work closely with their advisor to ensure that they understand the requirements for progression and that they strictly follow the application process for the practicum experience of their choice.
Prior to the Practicum
- Apply for the practicum by completing the application one year prior to the intended practicum semester.
- Complete the self-disclosure forms allowing university personnel to obtain student conduct and criminal background information one year prior to the intended practicum semester. The department’s undergraduate committee will evaluate any negative background check.
Prerequisites for the Practicum
- Completion of all prerequisites enforced by the registration system.
- A cumulative GPA of at least 2.5 (A cumulative GPA of at least 2.7, including transfer credits, is required for students electing the CFS 472 practicum option).
- A minimum grade of C in all child and family studies courses.
Certified Family Life Educator
Students interested in applying for certification as a Family Life Educator through the National Council on Family Relations must complete five courses from the Family Life Education specialty area – CFS 240 , CFS 345 , CFS 360 , CFS 440 , and COUN 480 . These courses are in addition to the Child and Family Studies core courses. Contact your advisor for specific information about becoming a Certified Family Life Educator through the department’s approved program of study.
Early Development and Learning (PreK-K)
The child and family studies major provides the undergraduate preparation needed for a student who would like to be licensed to teach early development and learning (PreK-K) in the State of Tennessee. This licensure program prepares students to teach children with and without disabilities, birth through age 6. Students who wish to pursue this licensure must complete the early development and learning (PreK-K) specialty area and complete the CFS 472 practicum. Upon completion of 60 undergraduate hours, including completion of CFS 350 , students will complete the admission process to the early development and learning (PreK-K) licensure program. Students interested in this licensure should work closely with their advisor to ensure that they understand and meet teacher education program requirements and that they strictly follow the application process.
Early Childhood Education Teacher Licensure (PreK-3)
The child and family studies major can provide the undergraduate preparation needed for a student who would like to be licensed to teach early childhood education in the State of Tennessee (PreK-3). The early childhood education licensure option is offered in conjunction with a master’s degree in child and family studies (early childhood education concentration). Students who wish to pursue this option must take the early childhood education licensure (PreK-3) specialty area and the CFS 470 practicum as an undergraduate. Upon attainment of senior status (i.e., 90 hours), students will complete the admission to teacher education process (see details in the teacher education section of this catalog) and simultaneously make application for admission to the MS with a major in child and family studies (See the Graduate Catalog for details.) Acceptance into the teacher licensure program is contingent upon acceptance into the department’s master’s program. Students interested in this option should work closely with their advisor to ensure that they understand and meet the teacher education program requirements and the requirements for graduate study and that they strictly follow the application process.
Service Learning Honors Program
Child and Family Studies majors have the opportunity to participate in the college’s Service Learning Honors Program. For eligibility and requirements, see Service Learning Honors Program .