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Child Development

West Virginia University announces a new online minor in Child Development and Family Studies. This minor is offered through The Child Development and Family Studies (CDFS) program, one of four programs offered through the Technology, Learning and Culture Department in the College of Applied Human Sciences.

The purpose of this minor is to better prepare individuals to work with children in a variety of settings. Students will concentrate on courses that address topics such as the physical, cognitive, social, and emotional development of children as facilitated by families, educators, child care professionals, and others. These classes are taught by instructors in the Child Development and Family Studies Program in the Department of Technology, Learning and Culture. Upon completion of six courses, the student will be better prepared for career opportunities in a variety of settings including nursery schools, preschools, Early Start, Head Start, child care centers, juvenile care centers, and human service agencies.

This minor will be available through Extended Learning for three categories of students:

  1. Traditional students enrolled at WVU in majors other than Child Development and Family Studies who might want to minor in this area of study. A CDFS minor may add a valuable dimension to their program of study, such as students from Psychology, Education, Parks and Recreation, and Social Work.
  2. Students enrolled in the Multidisciplinary Studies (MDS) program.
    The Multidisciplinary Studies Bachelor of Arts program is comprised of three related minors. This program does not limit students to courses of study in a particular college or school, but emphasizes multidisciplinary/cross-disciplinary studies. The program’s flexibility, appropriate breadth and depth in the chosen areas of study, and focus on developing an understanding of the nature of cross-disciplinary investigation constitute its most salient features. Each student chooses three minor areas and must demonstrate how these areas work together toward his/her educational and/or career goals. Some students may find the Child Development and Family Studies Minor to be a good fit in the overall development of their unique program of studies. For example, a student may choose areas of physical education, recreation and parks, and child development and family studies with the goal of a career in children’s sports.
  3. Non-traditional adult learners enrolled in the Regents Bachelor of Arts (RBA) program may find the Child Development and Family Studies Minor to be a valuable asset in their program of study. This program assesses the life and/or work experiences of the adult student for potential college-equivalent credit. Although the students in this program do not have a specific disciplinary major, they do earn a total of 128 credits and those credits may include areas of emphasis. The Child Development and Family Studies Minor will qualify as an area of emphasis in this program of study.

Minimum Performance Standards

To qualify for an Extended Learning minor in Child Development and Family Studies, a student must have earned a minimum grade of “C” or better in each of the above required and chosen courses and a cumulative GPA of at least 2.5 in all the coursework in the minor.

Required Courses

CDFS 110 Families Across the Life-Span
Explores the physical, psychological, and cognitive developmental changes of individuals who are functioning in family systems that change across the life span.

Students must select six credit hours from the following:

CDFS 210 Introduction to Parenting
Introduction to terminology, descriptions, and explanations of the parental role and parent-child interactions. Emphasis on social and personal definitions of the parental role and on the problems and changes in parent-child relationships.

Prerequisites: CDFS 110

CDFS 211 Infant Development
Developmental characteristics and environmental effects on the child during the prenatal period and the first two years with implications for guidance and care, includes practical experience working with children.

CDFS 212 Early Childhood Development
Physical, social, emotional, and cognitive development of children from three-to-seven years of age with implications for guidance and care in practical settings.

Prerequisites: CDFS 110

Students must select nine credit hours from the following:

CDFS 412 Adolescent Development
The adolescent in contemporary American culture, including normative physical, social, and personality development; relationships within various typical social settings (e.g., family, school, community, peer group).

Prerequisites: CDFS 110, 211, AND 212 | Junior or Senior standing

CDFS 413 Contemporary Issues in Family Relations
Study of the recent research findings in the major areas of family relationships. Topics include effects of family violence, substance abuse, poverty, and health.

Prerequisites: CDFS 110, 211, AND 212 | Junior or Senior standing

CDFS 415 Family Interaction and Communication
The family as a social group; processes related to well-being for a variety of family relationships.

Prerequisites: CDFS 110, 211, AND 212 | Junior or Senior standing

CDFS 421 Developing and Administering a Child Care Center
Focuses on skills necessary for developing and implementing sound program management of different types of early childhood education centers.

Prerequisites: CDFS 110, 211, AND 212 | Junior or Senior standing

For additional information contact Nancy Wolfe-Dilgard at To register for online courses, contact WVU Online at (800) 253-2762 or email

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