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May 13, 2024

Next Start Date


Courses Required


Cost Per Credit Hour
Military Pricing Applies


Total Credit Hours

Online Asynchronous

Learning Format

Milestones and Beyond, the Inspiration to Spread Joy in Learning

Working with preschool children as they develop their academic, social, and cognitive skills is a rewarding career with increasing job opportunities.

Students will learn best practices for early childhood development and focus on advocacy and leadership in the field of early education. The program incorporates the West Virginia Core Knowledge and Core Competencies and the West Virginia Early Standards Framework in order to include the most recent requirements set forth by West Virginia agencies. The curriculum follows the standards set by the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC).

All the courses are offered online except for field experience which can be completed in the student's home location under the supervision of experienced educators.

Young female child drawing in a book.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the employment of preschool teachers is projected to grow 10 percent through 2026, faster than the average for all occupations. The College of Applied Human Sciences is offering an online bachelor’s degree which prepares students for a career with young children.

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Ann is here to help.

Ann Clayton, Your Personal Online Admissions Coach

"I am a graduate of Michigan State University, with a Master’s degree in Counseling Psychology. I have worked in an advising setting for over 15 years and am here to help answer any questions you may have about the enrollment process in our online programs. Our online programs are designed to allow everyone the opportunity to earn a degree, while balancing school, family and life, and I am happy to help you as you go through that journey."

Learn More About Ann Request Information


Child Development and Family Studies Admission Requirements

  • Pay undergraduate application fee
  • Request official transcripts from all institutions attended (other than WVU), or high school transcripts if fewer than 20 college credits and send to:
    WVU Office of Admissions
    PO Box 6009
    Morgantown, WV 26506-6009
  • Minimum cumulative GPA of at least 2.0 on a 4.0 scale
  • For additional requirements specific to first time freshman, online students, and internal/external transfer students, please email Ann.

Apply Now

Alexandra Ashworth profile image.

Alexandra Ashworth

Child Development and Family Studies B.S.
"Not only did the faculty promote confidence in my learning, but they pushed me to be the best version of myself that I could be."

Alexandra Ashworth chose WVU Online because it gave her the flexibility to pursue her education to the fullest, while maintaining part-time work and additional academic pursuits.

"WVU Online has provided avenues for me to fully garner knowledge, while being able to complete a second degree, hold two jobs, and complete my academic work anywhere within the United States."

When choosing to pursue Child Development & Family Studies (CDFS), she found the online class offerings within the major to be extremely beneficial.

"At the time, I knew I desired to obtain two degrees simultaneously, but was unsure how I would be able to balance out the busy nature of my schedule. Upon finding out that my program offered many of its classes in an online format, it opened up my weekly availability to further pursue both my academic and extracurricular pursuits."

In addition to this, a big reason Alexandra chose to pursue a degree in CDFS was the faculty.

"The faculty within the Child Development & Family Studies major are phenomenal, both online and in person!"

Ashton Frame profile image.

Ashton Frame

Child Development and Family Studies B.S.
"I have thoroughly enjoyed my degree and am excited to put my knowledge into action!"

Ashton Frame chose WVU online because of its flexibility and also because it would provide her with not only an excellent degree, but the ability to spend more time with her loved ones.

"I would definitely recommend WVU online to other students," she says. "You are able to complete the work at whatever time works for your schedule. There also aren’t the pressures of college life and you aren’t worrying about dorms or making it to class, or if you are non-traditional and so on."

But while there are usually no in-person classes, Ashton says that doesn’t mean the classes are any easier.

"There is actually a lot of work thrown at you all at once," she says. "It can be extremely overwhelming. However, taking an hour or so to just write down all your work for the week and planning it throughout the week according to the due dates can be a great help with staying on track."

She says this type of learning enables individuals from all over, of all ages, to receive an excellent education and her degree program has continued to inspire her more and more each semester.

"I’ve always wanted to help and teach young children and this degree and all the knowledge I’m learning has only fueled that desire."
"I am excited to put my knowledge into action!"

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Jill Lenihan

Child Development and Family Studies B.S.
"I was very engaged. I still have connections with my professors, even the one from my very first class."

Jill Lenihan teaches children who are blind or visually impaired and needed teaching credentials to take advantage of an opportunity that came up to further help these children.

"Unfortunately, I had never completed college when I was younger and could not pursue teaching credentials until I had my bachelor’s degree. These children are extremely important to me, so I began researching my options."

She was quickly bombarded by online schools and felt very overwhelmed.

"Then, I happened to (thankfully) reach out to WVU to see what online programs were offered. WVU cared about me. It didn’t take long to discover that WVU was the place for me."

Her advice to others who are thinking of taking an online class is "Do it!"

"WVU is the place to go if you dreamed of getting a degree but thought you couldn’t do it. I’m a proud Mountaineer and you can be one too! Let’s go!"

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Ashley Martucci

Child Development and Family Studies B.S.
"Once I left the public-school classroom to pursue doctoral work, I was able to expand my love for the classroom even further, by teaching pre-service teachers, who then go on to touch the lives of school children."

She wants her students to know that working with children is a way to profoundly influence lives and that teachers directly impact students and their academic success in ways nobody else can.

She points out that her students are constantly teaching her, as well.

"They bring new ideas and challenge my thinking."

Because all her courses are online, she strives to develop a relationship with the students in her classes by conducting weekly Friday video updates, personal check-ins, audio recordings for assignments, and by having virtual office hours.

"Doing all these things removes the technology barrier to a more human experience."

Virtual experiences are now the norm and Ashley even observes student teachers in the classroom using virtual technology.

"This is something we were already doing before Covid-19, but it will be even more common in the future."

Tuition, Fees, and Financial Aid

Financial aid is available. Students are encouraged to file the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form to determine their eligibility for federal and state funds as well as scholarships. WVU’s FAFSA Code is 003827.

The Child Development and Family Studies B.S. requires 120 credit hours to complete. Cost per credit hour is $451.
$54,120 – Residents and Non-Residents

Tuition and fees are usually not the only educational expenses you may have while pursuing a degree. You may have other costs such as books, supplies and living expenses. Please see the Estimate Costs and Aid webpage for how to estimate and plan for other potential expenses.

Your future in Child Development and Family Studies

The online Birth through 5/Pre-K non-certification option focuses on development from birth through age eight, with an emphasis on preparing students to work with young children and families.

Students will also complete field experiences and internships in early childhood settings, including Pre-K classrooms, hospitals, afterschool programs, and childcare centers. The CDFS degree is best suited for students interested working with young children and their families, including careers as a developmental specialist, parent educator, and early childhood resiliency specialist.

The Benefits to Choosing Our Program

Students in the Birth through 5/Pre-Kindergarten option of Child Development and Family Studies will acquire:

  • Knowledge of the social, emotional, intellectual, and physical development of young children in the family and preschool contexts.
  • Skills in implementing appropriate curricula as well as developmental and performance assessments.
  • Ability to construct positive and enriched early childhood environments where the young have the opportunity to develop skills for lifelong learning.
  • Knowledge of current best practices that prepare young children to be competent, independent learners.
  • Ability to reflect on one’s knowledge and skills of teaching and interacting with young children.
  • Knowledge of how young children learn in order to prepare educational activities in inclusive environments.
  • Extensive field experiences with various ages of young children--infants, toddlers and preschoolers and young school age.

Why choose a career in Child Development and Family Studies?

A career in the area of child development and family studies provides opportunities to support children, families, and communities to meet their greatest potential. This type of career allows for individuals to work with people to build better communities. Also see more examples of why social science careers are impactful here:

Career Outlook for Child Development and Family Studies

Students who graduate from WVU Online with the Child Development and Family Studies B.S. degree may be prepared for the following careers. These are only a few examples of some of the many opportunities that will be open to you with this degree. Advanced degrees or certifications may be required for some positions.

Child, Family and School Social Worker
Projected Growth: 7-10% *Bright Outlook

Child Care Director
Projected Growth: (11%) Faster than average

Curriculum Coordinator
Projected Growth (10%) As fast as average

Social and Community Service Managers
Projected Growth (15%) Faster than average

Information about careers on this list comes from the Occupational Information Network (O*NET) of the U.S. Department of Labor/Employment and Training Administration (USDOL/ETA).

General Education Foundations (GEF) 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, and 8 (31-37 Credits)
Outstanding GEF Requirements 1, 2, 3, 5, 6, 7, and 8
A minimum grade of C- is required in all Child Development and Family Studies Major Coursework.

Course Title Credit Hours
CDFS 191 First-Year Seminar 1

General Electives: 23-49

Course Title Credit Hours
CDFS 110 Families Across the Life Span (GEF 4) 3
CDFS 112 Introduction to Marriage and Family (GEF 8) 3
CDFS 210 Introduction to Parenting 3
CDFS 212 Development in Early and Middle Childhood 3
CDFS 250 Research Methods (fulfills Writing and Communication Skills requirement) 3
CDFS 413 Stress in Families 3
SPED 304 Special Education in Contemporary Society (GEF 8) 3

Area of Emphasis: 24-49

Child Development Requirements

Course Title Credit Hours
CDFS 211 Infant Development 4
CDFS 316 Child Development Practicum 3
CDFS 431 Infant Toddler Language and Literacy 3
CDFS 432 Early Socio-Emotional Development 3
CDFS 491 Professional Field Experience 6
CDFS 491A Professional Field Experience 3

Additional Requirements

Course Title Credit Hours
C&I 410 Early Childhood Education 1 3
C&I 411 Early Childhood Education 2 3
HLSC 172 First Aid and Emergency Care 2
RDNG 423 Literacy and the Young Child 3
ECSE 311
or ECSE 312
or ECSE 317
Developmental Assessment for Young Children with Special Needs
or Differentiated Instruction for Young Children with Special Needs
or Technology for Young Children with/without Special Needs


Course Title Credit Hours
CDFS 430 Best Practices in Pre-K Movement 3

Classroom Creativeness

Choose one of the following courses:

Course Title Credit Hours
Art 103 Materials and Procedures 2
C&I 414 Creative Experiences in Early Childhood 2
MUSC 182 Music in the Elementary School 2

The Business of Child Care and Education

Choose two of the following courses:

Course Title Credit Hours
BCOR 350 Principles of Marketing 3
BCOR 370 Principles of Management 3
CDFS 420 Leadership in Early Childhood 3
CDFS 421 Child Care Center Administration 3
CDFS 422 The Business of Child Care Management and Financial Strategies 3
CDFS 423 External Funding: Early Childhood Programs 3

Total credit hours: 120

Frequently Asked Questions

What can I expect from an online Child Development and Family Studies Bachelor program?

The BS degree in Child Development and Family Studies prepares students for working with children, adolescents and families in various settings, while encouraging children to become competent, independent learners.

Can you study early childhood education online?

Yes, and our program is 100% online.

Is a Bachelor’s in Child Development worth it?

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the employment of preschool teachers is projected to grow 10 percent through 2026, faster than the average for all occupations.

Are Child Development majors in demand?

Yes. There is a growing demand for Child Development majors. Healthy children have a better chance of developing into healthy adults. Child Development professionals work to assist children in staying on track as they progress through their formative years.

What can you do with an early childhood education besides teaching?

There are several things you can do with your degree besides teach. Some additional occupations/areas to consider would be: School Administration, Educational Consultant, Curriculum Designer, After School Program Director or a position in Education Policy and Research.

What is the highest paying job in early childhood education?

Some of the highest paying jobs in early childhood education are: early childhood special education teacher, pre-school childcare directors, early childhood instructional specialists and early childhood education professors.

Related Programs

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