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San Diego State University

Department of Child & Family Development

Frequently Asked Questions

Master Plan

What is a Master Plan?

The Master Plan is a declaration of the student’s CFD specialization and the upper division classes associated with the specialization. 

When do I file a Master Plan?

Students will typically file a Master Plan after the “Prep-for-the-Major” classes are completed. 

How do I file a Master Plan?

Students will meet with the CFD Undergraduate Advisor to file a Master Plan. Together they will complete the paperwork to declare the student’s specialization and select (if applicable) the coursework. 


What are the requirements to move from the “pre-major” to the “major?”

All students must complete a series of “Preparation for the Major” classes (see catalog) and earn at least a C in each class. Students must also have a cumulative GPA of at least a 2.4 and have completed a total of no fewer than 45 units. Once this is done, students will move from the “pre-major” to the “major” and may begin taking upper division CFD classes. 

How do I move from the “pre-major” to the “major?”

At the end of each semester, after grades have been processed, students will automatically be changed from the premajor to the major if they have met the impaction criteria. Students will be notified of the change via Email. When students take classes at other institutions, this process may not happen automatically. If so, students should meet with the CFD Undergraduate Advisor to expedite the process.

Community College

How do I know if a class I took at a California community college or university is accepted for a class at SDSU?

Students should visit the website, ASSIST is an online student-transfer information system that shows how course credits earned at one public California college or university can be applied when transferred to another. ASSIST is the official repository of articulation for California’s public colleges and universities and provides the most accurate and up-to-date information about student transfer in California.

What do I do if a class I took at a community college or other university is not included in ASSIST?

The CFD Undergraduate Advisor can accept a course taken at another institution if the coursework is the same as the SDSU course. Students need to meet with the advisor with a catalog description of the course and the course syllabus. If accepted, the advisor will complete the paperwork to accept the course.


May I take a CFD class if I don’t have the prerequisites?

No, prerequisites are strictly enforced in the CFD Department. 

May I take a CFD class if I am concurrently taking the prerequisite class/classes?

No, prerequisite classes must be completed.


How do I know if I should select the Child Development Specialization or the Family Development Specialization?

Students who want to be a preschool teacher or administrator in a private, publicly funded, or religious institution should select the Child Development Specialization. All other students, including those who want to teach elementary school, should select the Family Development Specialization.


The Family Development Specialization allows students to select nine upper division units for the Master Plan. What classes should I select?

Typically, students will select classes that are prerequisites for the teaching credential program or the graduate program they plan to attend. Students also select classes that pertain to their career goals or their interests within CFD. All classes must be approved by the Undergraduate Advisor.

CFD Courses, Grades, Credit/No Credit

How do I know what CFD classes to take every semester?

The SDSU catalog indicates the required CFD classes. Also, the student's Degree Audit Report is helpful. 

What do I do if I earn a grade lower than a C in the “Preparation for the Major” classes?

The student must retake the class and earn at least a C. 

Must I retake an upper division CFD class if I earn a grade lower than a C?

No, the class does not need to be repeated, but in order to graduate, the Major GPA cannot fall below a 2.0. 

Can the “Preparation for the Major” classes be taken credit/no credit?


Can upper division CFD classes or classes in the Master Plan be taken credit/no credit?


Specific Questions 

What must I do to earn the “Family Life Education Certificate?”

Students must take Bio 307, Psy 355, PH 353 and six units selected from CFD 135, CFD 270, CFD 375C and CFD 378C, CFD 375C and CFD 378D, or Psy 230. Students must also complete a practicum. See CFD professor Dr. Vanja Lazarevic for further information. 

I plan to teach preschool or be a preschool director. Do I need a Child Development Permit?

State-licensed, publicly-funded, center-based childcare and child development programs will typically require a Child Development Permit. Information on the California Child Development Permits is available at (under CA Educators, click Credential Requirements and Child Development Permits).

The Department of Child and Family Development is a highly integrated academic unit within the College of Education. The Department offers a B.S. in Child Development in Applied Arts and Sciences and a Master of Science degree in Child Development, as well as a graduate certificate (EC-SEBRIS) in early childhood mental health.