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San Diego State University

Department of Child & Family Development

Undergraduate Programs

Child Development Major
Bachelor of Science in Applied Arts and Sciences

The interdisciplinary major (major code 08231) in child development prepares students for a variety of professional careers specialties. Graduates with competencies in this major find positions in early care and education settings, schools, hospitals, clinics, residential facilities, counseling centers, mental health centers, public welfare agencies, family service agencies, family planning clinics, community programs, business and industry, and government agencies. Students can also enter teaching credential programs (single/multiple subject, elementary or secondary) upon graduation. A child development major provides preparation for graduate study in child or family development, developmental psychology, social work, counseling or special education, law, and other social sciences. Descriptions of career opportunities of the major and ways to meet credential and certification requirements are available from the Undergraduate Advisor, Pamela Gardner (

View the Child & Family Development Undergraduate Brochure (PDF)

A minimum of 49 upper division units to include Child and Family Development 335, 353A, 353B, 353C, 370, 375A, 375B, 375C, 537, 560, 575, 578, 590, 598 and one of the two specializations below:

Child Development Specialist:
  • Child and Family Development 377, 378A (1unit) and 378B (1unit) or 378D (1unit), 380, 477, and 577
Family Development Specialist: 
  • Child and Family Development 378C, 378D, 536, & nine units selected with the approval of the program advisor 

Additional Graduation Requirements:

In order to graduate, all Child and Family Development majors are required to complete the equivalent of 3 units or 120 hours (minimum) in one of three study areas with the pre-approval and written consent of the undergraduate advisor. The three areas are: Study Abroad; Research; Community-Based Learning.

All students will enroll in CFD 598 to develop their reflective learning portfolios to demonstrate the ways in which they are meeting the program goals and learning outcomes.

Follow the appropriate catalog for General Education (G.E.) graduation requirements and the requirements of the Child Development major:

  • A student may follow the GE requirements in effect during the year entered SDSU or another campus in the CSU system or a California Community College, provided that continuous attendance, (as defined in the SDSU General Catalog) was maintained.
  • A student may follow the General Catalog that is currently in effect at the time of entrance to SDSU or the General Catalog that is in effect at the time of graduation.
  • A student may follow the Child Development major requirements of the General Catalog that is current (in effect) at the time of the declaration of the major or that is in effect at the time of graduation.

Child Development Minor

The minor in child development consists of a minimum of 19 units to include Child and Family Development 270, 270L (1 unit), Psychology 101 and 12 upper division units selected from Child and Family Development courses.

Courses in the minor may not be counted toward the major, but may be used to satisfy preparation for the major and general education requirements, if applicable. A minimum of six upper division units must be completed in residence at San Diego State University.

Family Life Education Certificate

The purpose of this certificate program is to prepare students for careers in family life education. The program is designed for individuals working on degrees in child development and health science. It also provides a self-improvement opportunity for people seeking employment, promotion, or upward mobility on the job.

Ten areas of specialization are offered. In addition, internship hours are required. Contact the Undergraduate Advisor, Pamela Gardner, for more information (

Early Care and Education Certificate

The purpose of the Early Care and Education certificate program is to prepare students for careers in the field of care and education working with young children 0-3 and their families, to include home visitations and provision of in-home support and education. 

Contact the Undergraduate Advisor, Pamela Gardner, for more information (  

The Hospitalized Child (CFD 390) 

This course is designed, but not limited to, students interested in a career as a Certified Child Life Specialist. Students will examine how hospitalization affects infants through adolescents. This class will discuss development, play, grief, death and dying along with best practices for working with families and the application of family centered care. In addition, students will obtain basic knowledge of stress reduction, coping strategies, and play therapies. This class is taught by a Certified Child Life Specialist that meets the criteria for the new certification requirements. Please refer to the Child Life Council for a full list of requirements.