UNDERGRADUATE PROGRAMS at HDFS
The undergraduate program is developed from a base of human development and family studies courses. It is essential for the student working with children, adolescents or adults to understand and to be able to maximize the resources offered by the family. It is equally important for the student concerned with the quality of family life to recognize the intricate spiral of changing needs in the growing individual. The Department of Human Development and Family Studies focuses on this synthesis.
The Department of Human Development and Family Studies (HDFS) prepares students for professional service to individuals and families. The Technical Standards presented here are pre-requisite for admission and graduation from the Department of Human Development and Family Studies, College of Human Environmental Sciences of the University of Missouri. The courses required in each option area (Child Life, Child Development and Education, Families and Lifespan Development and Family and Consumer Sciences Education) develop essential skills for professional work with families and children.
HDFS offers Undergraduate Degree Programs in the following areas:
Child Development and Education
This option provides instruction and experiences to help students gain competence in understanding, guiding, and teaching children. The option prepares graduates for positions of responsibility and leadership in public and private nursery schools, child care centers, infant-care programs, after-school programs, and other educational and social service facilities for children. Students beginning after August 2008, view degree requirements and a sample program
(pdf). Existing students can choose the new program of study or the one in place when they matriculated.
CHILD LIFE EMPHASIS
This emphasis area prepares graduates to provide for the socioemotional needs, and support the optimum growth and development of children and their families in a variety of health care settings. Child life specialists use therapeutic play, psychological preparation, and coping skills interventions to help reduce the anxiety and stress related to illness, disability, hospitalization and medical procedures. Through a family-centered care approach, they provide parents and other family members reassurance and emotional support, help them understand psychosocial needs, and provide tools to help them minimize psychological trauma.
Courses focus on understanding normal and exceptional child and family development, effective methods of working with children and families, as well as integration of theory and research into hands-on clinical practice experiences (evidence-based practice). In addition to a 100-hour practicum experience (selection is on a competitive, space-available basis) at MU’s Children’s Hospital, the student’s last semester is spent off-campus (outside of Columbia, but within the U.S.) completing a 14 to 16 week clinical internship in a pediatric hospital setting. Students who successfully complete the degree program are generally well prepared to take the Child Life Professional Certification Exam presented by the Child Life Certification Committee.
Degree Program Strengths:
- Hands-on experience with children in a variety of environments
- Instruction from certified child life specialists and expert faculty
- Early exposure to clinical settings through required coursework
- Clinical practice and theory integration opportunities at practicum and internship levels
- Internship instruction and support from both clinical and academic instructors
- Undergraduate research opportunities
For more information on the child life profession in general, see www.childlife.org.
View degree requirements and a sample program (pdf).
Families and Lifespan Development
In this option, students become familiar with theory and research about families and individuals across the lifespan. Coursework focuses on bio-psycho-social development, family functioning, and interpersonal relationships in relevant settings such as at home, in child care, at school, and in the work place. Diversity is emphasized through examining multicultural families and diverse family structures and processes, and variations in individual development and relationships associated with such factors as gender, race, ethnicity, social class and health status. Opportunities are available for the practical application of theory and research in working with individuals, families, schools, and communities. View degree requirements and a sample program
Family and Consumer Sciences Education
In this option, students take required coursework in nutrition, child development, interpersonal relationships, personal finance, interior design, consumer behavior and courses from the College of Education required to become a certified teacher for middle school or high school. Students complete the required courses and a full semester student teaching internship to meet the state requirements for licensure. A minimum cumulative GPA of 2.75 is required for admission to Phase II of the program. Additional certification requirements also are required including the C-Base exam and PRAXIS exam. View degree requirements and a sample program
Department Honors Program
MU undergraduate students who have a 3.5 cumulative MU GPA can select to pursue the requirements for the HDFS Honors Program and graduate with department honors in HDFS. To complete the HDFS Honors Program, eligible students must:
- select and meet with a faculty honors mentor (selected from full-time HDFS faculty members) early after admission to the department to complete the Honors
- enroll in the honors section of department courses when such sections are offered.
- attend 10 department or campus research colloquia that are pre-approved by the faculty honors mentor. For each colloquium, the student must write a one-page, typed reflective essay to be turned into the faculty honors mentor.
- engage in a significant year-long (at least 2 semesters) research experience with a faculty member (not necessarily the faculty honors mentor). Students register for HDFS 4085 (Problems) for 3-6 credit hours (1 credit hour = 40 hours of research work). The research supervisor assigns the S/U grade for this course upon evaluation of the research project.
- complete a written research paper/thesis based on the research experience noted in #4.
- present the completed research (noted in #4) to HDFS faculty and students in a public forum.
Download the Application for Departmental Honors (pdf).
Minor in HDFS
Undergraduate students interested in obtaining a minor in HDFS should review the course requirements
and complete the online application
, located on the College of Human Environmental Sciences website. The online application may be submitted before the student has completed all of the required courses.