Child Playing

Child Development and Services

This program is offered in-person, online, and hybrid.

The family science and human development: child development and services major prepares individuals to work with children, and their families, in a range of care and service settings. This major centers on the development of children, birth through school age, and the cultivation of skills, environments, and programs that promote healthy child development and outcomes. Interpersonal relationships and communications; diverse family systems; parent education; family law and policy; and professional ethics and competencies are emphasized.  

The child development and services major includes selection of courses within one of two tracks: 

  1. Child Programming and Administration (fulfills State of Michigan requirements for childcare center directors).
  2. Child Life Foundations (provides fundamental knowledge for service as child life specialist). 

There is no minor required. Students must successfully complete the WMU Essential Studies requirements.

Why child development and services at Western Michigan University?


A semester-long internship, along with ongoing professional exploration and development, will enhance your understanding of current issues and practices, help you gain valuable work experience, and grow your professional network and resume.

90% of 2020-21 WMU family science and human development graduates were employed in their field within three months of graduation.

The child programming and administration track of this program is offered full online and still fulfills State of Michigan requirements for childcare center directors.

All required FSHD core courses are available online. Students can also take the majority of FSHD classes for any concentration in-person. (FCS 1030, FCS 2190, and FCS 4295 are only offered online.) 

    Accelerated Graduate Degree Program

Qualifying students can accumulate up to 12 credit hours toward the Master of Arts in Family and Consumer Sciences while enrolled as undergraduates in the Family Science and Human Development concentrations. Designated 5000- and 6000-level courses are counted in both the bachelor’s degree and the master’s degree.

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Concentration tracks

  • Child Programming and Administration

    Fulfills State of Michigan requirements for childcare center directors

  • Child Life Foundations

    Provides fundamental knowledge for service as child life specialist

Additional Information

  • Study Abroad

    Students are encouraged to pursue additional educational opportunities through one of our many excellent study abroad programs.

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  • WMU Signature

    All WMU students have the option to stand out with an integrative learning project in one of several pathways including: Health & Wellbeing, Sustainability, Diversity, and more!

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  • Visit Campus

    There's simply no substitute for seeing WMU for yourself and experiencing a little slice of what makes WMU so unique and beloved. In-person and virtual tours are available.

    Schedule a visit

Hear it from us

Video of Field Trip to Eastside Youth Strong with Child and Family Development intern Carly

WMU has made a huge impact on my life. I fell in love with not only the campus, but also the faculty. WMU is home.

- Carly Smith, current student

Looking for additional early childhood majors?

Early Childhood Education Majors

Our dynamic pathway model encourages students to select the preparatory pathway best aligned with their academic interests and career goals. Program offerings prepare students for work in a variety of care, teaching, and service settings with young children. Pathways include options that align with State of Michigan requirements for childcare center directors; the early childhood general and special education (birth through kindergarten) teaching endorsement; and the lower elementary (pre-kindergarten through third grade) teaching endorsement.

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Chair, Department of Family and Consumer Sciences