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Kristie B. Chandler, Chair, Professor
Jonathan C. Davis, Professor
Clara E. Gerhardt, Orlean Beeson Distinguished Professor
Celeste H. Hill, Associate Professor
Kayla L. Wenth, Instructor
Enriching the lives of families through education, service and advocacy.
Since 1999 the human development and family science curriculum has met the requirements for the Provisional Certified Family Life Educator (CFLE) designation awarded by the National Council on Family Relations (NCFR; www.ncfr.org).
Undergraduate Programs and Requirements
Human Development & Family Science Major (B.A.)
Human Development & Family Science Major w/a Conc in Child Development Education (B.A.)
Human Development & Family Science Major w/a Conc in Child Life (B.A.)
Human Development & Family Science Major w/a Conc in Gerontology (B.A.)
Human Development & Family Science Minor
Accelerated Bachelor-to-Graduate Pathway Programs
Fast-Track Juris Doctor (aka 3+3 Law Program) (B.A./J.D.)
Fast-Track Master of Divinity (B.A./M.Div.)
Fast-Track Master of Public Health (B.A./M.P.H.)
Fast-Track Master of Social Work (B.A./M.S.W.)
The Department of Human Development and Family Science offers a bachelor of arts (B.A.) degree in human development and family science, with three concentration options: child development education, child life specialist, and gerontology. The department also offers a minor in human development and family science.
The department also offers the following accelerated bachelor-to-graduate pathway programs: the fast-track juris doctor (J.D.) (aka 3+3 law program), in cooperation with Cumberland School of Law; the fast-track master of divinity (M.Div.), in cooperation with Beeson School of Divinity; the fast-track master of public health (M.P.H.), in cooperation with the Department of Public Health; and the fast-track master of social work (M.S.W.), in cooperation with the Department of Social Work. See below for more information.
NOTE: During their first semester as a department major or minor, students must obtain and submit an ABI and FBI fingerprint and background check.
Human Development and Family Science
Human development and family science is an interdisciplinary field of study which applies knowledge and research about individuals and families in a changing world. This discipline concerns the study of an individual’s physical, emotional, social, cognitive, and spiritual development from birth through adulthood and how that individual development impacts the family unit.
Students gain the knowledge and service-learning experience required to plan, implement, and evaluate educational programs and services designed to optimize family functioning within the larger society. Courses expose students to both the research and theory supporting the ten content areas required to become a certified family life educator through the National Council on Family Relations (NCFR). The content areas include: families and individuals in societal contexts, internal dynamics of families, human growth and development across the lifespan, human sexuality, interpersonal relationships, family resource management, parent education and guidance, family law and public policy, professional ethics and practice, and family life education methodology.
Child Development Education Concentration
This concentration focuses on the development and education of young children from infancy through preschool. Students in this concentration receive education and experience which prepares them for work in early childhood settings as a preschool teacher and/or administrator. Special emphasis is given to the importance of family involvement during this most crucial time of development.
Child Life Concentration
This concentration may interest students who desire to work in a medical setting to provide emotional support and coping strategies for children and their families facing short and long-term hospitalization and other health care related issues. Upon completion of this concentration, students must submit their coursework for review to the Child Life Council, as well as pass a certification exam to become a Certified Child Life Specialist. Extensive clinical hours, including a 600-hour internship experience, is also required by the Child Life Council. Completion of the coursework does not guarantee certification. For more information regarding certification, please visit www.childlife.org.
Due to the rapid growth of the aging population, this concentration prepares students to provide services and research for those in the later stages of the lifespan. Special emphasis is placed upon how aging affects the individual as well as the family system. Caregiving is an important service that families provide for their loved ones as well to the larger society. Professionals with a gerontology background can help individuals and their families through the successful transition required during this stage of life.
General Education: University Core Curriculum and Distribution Requirements
General Education Distribution Requirements are noted in the individual degree tables. In those cases where a requirement is not specified, see General Education Overview in the Howard College of Arts and Sciences introductory pages for a list of required and applicable courses.
Accelerated Bachelor-to-Graduate Pathway Programs
Fast-Track Juris Doctor (aka 3+3 Law and Family Science Program)
For students interested in family law, policy, or advocacy, the fast-track juris doctor program (aka 3 + 3 law program) combined with a degree in human development and family science is ideal for students interested in adoption, divorce, foster care, intimate partner violence and other areas impacting the well-being of children and families.
Samford University and the Cumberland School of Law have created an accelerated law degree program which permits a Samford student who has completed three-fourths of the work acceptable for a bachelor’s degree to be admitted to the law school. After successful completion of the first year of classes at Cumberland, the student will be awarded a bachelor’s degree in his/her undergraduate major. This program is available to Samford students from several undergraduate majors. However, the human development and family science degree works particularly well for those interested in family law and policy issues. This program requires acceptance into Cumberland Law School following the normal application process, and careful advisement and documentation in order to ensure the completion of the bachelor’s degree. Please consult your academic advisor for additional details regarding this program.
Fast-Track Master of Divinity
The accelerated bachelor of arts (B.A.) to master of divinity (M.Div.) program of study allows select students to complete requirements for both degrees in a minimum of six years of study rather than the typical minimum of seven years of study.* This program of study is available to qualified students majoring in human development and family science. Acceptance to the program is limited to students who demonstrate the maturity and discipline to advance their course of study and their preparation for vocational ministry leadership.
Students interested in the accelerated B.A. to M.Div. program should seek guidance from their advisor as early as possible in their undergraduate studies. The undergraduate program of study must include specific courses. Students may apply for admission upon completion of 48 credit hours of undergraduate studies. Applicants are evaluated on their academic performance, spiritual maturity, and vocational clarity. Admission to the accelerated program is limited.
Students must complete a minimum of 99 credit hours of undergraduate coursework before beginning their graduate theological studies. Upon completion of the initial 32 credit hours of graduate-level coursework, a student is awarded the bachelor of arts degree. The master of divinity degree is awarded upon completion of the 55 credit hours of additional graduate theological courses.
Students admitted to the accelerated B.A. to M.Div. program must participate in a co-curricular program of spiritual and vocational mentoring.
*The potential six-year minimum does not account for advanced placement credit or transfer credit which a student may bring to Samford. Any such credit may reduce the total program of study to less than six years.
Fast-Track Master of Public Health
Undergraduate students from select undergraduate Samford majors (health sciences, human development and family science, public health, and sociology) are eligible to participate in a fast track option that allows students to graduate with a bachelor’s degree in their selected major and a master of public health (M.P.H.) degree. The length of the fast-track program depends on the undergraduate major students are pursuing. Generally, the first three years are dedicated to completion of all required undergraduate courses. Students then enroll in M.P.H. courses during their senior year of undergraduate study. The M.P.H. courses completed during that year also satisfy general and directed undergraduate elective requirements, allowing students to graduate with a bachelor’s degree. Students will seamlessly enter the M.P.H. program and complete the required number of semesters to earn their M.P.H. degree. Participation in this program requires careful advisement and scheduling as well as permission of both the department chair of the undergraduate major and the chair of the Department of Public Health. Please contact Dr. Kim Davey, to learn more about the program.
Fast-Track Master of Social Work and Family Science Program
Human development and family science majors are eligible to participate in a fast-track option that allows students to graduate with a bachelor of arts degree inhuman development and family science and a master of social work (M.S.W.) after just five years of study. The first three years are dedicated to completion of all required undergraduate courses. Students then enroll in M.S.W. courses during their senior year of undergraduate studies. The M.S.W. courses they complete during that year also satisfy general and directed undergraduate elective requirements, allowing them to graduate with a bachelor’s degree after four years of study. A final year of graduate coursework leads to completion of the M.S.W. Participation in this program requires careful advisement and scheduling, as well as permission of both the undergraduate department chair and the chair of the Department of Social Work.
Many human development and family science majors are attracted to job opportunities available through non-profit and not-for-profit organizations. The program is designed to prepare students for professional careers in the helping professions, in human service agencies, the non-profit and not-for-profit sectors, or for graduate school and research. Career options include counseling, marriage and family therapy, family life education, parenting education, helping professions, elder care services, family and social services, child development, youth ministry, family policy, community advocacy, and education.
While human development and family science is a solid foundation for a career in the helping professions, a master’s degree or higher may be required to practice and be employed at a competitive level. A significant portion of human development and family science majors plan to attend a master’s degree program.
CoursesHuman Development & Family Science
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