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Child and Family Studies

Families—they come in many shapes and sizes, and everyone experiences them in one way or another! At MTSU, Child Development and Family Studies offers opportunities to learn about individuals that make up families, starting with conception and going through old age—how they develop socially, physically, emotionally, and intellectually. With a focus on experiential learning, dynamic faculty members provide guidance in settings outside the classroom that allow students to observe and be involved with children and families. Internships and field placements help prepare students for their careers by providing real experiences with people of all ages.

Jennifer Austin, BackPack Program

Fighting hunger one backpack at a time

Some people think of doing things for others when all is going well for them—that’s not true of Jennifer Austin. She was a nursing major in 2006 when an automobile accident left her paralyzed and wheelchair bound. “I knew I wanted to continue in a field of helping others, but I wasn’t sure where to turn,” Jennifer says. Finally returning in 2009, she found a “new home in the Human Sciences Department.” Through a Family Centered Community Building class, Jennifer got involved with the BackPack Program, which provides backpacks filled with non-perishable, child-friendly, nutritious food to insecure children before weekends and holidays. Recognizing the vast need, Jennifer later entered an internship with Universities Fighting World Hunger and organized a campaign—Feed a Child, Feed a Dream—netting more than $1,300 for the backpack effort. “This was by far my most rewarding experience at MTSU! I felt as though I was truly making a difference in the lives of those around me.”

Kacy Plunkett

A special spot at a special place

Kacy Plunkett (’12) changed her major four times before settling on Child Development and Family Studies. “I chose CDFS because it encompassed my passion: helping others!” She does exactly that at Special Kids, Murfreesboro, a faith-based, nonprofit organization serving children with special needs. A 100-hour field placement first took Kacy to Special Kids, but she stayed as a volunteer; she later returned as an intern and was hired on her last day. Kacy is over TEAMM (therapeutic education and medical monitoring), a new program that involves typical kids as peer models for special needs children. Not only is Kacy enthusiastic about her major, she is grateful for help received in the advising center and has a keen awareness of the benefits of classwork, internships, and field work. “I never expected to leave MTSU with so much experience and hands-on work that would truly shape my career and my life.”

With the opportunity to learn about the entire family—from human development to family dynamics—individuals who choose to major in Child Development and Family Studies find career opportunities in many settings. Students who choose to pursue the nationally approved program that allows one to become a Certified Family Life Educator (CFLE) may find opportunities in family life education, social service agencies, day care programs, crisis intervention programs, and senior citizen services. The demand for those with people-oriented skills is expected to increase in the coming years. Examples of career options includeAdoption and/or foster care worker

  • Behavior modification specialist
  • Child and family advocate
  • Child care provider and administrator
  • Child life specialist
  • Crisis intervention service provider
  • Early intervention specialist
  • Elder care advocate, service provider, or administrator
  • Family and child case worker
  • Family and consumer sciences extension agent
  • Family life educator  
  • Family resource and support center professional
  • Social services director
  • Youth counselor


Employers of MTSU alumni include

  • Adam's Place
  • Bethany Christian Services (adoption)
  • CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocate) of Rutherford Co.
  • Child Advocacy Center
  • Community Care of Rutherford County
  • Division of Children’s Services
  • Eden Alternative
  • Head Start
  • Kids R Kids
  • LeBonheur Children's Hospital
  • Middle Tennessee State University: University College; College of Behavioral and Health Sciences
  • Murfreesboro Domestic Violence Program
  • Special Kids
  • Stones River Manor Assisted Living
  • Sunnington Assisted Living
  • Tennessee Early Intervention System
  • University of Tennessee Extension
  • Youth Villages

Stephanie Bush
Instructor
stephanie.bush@mtsu.edu

Phone | 615-898-5604
Office | Room 101, Ellington Human Sciences (EHS)
Mail | MTSU Box 86, Murfreesboro, TN 37132

Degree Information
M.S., Middle Tennessee State University, TN (2004)
B.S., Middle Tennessee State University, TN (2001)
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Dr. Claire Cook
Assistant Professor
claire.cook@mtsu.edu

Phone | 615-898-5914
Office | Room 102, Ellington Human Sciences (EHS)
Mail | MTSU Box 86, Murfreesboro, TN 37132

Degree Information
Ph.D., University of Missouri Columbia, MO (2012)
M.S., Ohio State University, Columbus, OH (2007)
B.S., Baylor University, TX (2004)
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Dr. Beth Emery
Professor
beth.emery@mtsu.edu

Phone | 615-898-2468
Office | Room 103, Ellington Human Sciences (EHS)
Mail | MTSU Box 86, Murfreesboro, TN 37132

Degree Information
Ph.D., Oregon State University, OR (1987)
M.S., Oregon State University, OR (1984)
B.S., University of Maine Farmington, ME (1975)
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Undergraduates in the Family and Consumer Studies major program may pursue a Bachelor of Science (B.S.) degree in one of two concentrations: Child Development and Family Studies (CDFS) or Family and Consumer Science Education (FCSE). CDFS is geared toward preparation for working in a variety of settings; FCSE is geared toward preparing to teach.

CDFS students typically take minors such as Aging Studies, Business Administration, Entrepreneurship, Foreign Languages, Health and Human Performance, Psychology, or Sociology.  

Other majors in the Department of Human Sciences leading to a B.S. are Textile, Merchandising, and Design with two concentrations: Apparel Design or Fashion Merchandising; Interior Design; and Nutrition and Food Science, which has a concentration in Dietetics.

The department offers undergraduate minors in Nutrition and Food Science; Textiles, Merchandise, and Design; and Human Sciences.

An academic map is a suggested four-year schedule of courses based on degree requirements in the undergraduate catalog. This sample schedule serves as a general guideline to help build a full schedule each term. Milestones, courses, and special requirements necessary for timely progress to complete a major are designated to keep you on track to graduate in four years. Missing milestones could delay your program. 

This map based on the 2013-2014 undergraduate catalog is not a substitute for academic advisement - contact your advisor if you have any questions about scheduling or about your degree requirements. Also see the current undergraduate catalog (catalog.mtsu.edu) for a complete list of requirements and electives.Note: Requirements are continually under revision, and there is no guarantee they will not be changed or revoked; contact the department and/or program area for current information. 

You may choose to attend a summer term to reduce your load during fall or spring terms but still stay on track to graduate in four years (see below). NOTE: Learning Support courses will alter the sequences on this map.

Child Development and Family Studies Academic Map

Department of Human Sciences
Middle Tennessee State University | Murfreesboro


Suggested Fall/Spring and Summer/Fall/Spring Four-Year Schedule

Refer to the scholarships website for information regarding use of the Lottery Scholarship for the summer term.

Click here for printer friendly academic map.

FRESHMAN FALL FRESHMAN SPRING
CourseHoursMilestones/Notes CourseHoursMilestones/Notes
ENGL 1010 (Comm)3Must earn C- or higher ENGL 1020 (Comm)3Must earn C- or higher
Hum/FA (Rubric 1)3  Hum/FA (Rubric 2)3 
Soc/Beh Sci (Rubric 1)3  Nat Sci (Rubric 1)4 
CDFS 2350 (CFLE course)*3  CDFS 3320 (CFLE course)*3 
HSC 10101  MATH 1010 (Math)3 
Elective1     
SUBTOTAL14  SUBTOTAL16 
SOPHOMORE FALL SOPHOMORE SPRING
ENGL 2020, ENGL 2030, or HUM 2610 (Hum/FA)3  Nat Sci (Rubric 2)4 
COMM 2200 (Comm)3  CDFS 3310 (CFLE course)*3 
CDFS 3330 (CFLE course)*3  PSY 1410 (Soc/Beh Sci)3 
HIST 2010, HIST 2020, or HIST 20303  HSC 4410 (CFLE course)*3 
NFS 12403  Minor course3 
SUBTOTAL15  SUBTOTAL16 
JUNIOR FALL JUNIOR SPRING
HIST 2010, HIST 2020, or HIST 20303  PSY 4600 or HLTH 4360 (CFLE courses)*3 
CDFS 4310 (CFLE course)*3  CDFS 4140 (CFLE course)*3 
CDFS 4340 (CFLE course)*3  CDFS 4350 (CFLE course)*3 
CDFS 4390 (CFLE course)*3  CDFS 4391 (CFLE course)*3 
Minor course3  Minor course3 
SUBTOTAL15  SUBTOTAL15File UD and Intent to Graduate forms
SENIOR FALL SENIOR SPRING
CDFS 4710 (CFLE course)*3Offered fall/summer only CDFS 4790 (CFLE course)*3 
CDFS 3390 (CFLE course)*3Offered fall only HSC 4101 (CFLE course)*6Spring/summer only; prereqs: see catalog
Choose 2: CDFS 3300, 4391*, 4720*; ECE 4300, 4380; HSC 4430, 4420; NFS 4210, 42516–7CDFS 4391/4720 CFLE Minor course3 
Minor course3  Elective1 
HSC 40001    
SUBTOTAL16–17  SUBTOTAL13 
*NOTE: Must earn C- or higher for the Certified Family Life Educator (CFLE) certification

TOTAL HOURS IN PROGRAM: 120

FRESHMAN FALL FRESHMAN SPRING
CourseHoursMilestones/Notes CourseHoursMilestones/Notes
ENGL 1010 (Comm)3Must earn C- or higher ENGL 1020 (Comm)3Must earn C- or higher
Hum/FA (Rubric 1)3  CDFS 3320 (CFLE course)* 3 
Soc/Beh Sci (Rubric 1)3  Nat Sci (Rubric 1)4 
CDFS 2350 (CFLE course)*3  MATH 1010 (Math)3 
HSC 10101     
Elective1     
SUBTOTAL14  SUBTOTAL13 
SOPHOMORE SUMMER
NFS 12403  Hum/FA (Rubric 2)3 
SUBTOTAL3  SUBTOTAL3 
SOPHOMORE FALL SOPHOMORE SPRING
ENGL 2020, ENGL 2030, or HUM 2610 (Hum/FA)3  Nat Sci (Rubric 2)4 
COMM 2200 (Comm)3  CDFS 3310 (CFLE course)*3 
CDFS 3330 (CFLE course)*3  PSY 1410 (Soc/Beh Sci)3 
HIST 2010, HIST 2020, or HIST 20303  HSC 4410 (CFLE course)*3 
SUBTOTAL12  SUBTOTAL13 
JUNIOR SUMMER
Minor course3  Minor course3 
SUBTOTAL3  SUBTOTAL3 
JUNIOR FALL JUNIOR SPRING
HIST 2010, HIST 2020, or HIST 20303  PSY 4600 or HLTH 4360 (CFLE courses)*3 
CDFS 4310 (CFLE course)*3  CDFS 4140 (CFLE course)*3 
CDFS 4340 (CFLE course)*3  CDFS 4350 (CFLE course)*3 
CDFS 4390 (CFLE course)*3  CDFS 4391 (CFLE course)*3 
SUBTOTAL12  SUBTOTAL12File UD and Intent to Graduate forms
SENIOR SUMMER
CDFS 4710 (CFLE course)*3Offered fall/summer only Minor course3 
SUBTOTAL3  SUBTOTAL3 
SENIOR FALL SENIOR SPRING
CDFS 3390 (CFLE course)*3Offered fall only CDFS 4790 (CFLE course)*3 
Choose 2: CDFS 3300, 4391*, 4720*; ECE 4300, 4380; HSC 4430, 4420; NFS 4210, 42516–7CDFS 4391/4720 CFLE HSC 4101 (CFLE course)*6Spring/summer only; prereqs: see catalog
Minor course3  Minor course3 
HSC 40001  Elective1 
SUBTOTAL13–14  SUBTOTAL13 
*NOTE: Must earn C- or higher for the Certified Family Life Educator (CFLE) certification

TOTAL HOURS IN PROGRAM: 120

Graduation information may be accessed here.

Child Development and Family Studies

CDFS 2350 - Human Development I
3 credit hours
(Same as ECE 2350.) Child development theories. Physical, cognitive, psychosocial development of the child, conception to three years of age. Diversity issues affecting development addressed. One hour observation per week required.

CDFS 3300 - Caring Across Generations
4 credit hours
Prerequisite: Permission of instructor. A service learning course in which students are trained as certified nurses' assistants (CNAs) including basic care skills as well as interaction with the elderly and their families. Designed to help students assess their level of interest in pursuing careers in working with children and/or the elderly in a medical setting.

CDFS 3310 - Human Development II
3 credit hours
(Same as ECE 3310.) Prerequisite: CDFS 2350 or permission of instructor. Physical, cognitive, psychosocial development of the child, from three years of age through middle childhood. Diversity issues affecting development addressed. One hour observation per week required.

CDFS 3320 - Family Relations
3 credit hours
Family systems, giving consideration to interpersonal relationships. The structure, function, and development of families in a changing society and in relation to other social institutions.

CDFS 3330 - Dynamics of Interpersonal Relationships
3 credit hours
Skills and knowledge essential to the development and maintenance of interpersonal and work relationships analyzed. Topics focus on self-awareness, communication in various types of relationships, and managing feelings and conflict.

CDFS 3340 - Life Span Human Development
3 credit hours
Emotional, social, physical, and intellectual growth and development of the individual over the life span with a family-oriented emphasis. Not available to Early Childhood Education and/or Family and Consumer Studies: Child Development and Family Studies majors.

CDFS 3390 - Child Development and Family Studies Professional Semin
3 credit hours
Prerequisites: Junior standing in the CDFS program and approval of the instructor. A prerequisite to HSC 4101 Internship in CDFS. Professional issues of ethics, networking, social change and public policy relating to children and families to be covered in 50-hour seminar format. Also, a site-approved, 100-hour field placement to be completed. Offered Fall only.

CDFS 4140 - Violence in the Family
3 credit hours
(Same as SOC 4140.) The causes, dynamics, and consequences of violence in the family. Includes the discussion of violence toward children, spouses, dating partners, siblings, and elders. Emphasizes the social conditions which lead to these types of violence.

CDFS 4310 - Human Development III
3 credit hours
In-depth study of physical, intellectual, social, and emotional factors influencing development during adolescence and the reciprocal influences between adolescent development and the family system. Emphasis on the ecological perspective to include the relation between adolescent development, families, and society.

CDFS 4340 - The Contemporary Family
3 credit hours
Prerequisite: CDFS 3320 or permission of instructor. An ecological approach to the study of contemporary issues, problems, questions, and life styles as they relate to families and individuals.

CDFS 4350 - Parenting
3 credit hours
Prerequisite: CDFS 3320 or permission of instructor. Knowledge of parenting and parent/child interactions and the role of the parent educator from various theoretical and applied perspectives.

CDFS 4390 - Families in Later Life
3 credit hours
Prerequisites: Human Science majors - CDFS 3320; Sociology majors - SOC 2600 or permission of instructor. Examination of families in later life from an ecological approach with emphasis on family forms and relationships.

CDFS 4391 - Aging Health and Development
3 credit hours
Prerequisite: CDFS 4390 or SOC 2600 or permission of the instructor. A service learning opportunity that provides students with understanding of the concepts and application of aging, families in later life, assessment, and gerontological program planning and implementation. May be repeated with permission of instructor.

CDFS 4710 - Family Centered Community Building I
3 credit hours
Prerequisite: CDFS 3320 or permission of instructor. An online survey course on family-centered community building (FCCB). Introduces advanced undergraduates to a range of topics, issues, and frameworks. Focused on cohesive, family-centered communities. Offered fall only.

CDFS 4720 - Family Centered Community Building II
3 credit hours
Prerequisite: CDFS 4710 (with a C- or better) or permission of instructor. A service-learning course based on the application of family-centered community building. Introduces undergraduate students as well as community practitioners to issues and activities intended to help build stronger, more cohesive, and family-centered communities. Offered spring only.

CDFS 4790 - Family Life Program Development and Evaluation
3 credit hours
Prerequisites: CDFS 2350, CDFS 3310, CDFS 3320, CDFS 3390, CDFS 4310, CDFS 4340, CDFS 4350, and  CDFS 4390. Addresses concepts of family life education as they apply to the development, implementation, and evaluation of programs. Incorporates developmentally appropriate criteria for individuals and families over the life span.

Family and Consumer Sciences Education

FCSE 1400 - Personal Finance
3 credit hours
Provides basic principles and related skills for young adults soon to be involved in making personal financial decisions on their own. Modules focus on key financial concepts that affect individuals and families as responsible economic citizens. Emphasis placed on utilizing personal financial planning tools for effective money management practices throughout the life span.

FCSE 2510 - Family and Consumer Sciences Education Curriculum
3 credit hours
Overview of the philosophy, career, federal and state legislation and standards, co-curricular youth programs and curriculum in Family and Consumer Sciences Education. Emphasis on diversity, technology, lifelong learning, and special needs of students.

FCSE 3510 - Methods and Materials for Teaching Family and Consumer
3 credit hours
Influences on FCSE components of a learning environment, principles of teaching, and curriculum construction; analysis and application of assessment tools and data collection methods for the FCS classroom; and a career management action plan. Community resources and local educators provide mentoring and teaching opportunities in classrooms.

FCSE 4500 - Occupational Field Experience
3 credit hours
Prerequisite: Permission of instructor. Directed participation in planned and supervised occupational experiences of 8 hours field experience per week. Must apply previous semester.

FCSE 4501 - Care and Guidance of Children
3 credit hours
Prerequisite: Permission of instructor. Directed participation in planned and supervised occupational experiences of 8 hours field experience per week. Must apply previous semester.

FCSE 4502 - Culinary Arts
3 credit hours
Prerequisite: Permission of instructor. Directed participation in planned and supervised occupational experiences of 8 hours field experience per week. Must apply previous semester.

FCSE 4540 - Teaching Family and Consumer Sciences Education
1 to 6 credit hours
Review of recent advances in family and consumer sciences education. Analysis and evaluation of selected topics, materials, and methods in terms of their appropriateness for teaching competencies in family and consumer sciences.

FCSE 4550 - Curriculum Development
3 credit hours
Review of recent advances in family and consumer sciences education. Analysis and evaluation of selected topics, materials, and methods in terms of their appropriateness for teaching curriculum objectives in home economics.

FCSE 4560 - Problems in Teaching Materials
1 to 3 credit hours
Prerequisite: Permission of department chair. Application of principles and techniques involved in the selection and preparation of effective teaching materials and visual aids.

FCSE 4570 - Occupational Family and Consumer Sciences Seminar
3 credit hours
Prerequisite: Consent of instructor. Examination and analysis of program development, execution, and evaluation in a selected occupational area.