This is an archive of the 2023-2024 University Catalog.
To access the most recent version, please visit

This is an archive of the 2023-2024 University Catalog.
To access the most recent version, please visit

This is an archive of the 2023-2024 University Catalog.
To access the most recent version, please visit


Program: B.A., Child and Adolescent Development

Early Childhood Development Option

Program Description

The Department of Child and Adolescent Development offers an interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary undergraduate degree program focusing on the study of human development from conception through emerging adulthood. The degree program leads to a Bachelor of Arts in Child and Adolescent Development. Students elect to complete the option in Applied Developmental Science or the option in Early Childhood Development.

The option in Applied Developmental Science emphasizes the analysis and synthesis of classic and contemporary research in the interest of promoting positive developmental outcomes spanning conception through early adulthood. Students in this option explore theories, concepts, and phenomena relevant to the development of individuals and social systems, including the wide range of familial, biological, societal, cultural, physical, ecological, political, and historical settings of human development. Students who elect to complete the option in Early Childhood Development develop a strong foundation of content knowledge and practical skills applicable to working with young children (i.e., conception through age 7). Students in this option have the opportunity to complete all of the requirements for the Child Development Permit (credential required for preschool teachers, administrators, and childcare professionals) during the degree program. Many students in this option may choose to add the Minor in Child-Care Administration (see Department of Family and Consumer Sciences) without delaying completion of the degree. Note that 9 units in the Early Childhood Development option meet the requirements for the Minor in Child-Care Administration.

Both options in the degree program emphasize using research- and evidence-based knowledge to empower students to become critical consumers of theoretical perspectives and information relating to the physical, social, and cognitive development of children and adolescents. This foundation allows students to develop content knowledge and skills essential to participating in informed public dialogue, social policy, and interventions/best practices facilitating positive development.

Students learn ways to use primary and applied research to explore educational and mental health issues, including cultural processes, atypical developmental trajectories, resiliency, developmental transitions, motivation, physical and psychological well-being, and major developmental milestones. The department is committed to an ecological model that examines developmental changes and processes across multiple contexts to identify human universals, as well as context-specific differences in human development.

The domains of cognitive and social development receive particular emphasis throughout the degree program. The program also emphasizes practical applications of theoretical and research-based knowledge gained in the classroom. Students are provided the opportunity to complete a department-sponsored year-long internship with selected community organizations and schools throughout the San Fernando Valley and the greater Los Angeles area.

Students in the major complete coursework from multiple academic departments across the Cal State Northridge campus that centers around (a) general foundations of the field of human development, (b) in-depth exploration of social and cognitive development, (c) ways in which practitioners and scholars conduct and use research, (d) best-practices for practitioners, (e) exploration of cultural and linguistic influences throughout development, (f) identification of academic and professional pathways to pursue upon completion of the B.A. degree, and (g) developing breadth and/or depth of study through a robust menu of elective coursework.

Coursework in the major prepares students to be competitive applicants for postbaccalaureate graduate programs in child and adolescent development, educational psychology, developmental psychology, school psychology, early childhood education, special education, educational leadership, marriage and family therapy, counseling, clinical social work, clinical psychology and teaching credential programs. Students earning the Bachelor of Arts degree in Child and Adolescent Development are also prepared to enter the workforce in entry-level positions in a host of job settings serving children, youth, and families. Given the broad interdisciplinary focus of coursework leading to the degree, students can tailor their courses to prepare for a host of professional programs, such as counseling, teacher education, social work, law school, medical school, nursing, child life, and occupational therapy.

Obtaining a Child Development Permit

The Child Development Permit is a State of California-authorized credential, which verifies completion of the requirements established by the Commission on Teacher Credentialing (CTC) for assisting, teaching or supervising a child development program (e.g., pre-kindergarten/early childhood education programs) in the State of California. Students who complete the option in Early Childhood Development and Minor in Child-Care Administration will have satisfied coursework and practicum/fieldwork requirements for the Permit. Most undergraduate students pursuing careers in Early Childhood Education are eligible for financial support (grants and stipends) through the Child Development Training Consortium. See also the disclosure statement regarding Programs Leading to Licensure and Credentialing.

Program Requirements

1. Lower Division Required Courses (15-16 units)

Introduction to the Field

Complete all of the following:

2. Additional Requirements (41 units)

a. Domains of Development (6 units)

Complete both of the following:

CADV 350 Applied Cognitive Development (3)
CADV 352 Applied Social Development (3)

b. Modes of Inquiry (8 units)

CADV 380/L Methods of Child and Adolescent Study and Lab I (3/1)

Choose one of the following:

CADV 381/L Methods of Child and Adolescent Study and Lab II (3/1)
FCS 431/FCS 431L Child and Family Assessment and Lab (3/1)

c. Cultural/Linguistic Contexts of Development (3 units)

CADV 460 Race, Ethnicity, Gender and Culture in Development (3)

d. Early Childhood Education Pedagogy and Curriculum (6 units)

Choose two of the following:

ART 383/L Art in Early Childhood and Lab (2/1)
ART 385/L Children’s Crafts and Lab (2/1)
CADV 406/L/RTM 406/L Enhancing Childhood Creativity and Lab (2/1)
EPC 430 Development and Learning in Early Childhood Education (3)
MUS 362/L Music for Early Childhood and Lab (2/1)

e. Professional Development and Practitioner-Based Skills Sets (18 units)

Complete the following:

CADV 470 Advanced Theories in Child and Adolescent Development (3)

Complete any five of the following:

AAS 417/AFRS 417/CHS 417/ELPS 417 Equity and Diversity in Schools (3)

ART 380/L Children’s Art and Lab (2/1)

ART 385/L Children’s Crafts and Lab (2/1)

ART 579/L Art Education Across Cultures and Lab (2/1)

CADV 250 Professional Pathways and Careers in Child and Adolescent Development (3)

CADV 310 Developmental Impacts of Abuse and Neglect (3)

CADV 327 Infancy and Early Childhood (3)

CADV 335 Middle Childhood (3)

CADV 394 Child and Adolescent Development Internship I (3)

CADV 450 Helping Children Cope with Medical Environments (3)

CADV 451 Alternative Approaches to Discipline (3)
or FCS 436 Parental Development (3)

CADV 452 Child Advocacy (3)

CADV 453 Autism and Neurodevelopmental Disorders (3)

CADV 455 Effective Mentoring in Child and Adolescent Development (3-3)

CADV 456 Coping with Grief and Loss in Childhood and Adolescence (3)

CADV 494 Child and Adolescent Development Internship II (3)

CADV 495A Child and Adolescent Development Graduate School Skills and Applied Research Training I (3)

CADV 495B Child and Adolescent Development Graduate School Skills and Applied Research Training II (3)

CADV 499C Independent Study (3)

EED 500 Foundations of Elementary Teaching (3)

EPC 314 Psychological Foundations, K-12 (3)
or EPC 315 Psychological Foundations of Learning and Teaching (3)

EPC 430 Development and Learning in Early Childhood Education (3)

FCS 309 Maternal, Infant and Child Nutrition (3)

FCS 335 Prenatal and Infant Development (3)

FCS 433 Administration of Children’s Programs (3)

FCS 480 The Helping Professional (3)

SPED 400 Developmental Differences and Implications in Special Education (3)

SPED 402 Promoting and Supporting a Positive and Inclusive School Climate (3)

SPED 431 Atypical Development in Young Children with Disabilities (3)

SPED 532 ECSE Curriculum and Instruction (3)

3. General Education (48 units)

Undergraduate students must complete 48 units of General Education as described in this Catalog, including 3 units of coursework meeting the Ethnic Studies (ES) graduation requirement.

18 units are satisfied by the following courses in the major: CADV 350 satisfies B2 Life Science; CADV 180 or MATH 140 satisfies Basic Skills B4 Mathematics/Quantitative Reasoning; CADV 380 satisfies B5 Scientific Inquiry and Quantitative Reasoning; CADV 150 and PSY 150 satisfy D1 Social Sciences (CADV 150 also fulfills the Information Competence requirement); and HSCI 131 satisfies E Lifelong Learning.

Total Units in the Major/Option: 56-57

General Education Units: 30

Additional Units: 33-34

Total Units Required for the B.A. Degree: 120


Department of Child and Adolescent Development
Chair: W. David Wakefield
Sequoia Hall (SQ) 285
(818) 677-3385

Program Learning Outcomes

Students receiving a Bachelor of Arts in Child and Adolescent Development will be able to:

  1. Demonstrate knowledge of the theories, concepts, developmental processes and empirical approaches in the scientific study of child and adolescent development from diverse perspectives across the domains of physical, cognitive and social development.
  2. Apply and integrate theoretical, research-based and evidence-based knowledge.
  3. Analyze and synthesize theories, constructs and processes of child and adolescent development through university-level academic writing and oral presentations.
  4. Demonstrate knowledge of evidence-based strategies of culturally competent practice/pedagogy relevant in a culturally pluralistic and linguistically diverse society.
  5. Demonstrate information literacy/competence through effectively utilizing media sources and complying with the ethics of manipulating and presenting information.
  6. Describe, critique and practice various empirical methodologies used to study child and adolescent development, including design, data analysis and interpretation.
  7. Develop and describe an individualized postbaccalaureate plan to pursue a professional career, including related issues such as identifying short- and long-term goals, developing professional networks, engaging in career exploration/planning, and identifying prospective advanced degree/training programs and overall long-term success as a professional.