NDSU Distance & Continuing Education (DCE)

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Online Degrees

B.S. in Human Development and Family Science: Child & Adolescent Development


View an informational video regarding the online B.S. in Human Development and Family Science: Child & Adolescent Development option.

Program Description

Sample plan of study

Frequently asked questions

Admission requirements

Tuition & Fees

Contact information


"I am back at college after a 30 year period. I live 200 miles away from NDSU and have always wanted to complete my degree, and now I can online. The classes are challenging and interesting. I am so happy that this option is available."

- Jacalyn, Langdon, ND


Program Description

Gain knowledge of family and human development over the life span. In the online B.S. in Human Development and Family Science: Child & Adolescent Development option degree program students gain an understanding of the development of children and adults and their interaction in the family and society. In human development and family science students may focus coursework on promoting child health and protection or understanding and meeting the needs of older children and adolescents.

Child and adolescent development jobs and other career directions through HDFS can be divided into two general areas:

These career opportunities include extension agent, Head Start program director, child care director, home visitor for Head Start, crisis family counselor, hospital child life specialist, family life educator, developmental disabilities worker, volunteer coordinator, parent support specialist, parent educator, financial counselor and financial planner.

Some of the careers listed above require a planned minor or a double major. Other careers require preparations beyond the bachelor's level. An HDFS degree is excellent preparation for students considering graduate work in counseling, family therapy or child and family development.


View Human Development and Family Science Program Fact Sheet


If you are interested in a graduate-level program check out our online M.S. in HDFS: Youth Development option.


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Sample Plan of Study

HDFS  Core Courses: (20 CREDITS)

Child & Adolescent Development Core Courses: (9 CREDITS)

HDFS Major Electives: (9 CREDITS)

Additional Courses:

Total Credits: 122


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Frequently Asked Questions

I am employed full-time and have a family, how many credits or classes should I take each semester?
Students vary in their ability to manage the coursework and the other demands on their time. It is a good idea to start out with a smaller number of courses than you think you want to take and then work your way up to a larger number of courses.  Our courses tend to require a lot of reading and writing.  Students might start out with a half time credit load to see how that works in their schedule and then move into their full time credit load.  We have students who do this full time at 18 credits in addition to working and having families. We have other students who say six to nine credits is all they can handle. The program is flexible and can work with students in both of those situations to help them be successful. Our advisors will work with you and know what the best-case scenario might be for you.  Be sure to work with your advisor throughout your program.

How long will this program take to complete?
With a full time course load, this is a four-year program.  You can extend that time by taking less than full-time credits.  You can also speed that time up if you take advantage of summer semesters or if you take more than 15 credits per semester.  Generally, it is a minimum of three years.

Can I transfer coursework into this program and how will I know what classes will transfer?
As long as you are transferring from an accredited institution most of your credits should transfer.  Our Office of Registration and Records will do a transfer evaluation for you. They will look at your coursework and decide where it fits.  Our goal is to maximize the use of your previous coursework; however, there are occasionally times when institutional requirements or other requirements do not allow us the flexibility to transfer some credits.

Will this program prepare me to be a certified child life specialist?
There are a number of requirements to become a certified child life specialist.  This degree will fulfill one of those requirements.  Another requirement is an approved internship. These internships are very competitive and difficult to come by.  You may have to consider an internship in another state.  You must also pass a national certifying exam; however, there are changes coming in the certification exam that may require you to obtain a master’s degree prior to taking the certification exam.

Is there an internship involved with this program? If so, do I have to come to Fargo to complete it?
All students must complete a five-credit internship. We are able to work with you to find an appropriate internship setting in your community. 


View our FAQ page




New Undergraduate Admission
Transfer Student Undergraduate Admission
View Getting Started Guide


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Contact Information

NDSU Department of Human Development and Family Sciences
Phone: 701-231-9849
Email: .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)
Web: www.ndsu.edu/hdfs/

NDSU Office of Admission
Phone: 1-800-488-6378
Email: .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)
Web: www.ndsu.edu/admission/


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