Career Outlook
Average Salary
Projected Regional Growth
  • School Counselor
  • Elementary School Teacher
  • Speech-language Pathologist
  • Occupational Therapist
  • Child Life Specialist
  • Education Administrator

For individuals who

Are looking for a dual degree program designed to provide additional knowledge in all aspects of child development to prepare you to be an advocate for young children.

Looking for

Coursework to extend your knowledge about how children learn, what they learn and the techniques that facilitate such learning.

To become

  • Child Care Teacher
  • Preschool Teacher
  • Elementary School Teacher
  • Instructional Coordinator

The Program

Through this curriculum, students are concurrently enrolled in the human development and family science (HDFS) major (child development option) through North Dakota State University and the elementary education major through Valley City State University (VCSU). The culmination of these requirements leads to a bachelor’s degree from NDSU (human development and family science major/child development option) as well as a bachelor’s degree from VCSU (elementary education major).

Under a cooperative agreement, students remain on the NDSU campus to complete all coursework for the dual degree. The courses specific to the elementary education major (VCSU) are offered on the NDSU campus or in nearby elementary schools by VCSU faculty. Students are certified to teach elementary education in public schools and may, with additional course work and an additional student teaching experience, be certified to teach kindergarten as well.

The HDFS degree complements and strengthens the elementary education curriculum with coursework in child development, family issues and cultural diversity.

Children are very diverse in all aspects of their development—physical, cognitive, social and emotional. It is more accurate to view “normal” development as a range of possible outcomes rather than a single life course. Ultimately, these developmental factors have a strong influence on children’s performance and behavior in school. A degree in HDFS will help future teachers understand development and its diversity, making them more effective teachers and helping them work with children from a wide variety of backgrounds.

Selective Admission

Admission to the dual degree program consists of two separate university applications:

  1. Application for admission to NDSU for the human development and family science/elementary education dual degree prior to beginning the program, and
  2. Application for admission to VCSU and admission to the teacher education program, which occurs at the end of the sophomore year.

During or immediately following the introductory professional education course, students must meet additional requirements to be admitted into teacher education:

  1. Sophomore standing or better with a minimum cumulative grade point average of 2.75,
  2. Satisfactory academic performance in English 110 and 120 (grades of C or higher) and successful completion of a speech screening test,
  3. Achievement of minimum scores on the Pre-Professional Skills Test (PPST), and
  4. Qualification for teacher certification in the state of North Dakota upon VCSU program completion, as outlined in the latest issue of the Educator’s Professional Certificate Regulation booklet published by the North Dakota Department of Public Instruction.

Student Teaching

Student teaching is the culmination of the teaching program. Students have the opportunity to apply skills acquired in college courses under the supervision of an experienced educator.


Upon completing this program, students are eligible for certification to teach grades 1 through 8. The program is accredited by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education.

Additional Certifications and Endorsements

With some additional courses, students may complete any of the following certifications, endorsements, or minors: Coaching, English Language Learner, Kindergarten, Library Media and Information Science, Middle Level Education, Reading, Minnesota Licensure, Special Education Strategist, and STEM.

Financial Aid and Scholarships

The Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships at NDSU makes available grants, loans, scholarships and work-study employment. Scholarships also are available through the College of Health and Human Sciences.

The Facilities

Facilities for the dual degree program are housed in Evelyn Morrow Lebedeff Hall and the Family Life Center. Included in these buildings are classrooms, conference rooms and a child development center serving young children and their families.

Extra-Curricular Opportunities

Students may enhance their involvement by participating in groups such as the HDFS Club, the Elementary Education Club, the North Dakota Association for the Education of Young Children, the North Dakota Family and Consumer Sciences Association and the North Dakota Education Association.

Community Setting

The Fargo-Moorhead metropolitan area offers a conducive setting for study. Students have the opportunity to work in a number of community institutions serving children and families.