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Earning your B.S. in Child Development degree from SDSU Global Campus will give you the tools you need to help children in your community grow into healthy and productive adults. SDSU’s degree completion program is driven by research, theory, and above all, a passion for children and families.


About the Program

The Bachelor of Science in Child Development Degree Completion Program can help you turn your passion for children and healthy childhood development into a rewarding career. Led by renowned faculty from SDSU’s Department of Child and Family Development, this program is designed to help you understand the physical, cognitive, and social development of children in the context of families, communities, and culture.

The program includes a focus on early childhood development as well as classes on older children and families. If you’re passionate about building stronger communities through our children, this program is for you!


Estimated Cost
Includes Fees

2 years

Completion Time


Course Format
Courses 100% Online + Field Placement Components*

Whether your goal is teaching, early childhood care and education, social work, community leadership, or graduate school, this program can help you develop the skills you need to launch a successful career in child development.

Sarah Garrity photo and storyThe Department of Child and Family Development at SDSU has engaged, enthusiastic, and student-centered faculty, with expertise in a wide variety of topics related to child and family development. Our courses are based on the latest research about what is needed for children, families, and communities to thrive, and we are committed to preparing students with the skills, knowledge, and dispositions needed to enter the workforce.

- Sarah Garrity, Ph.D., Department Chair and Associate Professor

Child Development Program Mission

Our mission is to prepare students to become early childhood educators and professionals who work with children and families in their schools and communities. The focus of the department is on the study of social-emotional development as the underlying foundation for all other areas of development including physical, cognitive, motor, and language.

The program represents an interdisciplinary field of study with the basic assumption that development takes place across the lifespan in the context of the family, community, and public policy.

Is This Program Right for Me?

SDSU’s child development degree is designed for students who are passionate about helping children grow and thrive in their communities.

As an interdisciplinary program, you’ll be prepared to launch careers in many different types of fields, including:

  • Early childhood education
  • Early intervention
  • Teaching
  • Social work
  • Counseling
  • Work in nonprofit organizations
  • Healthcare

Many students aspire to become educators, and use the knowledge they’ve gained throughout the program to enter teacher credential programs. Others choose to enter graduate-level programs in child or family development, psychology, social science, and education.

The majority of this B.S. in Child Development Program is held online, which makes the program ideal for students who are working professionals and adult learners. And best of all, you’re working towards the same degree as SDSU’s on-campus students: a Bachelor of Science in Child Development from San Diego State University.

From Our Staff

Dan Bacon photo and storySDSU faculty and students know the importance of taking evidence-based practice, and disseminating it into the community. Students leave with not only the textbook knowledge, but the ability to put that knowledge to work in improving the lives of children and families in their communities.

- Dan Bacon, M.A., BCBA, Lecturer

What Can I Learn

SDSU’s Child Development Program examines how individuals develop throughout their lifespan, from birth through adolescence and into adulthood. You’ll learn about the different social and cultural contexts in which children develop, including schools, families, communities, and cultures. You’ll also learn about the role that special needs (e.g. developmental disorders), conflict, trauma, and family violence can play in development.

As a student in the program, you’ll focus on a variety of topics, including:

  • Developmental perspectives
  • Early childhood education practice, including administration
  • The development (physical, cognitive, language, emotional, social) of infants, toddlers, preschoolers, school-aged children, adolescents, and adults
  • Development within context, such as culture, socioeconomic status, etc.
  • Anti-bias and culturally sustaining teaching techniques
  • Family violence and child maltreatment
  • Building a developmentally-appropriate curriculum
  • Children with special needs
  • Advocacy and public policy
  • Parenting, coparenting, parent-child, and peer relationships
  • Community engagement
  • Understanding and conducting research

You’ll learn about these topics in courses developed by expert faculty from SDSU’s Department of Child & Family Development. Our faculty produces cutting-edge research in the field of childhood development, and many are actively engaged in applying their scholarly research to improving the lives of children in their communities. They bring expertise to every lesson, turning your virtual classrooms into a forum for experience-based learning guided by a curriculum designed to tackle the issues that children are facing today.

Alyson Shapiro photo and storyThe Child and Family Development faculty at San Diego State University are passionate about preparing students for a variety of careers related to helping children and families. They put quality work into creating their classes, and they really focus on helping their students succeed through promoting quality teacher-student relationships.

- Alyson Shapiro, Ph.D., Associate Professor

Most courses in the program are 100% online. However, there are applied components for a few CFD courses that involve applications in your own life or field placements with children (4 hours a week or less). Students who work in CFD-related jobs can typically use their place of employment for this component. Otherwise, a field placement coordinator will work with you to find a placement opportunity with children or family service providers in the San Diego or Imperial Valley communities.

Please note that in order to complete the program, students will need to either have a CFD-related job they can use for course placement components, or they will need to travel to San Diego County or Imperial County will need to travel to San Diego or Imperial Counties to fulfill these in-person requirements (4 hours or less a week for a few courses). Limited online placement opportunities may be available.

Career Outcomes

Social Work

Job Postings
Job Postings (from 2021-2031)

Projected Growth
Projected Growth (from 2021-2031)

Social and Human Services

Job Postings
Job Postings (from 2021-2031)

Projected Growth
Projected Growth (from 2021-2031)

School Psychologist

Job Postings
Job Postings (from 2021-2031)

Projected Growth
Projected Growth (from 2021-2031)

When you earn your Bachelor in Child Development from SDSU, you can look forward to a bright future. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were around 70,000 jobs looking for individuals holding the same skills as you’d earn in a B.S. in Child Development Program, with nearly 10% of those job postings located in California. Most graduates of undergraduate child development programs find employment in social work, human services, and education.

Nationwide, the job market for those holding a B.S. in Child Development is expected to grow by 15% over the next decade. For those individuals, yearly salaries currently range from $37,000–$64,000, compared to an average yearly salary of $29,000 for those holding an Associate’s degree or less.

Why Should You Choose Us

Hands-On Experience

This program goes beyond theory. You’ll have the opportunity to apply the knowledge you’ve learned outside the virtual classroom through in-person* learning experiences with child and family service providers. You can make a difference in your community while gaining invaluable hands-on experience for your future career in child development.


The majority of the program takes place in a virtual format. Other than the hands-on* community learning opportunities, you don’t have to take time out of your busy schedule to come to campus, and you won’t have to put your professional life on hold in order to earn your degree. And because your courses are designed and delivered by renowned faculty and lecturers from SDSU’s Department of Child & Family Development, you can be sure that you’re getting a degree that’s going to carry weight in the professional world.


SDSU’s online degree completion programs are designed to give you access to SDSU's online programming no matter where you’re located. By accepting lower division coursework as prerequisites for admission, you can join the Aztec community and work towards your degree in as little as two years.


In order to earn a Bachelor of Science in Applied Arts and Sciences with a Major in Child Development, you’ll need to complete the following online components:

  • A minimum of 50 Upper Division Units, including:
    • 35 Units of Required Upper Division Courses
    • A Reflective Learning Portfolio
    • 14 Units of Specialization Courses
  • 3 Writing Proficiency Units (if applicable)
  • 9 General Education Exploration Units
  • 3 Units of a Research-Based Learning

Course List

Required Upper Division Courses (35 units)

  • CFD 335: Interactions in Culturally Diverse Families (3 units)
  • CFD 354: Parenting: Context, Application, and Research (3 units) CFD 370: Research, Assessment, and Evaluation of Children and Families (3 unit)
  • CFD 375A: Human Development and Learning: Infant/Toddler (2 units)
  • CFD 375B: Human Development and Learning: Early/Middle Childhood (2 units)
  • CFD 375C: Human Development and Learning: Adolescence/Adulthood (2 units)
  • CFD 475: Promoting Behavior Support and Classroom Organization in Early Childhood Settings (3 units)
  • CFD 537: Child Abuse and Family Violence (3 units)
  • CFD 560: Theories in Socio-Emotional Development (3 units)
  • CFD 575: Public Policy and Professional Ethics in Child and Family Development (3 units)
  • CFD 578: Conflict Resolution Across the Life Span (4 units) (in person placement component)
  • CFD 590: Children with Special Needs (4 units) (in person placement component)

Reflective Learning Portfolio (1 unit)

  • CFD 598: Reflective Learning Portfolio (1 unit) Cr/NC

Child Development Specialist Courses (14 Units)

  • CFD 377: Leadership and Adult Supervision in Child and Family Development Programs (3 units)
  • CFD 378A: Laboratory Experiences: Infants/Toddlers (1 Unit) (in person placement component)
  • CFD 378B: Laboratory Experiences: Preschool/Kindergarten (1 unit) (in person placement component)
  • CFD 380: Early Language and Literacy Development in a Linguistically Diverse Society (3 units)
  • CFD 477: Administration of Child Development Programs (3 units)
  • CFD 577: Professionalism and Advanced Administration of Child Development Programs (3 units)

Writing Proficiency Requirements (3 Units)

  • RWS 305W: Writing in Various Settings (3 units)

General Education Explorations Courses (9 Units)

  • Natural Sciences and Quantitative Reasoning (3 Units)
  • Social and Behavior Sciences (3 Units)
  • Humanities (3 Units)

Capstone Requirement (3 Units)

CFD 499 (Special Study) or CFD 497 (Field Placement) is required. We will offer CFD 499 (Special Study - Research Experience) to fulfill this requirement. All aspects of this CFD 499 course will be virtual.

  • CFD 499: Special Study (3 units)
    Supervised research experience to involve in-depth training regarding the ethics of conducting research with human subjects, experience with research data, and reporting of research results.

To successfully complete the program and earn your degree, you’ll need to complete all required units of coursework. You'll need to complete any remaining lower division CSU and General Education requirements externally before graduation at SDSU (with the exception of approved bridge courses that are offered internally at SDSU Global Campus). Once admitted, please refer to your degree evaluation to determine if there are any remaining degree requirements listed in the SDSU General Catalog for your major, as well as requirements outlined in your degree evaluation. If you have any questions, your Admissions Advisor is here to help.

Click here for information about our drop policy.


Learn More About Transferring to SDSU Global Campus

We host a series of application workshops and transfer information sessions throughout the year to answer any questions about finishing your degree.

Upcoming Workshops

Admission Requirements

Below is a list of general admission requirements for the B.S. in Child Development degree completion program.

We understand that every student's academic journey is unique, and we encourage you to contact an Admissions Advisor to find out what you'll need to successfully apply to the program. Many community college courses will cover equivalent content under different course names and numbers, so please work with your Admissions Advisor to determine if you have met the requirements below.

  • You should have a minimum of 60 transferable semester (or 90 quarter) units by the end of the fall term prior to spring transfer and the end of the spring term prior to fall transfer, including the following classes or their equivalent:
    • 27-28 Lower Division Preparation Course Units:
      • CFD 135: Principles of Family Development
        (can be taken as part of the program prior to graduation if needed)
      • CFD 270: Human Development Across the Lifespan
      • CFD 270L: Principles of Observation: Child Development Laboratory
        (waived for fall 2023 admission)
      • CFD 272: Child, Family, and Community Engagement
      • CFD 275: Learning Environments and Developmentally Appropriate Practices
      • CFD 278: Nutrition, Health, and Safety for Children
      • BIOL 100: General Biology
      • PSY 101: Introductory Psychology
      • SOC 101: Introductory Sociology: The Study of Society
      • Psychology 280 or Sociology 201, or a three unit elementary statistics course
        These courses cannot be taken for credit/no credit (Cr/NC)
    • Please contact Global Campus Admissions at for a prequalification. Any potential course substitutions are subject to Department approval and will be reviewed at the time of application.
    • Complete a minimum of 30 Units of General Education Courses
    • Complete the Golden Four Requirement, which includes:
      • Oral Communication — complete a basic public speaking course or other communication course with a grade of "C-" or higher in at least 3 semester (or 4 quarter) units
      • Written Communication — complete a freshman composition course that emphasizes essay writing or reading and writing concurrently with a grade of "C-" or higher in at least 3 semester (or 4 quarter) units
      • Critical Thinking — complete, with a grade of "C-" or higher, a second semester composition or writing course, or a course in reasoning and effective argumentative writing
      • Mathematics — complete a mathematics course above the level of intermediate algebra with a grade of "C-" or higher in at least 3 semester (or 4 quarter) units
  • Have an overall GPA of 2.4+
  • Background Clearance — you should successfully pass a background check in order to be placed in educational and community settings. Red flag issues which prevent placement may impede progression and successful completion of degree requirements.
  • Tuberculin Clearance — you should provide evidence of a negative tuberculosis test for community-based classes. Clearance statements may be secured from SDSU Health Services, private physicians or HMOs, or public health agencies.

Graduation Requirements

  • Satisfy the CSU mathematics and writing requirements
  • Complete the American Institutions Graduation Requirement
    • The American Institutions requirement is designed to demonstrate that students have an understanding of American history, the United States Constitution, and California state and local government.

Application Instructions

A $70 nonrefundable application fee is required of all applicants at the time of application.

Admission decisions are initially based on self-reported information provided via Cal State Apply. You’ll need to provide complete and accurate information on your application. Any misreporting will jeopardize an admission offer.

Please do not send your official transcripts unless you are offered admission.

Electronic transcripts are highly encouraged. Please ensure that you indicate this preference when making your request. If you are required to provide an email address to send the secure online document to SDSU, please use

For more detailed admission requirements and other application information, please consult our Transfer Admissions Information.

Financial Aid

This program is approved for financial aid. To begin the financial aid process, visit the Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships website. There, you'll be able to access the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).

We encourage you to apply for financial aid as soon as possible.


Frequently Asked Questions

Will my degree say “online”?

No, it won’t. Upon graduation, you’ll have earned the same degree as SDSU’s on-campus students — a Bachelor of Science in Child Development from San Diego State University.

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How is the program structured?

Our Bachelor of Science in Child Development Degree Completion Program is hybrid, which means most courses are 100% online, however, there are a few CFD courses with an in-person component. The mostly online format allows you to study and learn from anywhere, while also gaining invaluable hands-on experience from the in-person components.

To complete the in-person component, you will need to either have a CFD-related job, or you can travel to San Diego or Imperial Counties to fulfill these requirements. Limited online placement opportunities may also be available.

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What can I do with this degree?

Our program prepares you to launch careers in a variety of different fields including early childhood education, social work, early intervention, counseling, and more.

Upon graduation, you may also choose to continue your education and go on to graduate-level programs or teacher credential programs.

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What will I learn?

You will examine how individuals develop throughout their lives and learn about the different social and cultural contexts in which children develop. You will also learn about the role that special needs, conflict, trauma, and family violence can play in development.

Some course-specific topics include developmental perspectives, advocacy and public policy, early childhood education practice, and building a developmentally-appropriate curriculum.

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How long will the course take?

Our Bachelor of Science in Child Development Degree Completion Program requires a minimum of 50 upper-division units, you can complete the course in two years.

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What else does SDSU Global Campus offer?

When you enroll in an academic program at SDSU Global Campus, you’re joining the San Diego State University community even if you’re not on campus. This means that you’ll have access to many of the same services, programs, cultural centers, clubs, and resources that SDSU’s on-campus students enjoy. Click here to learn more.

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I’m interested. How do I get started?

Ready to take the next step? Click here to connect with the SDSU Global Campus Welcome Center.

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Want to Learn More?

Submit this web form and we’ll be in touch to answer all your questions and explain the next steps in the process. Or, you can reach a program recruiter by emailing or by calling (619) 594-7700.

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