Department of Behavioral Sciences & Human Services

Child & Adolescent Studies Major

When you commit your education to the social science of understanding children, you commit to improving the future. As a student in our interdisciplinary Child and Adolescent Studies program, the only one of its kind in the University System of Maryland, you’ll plunge into a unique fusion of coursework in psychology, social work, education and sociology. Our curriculum will challenge you, engage you and prepare you to work specifically with children and teens, both in and outside of a classroom setting. When you graduate, your versatility will enable you to work in settings where your acuity will help the people who need it the most.

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Cultivate your critical thinking and problem-solving skills. Discover the fascinating ways children absorb and reflect their environments. Research critical, often complex influencers, from family, society, religion and culture to race, class, gender and sexuality. The child and adolescent studies major offers four concentrations: child life, research, pre-occupational therapy, and child mental health and welfare. In each of your classes, you’ll learn foundational knowledge to work with diverse populations, apply research and theories, and enhance your passion for helping young people. As a student, you will:

  • Develop effective strategies to meet the distinct needs and demands of school-age children
  • Identify cultural, biological, psychological and environmental influences on development
  • Learn the legal and ethical issues around working with children
  • Explore traditional and emerging methods of social research
  • Communicate important child-related issues to policy and decision-makers
  • Analyze the developmental and cognitive stages of school-age children

Our core requirements and electives are designed to give students the opportunity to engage children and adolescents from a variety of perspectives. The program’s interdisciplinary foundation will help you understand how the world affects a child, how a child affects the world and how to serve them in between, no matter how you ultimately put your credentials and knowledge to use.