Child and Adolescent Development

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Academic Programs

The Department of Child and Adolescent Development offers a degree program which leads to a Bachelor of Arts in Child and Adolescent Development. Students in the major choose either the Applied Development Science Option or Early Childhood Development Option.  Students in the major seeking an academically enriched undergraduate experience can choose to participate in the Department's Honors Program. Students majoring in other fields can choose to join the Minor in Child and Adolescent Development.

B.A. Option in Applied Developmental Science (ADS)

The Applied Developmental Science Option values the analysis and synthesis of classic and contemporary research that promotes positive developmental outcomes spanning conception through emerging adulthood. Students 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.

Research methodology and a scientific approach to development is emphasized so students may be adequately and competitively prepared for advanced degree and professional programs. This is an excellent choice for those preparing for the fields of clinical social work, clinical/counseling/school psychology, K-12 teaching, college teaching, and developmental research. 


Some students prefer this BA Option because the 12-units of CADV Electives provides greater flexibility. For instance:

  • students can take more courses from other departments such as Psychology, Family & Consumer Science, Anthropology, etc. (this is also helpful if you are double-majoring/minoring)
  • several courses that can be double counted for your upper division general education requirements (i.e., FCS 340, RTM 352, PSY 312)
  • some students strategically use their Electives to start completing prerequisite courses for a graduate or credential program. 

B.A. Option in Early Childhood Development (ECD)

The Early Childhood Development (ECD) Option also values the analysis and synthesis of classic and contemporary research that promotes positive developmental outcomes. Students also 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.

The ECD option narrows coursework on the development of infants, toddlers, and young children. This is ideal for students planning a career in the field of early childhood development (i.e., infant care, preschool teacher, early intervention) and desire to have a diploma explicitly acknowledging this as their focus.

Most Community College Transfer Students who are interested in a career in preschool/early childhood education prefer this option as much of the ECE courses taken at the community college can be used toward requirements in this option.

  • This BA option was specifically created for the community college student who have completed the Lower Division Transfer Plan in Early Childhood Education. A total of 8 community college ECE courses (24 units) are included in the CADV BA requirements at CSU Northridge.

Honors Program in Child and Adolescent Development

The Department Honors Program recognizes and supports the academic and professional development of exceptional undergraduate students earning the B.A. in Child and Adolescent Development. Students in the Honors Program engage in advanced level assignments, activities and projects beyond the standard requirements for the degree. Students who successfully complete all requirements for the Program will have the designation of Department Honors noted on the diploma and official transcripts upon completion of the degree.

Please click here  for a PDF format version of the application.

Minor in Child and Adolescent Development

Requirements for the Minor in Child and Adolescent Development are as follows:

I. Lower Division Required Courses (6 units)

  • CADV 150 Foundations of Child and Adolescent Development (3)
  • PSY 150 Principles of Human Behavior (3)

II. Upper Division Required Courses (12 units)

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

Choose TWO of the following courses:

CADV 310 Developmental Impacts of Abuse and Neglect (3)

CADV 327 Infancy and Early Childhood (3) (or FCS 335 Prenatal and Infant Development)

CADV 335 Middle Childhood (3)

CADV 361 Adolescence (3) (or FCS 438 Adolescents in the Family Context)

CADV 450 Helping Children Cope with Medical Environments (3)

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

CADV 452 Child Advocacy (3)

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

CADV 470 Advanced Theories (3)

CADV 497AA-ZZ Selected Topics (3)

Units in the Minor: 18

CADV Internship Program