Academic Programs Catalog

College of Social Science

Department of Human Development and Family Studies

Undergraduate Programs
Early Care and Education

The Bachelor of Arts in Early Care and Education, is a collaborative, multi-institutional limited enrollment program. This degree focuses on the intellectual, social, emotional, and biological development of children. It includes planning and design of related human services and care/educational settings and preparation related to employment in early childhood education settings. The program provides instruction in parent-child relations, parenting practices, special needs of children, parental and environmental influences on child development, caregiver-child interactions, external support services, and related public policy issues. Designed for active duty military, spouses, retired and Department of Defense employees, rural head start teachers and off-campus students, the program provides flexibility for working professionals who need to maintain employment while advancing their educational opportunity.

The College of Social Science, in collaboration with The Great Plains Interactive Distance Education Alliance (GPIDEA), offers this program by faculty from multiple land-grant universities: Michigan State University, Iowa State University, University of Missouri, University of Nebraska, Oklahoma State University, South Dakota State University, and Texas Tech University.

Students will earn this degree from their home institution while also enrolling for courses at other participating institutions.

In addition to meeting the requirements of the University and of the College of Social Science, students must meet the requirements specified below.


To be admitted, students must apply via their home institution and plan their course of study under the guidance of their academic advisor. Michigan State University students follow established University admission procedures to the College of Social Science and the Early Care and Education major. Students must have a minimum of 30 credits applicable to the graduation requirements of the admitting institution with an earned minimum grade-point average of 2.5.

Michigan State University students should contact the Department of Human Development and Family Studies for guidance on the completion of this program.

Requirements for the Bachelor of Arts Degree in Early Care and Education

  1. The University requirements for the bachelor’s degree as described in the Undergraduate Education section of this catalog; 120 credits, including general elective credits, are required for the Bachelor of Arts degree in Early Care and Education.

    The University’s Tier II writing requirement for the Early Care and Education major is met by completing Human Development and Family Studies 406.
  2. The requirements of the College of Social Science.
  3. The following requirements for the major:
    1. All of the following courses which are taught online as part of the Great Plains IDEA Alliance (51 credits):
Child Development (ages 0-3)
Child Development (ages 4-8)
Professional Development in Early Care and Education
Child Guidance and Classroom Environments
Health, Safety and Nutrition in Early Care and Education
Practicum I: Child Observations in Classroom Environments
Development of Curriculum for Children (ages 0-3)
Development of Curriculum for Children (ages 4-8)
Assessment and Observations in Early Care and Education
Understanding and Adapting for Developmental Differences in Early Care and Education
Practicum II: Lesson Planning
Working with Families in Early Care and Education
Technology and Young Children
Diversity in the Lives of Young Children and Their Families
Administration and Supervision in Early Childhood Settings
Practicum III: Capstone Experience (W) [HDFS 406]

Students must have access to a high-quality preschool or head start classroom for their three practicum experiences.