Child Development and Family Relations

Why study Child Development and Family Relations at the University of Maine?

  • We are the only Child Development and Family Relations program in the University of Maine system. The purpose of the program is to help students understand how people develop physically, emotionally and intellectually throughout their lives. We train our graduates to examine how relationships form in society and how they can help families in need.
  • We focus on diversity, teaching students to work with children and families from marginalized groups and many walks of life. Our work aligns with state and federal priorities to assist our nation’s most vulnerable members: Infants and young children, at-risk youth, families in poverty, individuals with disabilities, the elderly, and cultural minorities.
  • We have a broad degree program to appeal to a variety of interests. Students who are interested in helping others, advocating for social change, and contributing to stronger and healthier communities will find the program to be an excellent path to a fulfilling career, whatever direction they choose.
  • We focus on lifespan, from cradle to grave. From conception to adolescence to adult development and aging—we cover broad issues of family relationships, public policy, diversity and cross-cultural perspectives.

What can I do with a degree in child development and family relations?
Possible career paths include:

  • Daycare staff/owner
  • Family support professional
  • Crisis worker
  • Child life specialist
  • Parent educator
  • Family/child advocate
  • Preschool teacher
  • Family resource coordinator
  • Youth counselor
  • Family respite worker
  • Family Life Educator
  • Early Intervention
  • Case/care manager
  • Activity/recreation director
  • Cooperative Extension Staff

Many students go on to obtain graduate degrees in areas of study, including:

  • Marriage and Family Therapy
  • Law
  • Occupational Therapy
  • Public Administration/Nonprofit Leadership
  • Psychology/Certified Professional Counselor
  • Social Work
  • Medicine
  • Physical Therapy
  • School Counseling
  • Speech Pathology
  • Reading/Literacy Specialist

Our undergraduate program
Students in the Child Development and Family Relations major can concentrate in either Individual and Family Studies or Early Childhood Education (within the Early Childhood concentration, students can choose to obtain K-3 teaching certification. This program will prepare students to be eligible for licensure within the State of Maine. Visit the UMS State Authorization & Licensure page to learn more about the licensure requirements in other states and territories, in addition to the contact information needed to inquire further into the licensure requirements associated with this program).

Our faculty
Our faculty have a deep commitment to quality teaching, advising and mentoring, as well as a variety of areas of expertise, including child development, sexuality, parenting/co-parenting, and clinical counseling practice.

Faculty members have strong affiliations with the following professional organizations:

Opportunities to excel
Our majors can gain professional and research experience at the Katherine M. Durst Child Development Learning Center, a licensed nursery and pre-K program on campus that is one of the oldest such university-affiliated centers in the United States. Students can develop research skills through internships with faculty and apply concepts and theory during an integrated practicum or field experience. Students can join the Early Childhood Organization (EChO), which gives UMaine education students the opportunity to collaborate with peers from nearby colleges, teachers, social workers and others in the field, allowing them to build their network before they graduate. Students are also encouraged to join the Kappa Omicron Nu human sciences honor society.

We encourage our students to gain an international perspective on children and families through our short travel study courses to Mexico and Europe. In addition, we encourage our majors to spend a semester studying abroad in such places as England, Scotland, Italy and Ghana.


Join the UMaine Child Development and Family Relations students and alumni Facebook group.

Tuition and fees

For the latest information on undergraduate tuition and fees, please visit the University of Maine Bursar’s Office.

I’m ready to apply. Where do I go?

Visit for an application, as well as information about academics and life at UMaine.

"Because of the coursework and field experiences I have had during my time at UMaine, my perceptions of what a teacher is have changed. A teacher is not just someone who transfers knowledge to another. A teacher is a caregiver; a support system; a giver of warm smiles and comforting hugs on a hard day; a holder of high expectations; a fierce advocate; a champion for children and families, and much, much more." — Rachel Sirois, class of 2018, early childhood education

Student Learning Outcomes and Curriculum Plan information

The child development and family relations curriculum is designed to meet the rigorous requirements of the National Council on Family Relations’ Certified Family Life Educator designation, and the program’s student learning outcomes are adapted from the standards used by the NCFR. The student learning outcomes for our Early Childhood Education concentration are adapted from the Interstate New Teacher Assessment and Support Consortium (InTASC), a group of state education agencies and national educational organizations dedicated to the preparation, licensing and ongoing professional development of teachers. To view the SLOs, click “download” below.


Below are some of the forms used by our academic advisers to help child development and family relations majors move through the curriculum.