The Bachelor of Arts in Child and Adolescent Development (CAD) is for students interested in studying and working with issues related to children, adolescents, and their families. The Department of Child and Adolescent Development is affiliated with the Marian Wright Edelman Institute for the Study of Children, Youth, and Families. The Edelman Institute’s mission is to further educational excellence through its association with the interdisciplinary child and adolescent development curriculum; promote collaboration among faculty; create public outreach, social advocacy, and other partnerships between SF State and the community; and to foster research and scholarly work in the area of children, youth, and families.

The CAD major is designed to provide students with a broad range of knowledge about child and adolescent development and how to apply this knowledge to services for children, youth, and families, as well as to the research and public policy arena. Core courses introduce the student to child and adolescent development theory and its applications. Students in the program will choose one of four specialized concentrations: 1) early childhood; 2) school-age; 3) youth work and out of school time; and 4) policy, advocacy, and systems. The major is designed to meet the education and career needs of students with a variety of interests. Those who wish to complete a bachelor's degree as well as a Child Development Permit for work as a licensed child care provider will choose the early childhood concentration. Students who wish to teach in elementary schools will choose the school age concentration, which will provide not only subject matter knowledge but a developmental foundation. Others who wish to prepare for work in out of school time programs such as after-school programs, probation, recreation, residential treatment facilities for school-age children/youth and their families, or other community-based programs for children and youth will choose specialized study in the youth work and out of school time concentration. Finally, students preparing for work in research or policy fields related to children, youth, and families, or who desire a foundation in child and adolescent development as preparation for advanced study in disciplines such as law, medicine, psychology, social work, recreation, counseling, or physical therapy, will select the policy, advocacy, and systems concentration.


CAD Mission Statement

The Department of Child and Adolescent Development (CAD) prepares students to be competent professionals in their work with children, youth and families. CAD values teaching and experiential learning that incorporates diversity of background and experiences, current and relevant research, and high quality instruction.

To this end, students are prepared to:

  • Apply theory and knowledge in varied contexts
  • Understand the issues underlying equity and social justice and respect their complex impact on the lives of children, youth, and families in our society
  • Use guiding theoretical frameworks to understand children, youth and families