The bachelor of arts degree in Child & Adolescent Development (CAD) is designed for students interested in studying child and youth development and who wish to apply this knowledge in settings that serve children, youth and their families. The CAD major provides theoretical and practical knowledge about child and youth development from an interdisciplinary and applied perspective. Core courses introduce students to basic and advanced developmental theories and their applications, while the concentrations provide specialized knowledge that builds upon core knowledge and application.

The major is designed to meet the educational and career needs of students with a variety of interests in child and adolescent development. Those who wish to work primarily in teaching and child care with young children (infants, toddlers and preschoolers) and their families in schools and public or private institutions and other agencies will select the Early Childhood concentration. The course work in this degree fulfills requirements for the Child Development Permit issued by the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing. Students who wish to teach in elementary schools or work with school-aged children will choose the School Age Child & Family concentration, which provides both subject matter knowledge and a strong developmental foundation. Others who wish to work in out of school time programs for school age children and youth, such as after-school programs, probation, recreation, residential treatment facilities, will choose the Youth Work & Out of School Time concentration.


The Department of Child & Adolescent Development (CAD) started as an academic program in Fall 1998 and was housed in the College of Behavioral and Social Sciences and within the Marian Wright Edelman Institute. Discussions about developing the major took place on campus in 1995 and 1996, when a task force of faculty from five different colleges was formed to study the feasibility of an undergraduate degree program in Child & Adolescent Development. Because this effort was funded, in part, by the Stuart Foundation’s Interprofessional Education Consortium, the major was designed as an “interdisciplinary, cross-professional degree.” The CSU Chancellor’s Office approved the proposed major in 1998. In 2008, the CAD Department became a stand-alone academic department under the College of Health & Social Sciences.

Mission Statement

The Department of Child & Adolescent Development (CAD) prepares students to be competent professionals in their work as advocates for children, youth and families. Using a social justice lens, CAD values teaching and experiential learning that incorporates diversity of background and experiences, current and relevant research and high quality instruction.

To that end, CAD’s Program Learning Objectives are:

  • To promote and advocate for social justice and be culturally aware, sensitive and responsive in the context of CAD
  • To understand the professional roles and responsibilities in the field of CAD in a variety of work settings
  • To apply developmental, learning and cultural theories used in the context of the field
  • To communicate clearly, respectfully, persuasively, coherently and powerfully in the context of CAD including but not limited to working with children and youth, families and colleagues
  • To write clearly, cohesively, and persuasively in the CAD genre in a variety of formats including but not limited to reports, policy analyses, assessments and proposals
  • To understand research methods, assessment, evaluation, and data collection, analysis and reporting; to conduct action research in the context of CAD
  • To locate and utilize a variety of appropriate and relevant resources and technologies in the context of CAD