Child Development, B.A.

Child Development, B.A.


Are you fascinated by human development and relationships? Do you want to help children reach their full potential? If you have college credits but not a bachelor’s degree, PLNU’s child development degree completion program is designed for you. We’ll partner with you, and together help make a meaningful difference for families of all types, including yours.

Completing your bachelor’s degree in child development at PLNU will give you a strong understanding of typical and atypical development and how to help meet the needs of children and families. You will become the best possible champion for children because you will understand the complex family and social systems that surround them. PLNU offers a convenient format tailored to accommodate your work and life commitments — so you can earn your child development degree in as few as 15 months.

"With this degree, you will be uniquely prepared to meet the needs of children, adolescents, and families. You will be equipped with practical application skills to address needs in a wide variety of professional settings." 

Susan Decristofaro Rogers, M.A. 
Co-Chair, Department of Sociology, Social Work, and Family Sciences

Prepare for Your Dream Job

By covering the full cycle of development from birth through adolescence, PLNU’s degree completion program offers you career flexibility and a deep understanding of children and families that isn’t limited to a single age group.

Receive Personal Mentorship and Career Support

Our hybrid learning format has a strong face-to-face component through which you will be known and cared about. PLNU has a reputation for being a place where lasting relationships form among faculty and students.

Grow as a Whole Person

You want to help children develop and attain their full potential. As a Christian university, PLNU wants the same for you. We’ll help you pursue a meaningful career and a balanced life.

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Application Information

Program Start Date(s):

  • Fall 2021 – August 30, 2021
  • Spring 2022- January 10th, 2022
  • Fall 2022 - August 29th, 2022

Application Deadline(s):

  • Fall 2021 – August 2, 2021
  • Spring 2022 - December 20, 2021
  • Fall 2022 - August 8, 2022

Start Application

The Selection Process

We understand your application is not only a reflection of you as a student; it reflects you as a person. That’s why we are committed to reviewing it thoroughly and giving it the individual care and attention it deserves. We believe you have more to offer than just a GPA, which is why there is no numeric formula that determines admittance. Rather, we holistically evaluate your academic history, work and life experience, background, and circumstances to determine admittance into the program. We strongly encourage you to apply, even if you’re unsure of your qualifications.

To be admitted into PLNU's degree completion program, you must have completed at least 40 semester hours with a cumulative GPA of at least 2.25 from an accredited institution, as evidenced by an official transcript sent directly from each college or university attended.*

Application Checklist

Note: The application is completed entirely online with the exception of transcripts, which can be submitted electronically or directly to PLNU, and test scores, which should be submitted electronically.

  1. Submit online application for admission.
  2. Submit official transcripts from each institution attended.

    Official transcripts must be sent to:
    Point Loma Nazarene University
    Office of Graduate Admissions
    3900 Lomaland Dr.
    San Diego, CA 92106

    Official electronic transcripts must be emailed to:

Start Application

Note: All students are expected to have some proficiency with computer technology (email, Internet, word processing, etc.).

This program is approved by the Community Care Licensing Division of California, which means the program meets the requirements for graduates preparing for a child care license in the state of California. However, because a license in California is earned by more than meeting the educational requirements, successful completion of this program by itself does not fulfill all of the requirements to become a licensed child care professional.

Please note: The Department of Sociology, Social Work, and Family Sciences will notify students when changes in requirements occur. Outside California, PLNU cannot confirm whether its program meets credentialing requirements in your state of residence. Upon completion of the program, and should you earn a license, Point Loma Nazarene University does not guarantee that the program requirements for licensure in the state of California will transfer to another state where you may want to be employed. Additionally, if you currently reside or plan to reside outside California, PLNU cannot confirm whether its program meets licensure requirements in your current or intended state of residence.

*Prospective students who meet the other criteria but do not have the required semester hours for entrance or are lacking in the core requirements will be advised on how to correct any deficiency. An enrollment counselor will assist these students with the development of a written pre-admission educational plan, which may include bridge courses taken at PLNU. Only courses from an accredited institution where at least a grade of a “C” has been earned will be accepted by transfer. Prospective students who do not meet the minimum GPA requirement can be considered for admission under exception. Contact your enrollment counselor for details.

**General Education deficiencies may be completed after admittance, but at least 20 hours must be completed prior to starting the program cohort. Three hours of appropriate prior learning credit may be used to meet one of the General Education areas — with the exception of English composition and math.

***The PLNU General Education Learning Outcomes (GELOs) will be addressed and measured within the PLNU degree program to ensure the outcomes we value are demonstrated.

Career Opportunities

With a Bachelor of Arts in Child Development from PLNU, you will be prepared for meaningful work.

Options for serving children and adolescents include:

  • Preschool teacher or director at a public, private, or charter school

  • Child life specialist

  • Head Start teacher

  • First Five specialist or care coordinator

  • Early intervention specialist

  • Behavioral therapist

  • Children's or youth ministry leader

  • Parent educator

  • Foster care provider

  • Social service worker for children and adolescents

You will also be prepared for graduate level study to be a family and marriage counselor, speech pathologist, child life specialist, educational specialist, social worker, early interventionist, and more.


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Financial Aid and Student Support

We take seriously the role of providing you with financial, academic, and career support so you have the tools you need to be successful at PLNU and beyond. That’s why we offer a holistic support system that focuses on your unique experiences, particular needs, and personal and professional goals — resulting from our deep concern for you, our student.

With a focus on authentic relationships and personalized attention, our goal is to help transform you so you can follow your calling in your own career and life.

Financial Aid and Student Support

Frequently Asked Questions

What is required to be admitted into this program?

To be admitted into PLNU's Child Development program, you must have completed at least 40 semester hours with a cumulative GPA of at least 2.75 from an accredited institution.

Required Courses

  • College Composition - Minimum of one (1) course and three (3) units
  • Nutrition - Minimum of three (3) units

Can I work while completing the program?

Yes! Our degree completion programs are designed for adult learners who often work full time or have other daily engagements preventing them from being a traditional student. On top of that, you will have fieldwork requirements that may be completed at your place of work if you choose to do so.

What scholarship and financial aid opportunities are available to me?

You will have the option to apply for a number of scholarships through Student Financial Services. This program qualifies for state and federal financial aid options. Contact your enrollment counselor for more information.

Do you accept transfer credits into your program?

Yes! Because this is a degree completion program, it is designed to give you the last 36 units that you need to complete the requirement of 120 units to receive a B.A. This means that you will need to transfer in 84 units in order to graduate. You do not need to have completed all 84 units prior to entering our program. If you send your admissions counselor your unofficial transcripts from all previous academic institutions, we can determine how many of your units transfer and how many more you might need to take.

How long do I have to complete program?

The expected completion time is as few as 15 months.

How many days a week do classes meet?

Your courses will meet one night a week from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. The night on which you begin your class will be consistent through the entirety of the program.

How large will the classes be?

Class sizes are estimated to be 20 to 25 people.

Are international students eligible to apply?

Students seeking to receive credit at the university from an institution outside the U.S. are required to have their foreign transcript evaluated by a service accredited by the National Association of Credential Evaluation Services (NACES). A detailed course-by-course report is required. Official foreign transcripts are submitted to the service of choice and the evaluations subsequently submitted directly to the Office of Records. Please contact Financial Aid and Student Support Services for more information.

What’s the difference between this degree completion program and a traditional undergraduate program?

This program is designed for students who’ve already completed some four-year or community college coursework and are looking to continue their education and earn a bachelor’s degree. The program provides greater flexibility and affordability than most traditional undergraduate programs while maintaining high academic quality by integrating evening courses. The program is ideal for students looking to advance in their careers while balancing work and family life.

PLNU is a Christian university, but I am not a Christian. Would I feel out of place in this program?

We welcome and encourage people of all backgrounds as students in our programs. Issues that relate to faith may be discussed in some classes, and engaging in discussion with individuals with alternative points of view will be encouraged as learning opportunities. Students will work within a learning community that is supportive academically, spiritually, and emotionally.

Do I need work experience with children before starting this program?

While it might be helpful to have work experience with children prior to entering our program, it is not a requirement. We welcome a diverse range of prior work experience.

Are there internship hours? Can I complete my internship at my place of work?

Yes. Internships are completed in the third term and require a 40-hour commitment. Internship hours can be completed at current place of employment, but you will need to take on a different role than what your job requires you to do.

How many hours per week will I be at a childcare facility?

Certain projects might require you to attend a childcare facility throughout the semester, but the biggest time commitment will come in the third semester, where students will be required to complete 40 internship hours at a childcare facility.

Can I use this degree to be a teacher?

A Bachelor of Arts in Child Development allows you to be a pre-school teacher. Teaching K-12 in California requires a teaching credential, which the program does not provide. You will need to enter a teaching credential program (which PLNU offers) to earn this.

What are the benefits to a child development degree vs. an education degree?

With a degree in child development you will acquire the insight into the way a child’s mind works. Whereas a degree in education gives a very theoretical approach, a degree in child development will equip you with not only the theoretical background, but also the empathy and compassion so necessary for working with young children.

Course List