Child and Adolescent Development, B.A.

Program Overview

Do you love children? Are you fascinated by human development and relationships? If you've always wanted to work with children or on their behalf, consider a degree in child and adolescent development.

During your journey to earn a Bachelor of Arts in Child and Adolescent Development at PLNU, you will explore the ways children grow and form relationships on a physical, emotional, social, and intellectual scale. This program will prepare you to serve children, adolescents, and families in numerous vocations, such as education, counseling, ministry, social work, child care administration, and child advocacy in hospitals. You will come away with a strong understanding of family systems and child intervention programs, as well as typical and atypical biological, cognitive, and psychosocial development. You will also be coached and scaffolded by passionate professors who care deeply about the success of their students.

“I’ve benefited from discovering my gifts, strengths, and talents. There is a real servant mentality here, and I have relationships with people who honestly care about me as a whole person.” 

Courtney Busick, Class of 2016
Child and Adolescent Development, B.A.

Each major program within the Department of Family and Consumer Sciences strategically combines theory with practical application centered around professional preparedness. Your studies will introduce you to the concept of vocation and living out your calling through the integration and refinement of your passions and talents to meet the needs of others. You’ll work on developing an innovative professional portfolio and personal code of ethics, and articulating what you believe and how you want to serve. Other specialized learning opportunities include networking events, internships, practicums, and fieldwork in diverse settings. This combination of professional development and practical, experiential learning will equip you to confidently step into the changing world of tomorrow.

Student Profile

Andie Sherman holds a children's book that talks about human anatomy.

Andie Sherman

Pediatric doctors and nurses treat children and adolescents when they are in the hospital, but as a Child Life Specialist, Andie Sherman helps patients and families in the hematology and oncology unit at Rady Children’s Hospital cope with the physical and emotional challenges that come with a medical diagnosis. Read more


Child and adolescent development majors are involved with an interactive laboratory experience at the Early Childhood Learning Center (ECLC) on campus that starts freshman year and continues through senior year. This classroom within a classroom provides you with practical skills as you interact with preschool children and learn from master’s level teachers about human growth and development. Through the ECLC, you will be able to participate in observations and demonstrations, and integrate what you are learning in class with real-life situations.

The Department of Family and Consumer Sciences also has opportunities to engage your passions outside the classroom. You can choose to participate in Phi Upsilon Omicron, and enhance your leadership skills through service events. Or you can sign up as a "buddy" for the Special Olympics and cheer on athletes in their quest for a medal.

Course List

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Department Faculty

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Are you ready to take the next step to begin your PLNU journey? Whether you’re a high school senior, college transfer student, or international student, find out what we’re looking for in our applicants and how you can apply.

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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.

Student Support

For most students, the transition into college life is one full of adjustments. There is the excitement of newfound freedoms, but also some uncertainty as you begin to make choices and take responsibility for your own future. 

At PLNU, we’re committed to supporting you — academically, professionally, spiritually, personally — so that you may be successful both in your time as a student 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.

Student Support

"I am so grateful for the education and guidance I received through the child and adolescent development major. I am currently nearing the end of my first trimester in OT school and have been amazed by how prepared I have been compared to my peers. The education I received through the department prepared me far more than I could have ever imagined."

Caitlin Brandt, Class of 2015
Child and Adolescent Development, B.A.

Career Opportunities

PLNU child and adolescent graduates are trained to develop a multicultural perspective, embrace the importance of serving others in diverse environments, and hone their skills to meet the demands of life in an ever-changing society. Alumni are sought after for their knowledge of the intangible aspects of their discipline that allow them to confidently evaluate, identify, and describe the relationships between individuals, families, communities, and the environments in which they function.

Student Profile

The oldest greek amphitheater in the western hemisphere during early sunset at Point Loma Nazarene University in San Diego, California

Quinton Reed

Quinton Reed, a Los Angeles native, chose to attend PLNU because he had heard positive things of the university’s child and adolescent development major; he’d been working with kids since he was fifteen years old as a camp counselor and wanted to pursue a career in child development. Read more

A Bachelor of Arts in Child and Adolescent Development can lead to a career as a:

  • Child Life Specialist
  • Early Childhood Teacher
  • Marriage and Family Counselor
  • School Administrator
  • Social Worker
  • Early Childhood Director
  • Child and Youth Minister
  • Childcare Consultant
  • Early Intervention Specialist
  • Occupational Therapist
  • Behavioral Analyst
  • Family Support Specialist