Why study Child Development at MC?

The Major in Child Development & Learning is an option for those students who are interested in working with children and adolescents outside the teaching profession. Students in the Child Development and Learning major build a strong foundation in the theory and practice of child development, from conception through adolescence. Various hands-on opportunities are embedded throughout the curriculum for students to provide direct service to children, engage in developmental research, and advance child welfare initiatives and policy. Factors such as economics, family, education, and culture are explored to understand the ecological contexts in which children develop. Close to the Great Smoky Mountain National Park, the college is uniquely situated for students to also explore the influence of nature on children’s development. 

Other special areas of interest for Child Development students include children with special needs, child advocacy, and international child welfare. Child Development majors often go on to graduate studies or professions within education, social services, special education, or child/family intervention and prevention. Students interested in teaching in elementary grades pursue the Child Development and Learning for Teacher Licensure major.

Teacher Licensure

Students in the Child Development & Learning for Teacher Licensure Major are prepared to become highly qualified teachers in elementary education (grades K-5), following collaborative, supportive, and stimulating learning experiences and successful completion of the Praxis exam required by the State of Tennessee. This major draws upon the strengths of the broad study of the liberal arts, specialized courses in psychology and education, and the professional application of skills through a semester-long student teaching experience. Child Development with Licensure majors develop a strong understanding of child development, the learning process, and the skills to design, implement, and assess instruction appropriate for diverse student populations.

Grounded in a commitment to personal and professional growth, students gain skills to solve the many theoretical, practical, and ethical problems associated with what to teach and how to teach, as well as the ability to effectively integrate technology into the instructional process. Various screening criteria, including a minimum GPA, are required for admission to and completion of this major.

Students interested in middle or high school education (grades 6-12) should pursue a major in the subject area in which they plan to teach. A major in Teaching English as a Second Language is another teacher licensure option. 


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Maryville College Works is a comprehensive career preparation program that is integrated into the College’s four-year liberal arts curriculum. Key components include assessment, advising, networking and professional experiences.

External relationships

Birth to Three
Boys and Girls Club
Cherokee Health Systems, University of Tennessee, and Autism Site Knoxville for the Autism Training Initiative
New Hope: Blount County Child Advocacy Center

Meet a current student

Julia Gasper ’17
Hometown: Winter Park, Fla.

At Maryville, Julia has had the opportunity to work with children in need and has realized she possesses a passion for helping this population. After graduation, she plans to earn a master’s degree in Social Work. “Working on my Senior Thesis has given me not only research experience but the opportunity to work directly with the Anderson County School System, where I’m collecting data on why children are not attending school,” she said. “This experience will allow me to excel once I’ve entered into a graduate program.”

Outcomes of Recent Grads

Featured Graduate

Allie Haskew ’16
Currently: Enrolled in the Human Development Counseling program (Clinical Mental Health Counseling track) at Vanderbilt University’s Peabody College

Allie is exploring the possibility of becoming a schoolbased counselor, which would combine two areas that she’s passionate about: school and clinical psychology. “Maryville College provided me with numerous opportunities for internships and practical experiences to help me narrow down the population I wanted to work with and the context in which I wanted to work,” she said. “The professors helped me hone my love for helping and encouraged me in the graduate school process. ”

Graduate School Placements

Arkansas State University
Auburn University
Carson-Newman University
Mercer University
Tennessee Technological University
Tusculum College
University of Illinois, Springfield
University of Tennessee-Knoxville
Vanderbilt University