What is this major?

The Early Childhood and Family Studies major is designed to give students the opportunity to study the fields of early childhood development, early learning, and family studies from a variety of perspectives. Students will take course work that is specifically developed for the major, as well as take courses from other departments across the University. Students may enter the major during their sophomore year, and may begin participating in field work and/or research each quarter during their Junior and Senior years.

This major leads to a Bachelor of Arts degree.

How do I apply?

Prepare a packet that includes: 

1) an ECFS  cover page,

2) a 2-3 page personal statement of your interest in the major (including a brief description of your experiences with young children and families),  and

3) your unofficial transcripts from each institution you have attended, showing a minimum GPA of 2.5.

Turn in your packet to the Office of Student Services either by email (ecfsinfo@u.washington.edu), via the Apply Now button link on our Admissions page (http://education.washington.edu/degrees/undergrad/ecfs/admissions.html), or in person at the Office of Undergraduate Education in 210 Miller Hall, College of Education, University of Washington.  Applications are due April 15 for the Autumn quarter enrollment. Only students admitted to the UW are eligible for admission to the major. If you are not yet an admitted student, your admission to the major is contingent on your successful admission to the UW. 

When should I apply?

Students will generally apply during their freshman or sophomore year for enrollment in the major beginning in their sophomore or junior year. Students are encouraged to meet with an ECFS advisor prior to applying. The advisor will assist in making course selections that meet both General Education and ECFS requirements. Information sessions are Thursdays at 12:30pm in 210 Miller Hall. Other information sessions are offered on Tuesdays at 9am and Fridays at 9am. 

Are there any prerequisites?

Currently the status of prerequisite requirements is under review, and they are not a prerequisite for admission at this time.

What do I do if I plan to transfer to the UW?

Plan to attend a Transfer Thursday to find out about transferring to the UW. You must be admitted to the UW in order to be enrolled in the ECFS major. You can apply to UW and then apply to the ECFS major – there are two applications, because ECFS is considered a competitive major. 

Transfer Thursdays are held in the UW Gateway Center:

171 Mary Gates Hall

What courses are required for completion of the major?

There are 84 course credits of major requirements. Students are advised that some required courses are offered only once per year. See the ECFS course list. Courses are meant to build upon each other.

Courses are grouped into 4 categories as follows:

  • Early Childhood and Family Studies courses – 23 credits
  • General Development courses – 23 credits
  • Service Learning and Research experience – 18 credits
  • Electives – 20 credits

How do I find an advisor?

Once you are enrolled in the ECFS major, your advisor will be assigned to you. Prior to enrolling in the major, you may obtain advisement in the Gateway Center.
For general information about the major, contact the Office of Undergraduate Education – 206-221-3527 or email ecfsinfo@uw.edu.  You can also access the ECFS adviser appointment calendar to schedule an informational meeting here at Appointments

How will I know what courses to take?

The suggested program of study is posted on the ECFS web site. You can also use the ECFS checklist of program requirements. Work with the ECFS Advisor to ensure that all requirements are met.

What courses can be used as electives?

The current list of electives is available from the ECFS Advisor. A minimum of one course in each of the following areas is required: Theoretical Foundations, Methodology, and Social Policy & Organization. If a course is not listed, please see the ECFS Advisor to determine if it will meet the requirement.
See list of all ECFS program electives»

Is there a field work (service learning, practicum) requirement?

Yes. Students are expected to participate in supervised service learning field work each quarter of their junior and senior years in the program. If a student joins the ECFS major during their sophomore year, they will not participate in service learning.  They will be able to take General Development courses within the major and are expected to complete any outstanding prerequisites or foreign language requirements.  During the junior year the service learning will be in early childhood or family support programs. During the senior year, students may work in early childhood or family support programs or assist with applied research projects.

How do I arrange for my field work/service learning?

The Early Childhood and Family Studies major works with the assistance of the Carlson Leadership and Public Service Center to help students in locating field work placements, contacting the location, and creating a schedule. Service learning placements will be assigned by the third week of each quarter. Students will be expected to be at their field work placements 3-5 hours per week.

What sorts of field work/service learning placements are available?

Many students will complete their field work requirement by participating in UW Jumpstart. UW Jumpstart Corps members work in Head Start programs in the greater Seattle area.

Other field work placements may include child care centers, ECEAP classrooms, preschools, and parent education and support programs.

Is the seminar required?

Yes. The seminar meets once a week for 2 hours each week. This is the principal opportunity for students to discuss concerns and issues that will arise as students apply theory and research to "real world" situations. Guest speakers will also participate in the seminar.

What jobs are available for people who graduate with this major?

A bachelor's degree with a major in ECFS prepares students for positions in social service agencies/mental health, early learning programs, child care centers, parent and family support programs and research. 

Will I be able to get into graduate school with this major?

An ECFS undergraduate major may also serve as a pathway for students interested in graduate studies in education, speech and hearing sciences, occupational therapy, special education, nutrition, psychology, social work and other related fields. Students who plan to go to graduate school should obtain graduate school admissions requirements relevant to their proposed field of study. They will work with the Program Advisor to select courses and experiences that will prepare them for graduate school.

Will I be a certified teacher when I complete this major?

No. You will not complete student teaching or other requirements for certification as a teacher. At the present time, most early learning programs (including Head Start and ECEAP) do not require certification. Students interested in teacher certification should work with the Program Advisor to meet entrance requirements for post-bachelors teacher preparation program including the program at the UW.


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