Courses & Curriculum


The curriculum of the Bachelor of Arts in Early Childhood & Family Studies program combines the study of academic theory with practical training in the field. Core and elective courses are enhanced with the latest research from the National Center on Quality Teaching and Learning and the Haring Center, which are both Head Startfunded efforts directed by the UW College of Education.

The ECFS curriculum also includes service-learning courses, where you can apply what you've learned while working alongside early childhood professionals. Students already working in the field can do service learning at their current jobs, while others can connect with program partners to find suitable placements.

Degree Pathways

The ECFS program equips you with the research-based best practices that are key to professional success and advancement in the field of early childhood and family studies. There are two pathways offered within the major, one that incorporates concepts and applications for working in nonprofit and policy settings and one focused on teaching and learning. Both options offer a strong, interdisciplinary foundation that allows you to apply your newly learned skills and knowledge across a variety of fields and career paths.

ECFS students choose one of two program pathways:

Core Pathway

The Core Pathway provides a strong foundation in early childhood topics, with opportunity for students to enroll in additional coursework in their areas of interest. This pathway prepares you to start or advance in a wide variety of career areas, including family and community support, policy and advocacy, social and health services, child protective services, and childrens museum education and outreach, as well as to pursue graduate study in disciplines related to young children and families.

Teaching and Learning Pathway

This pathway includes the same coursework as the Core, with additional courses that are specific to early childhood teaching and learning. As current local and national policy efforts focus on equitable access to high-quality learning programs, the Teaching and Learning Pathway prepares you to enter or advance in early learning professions such as preschool teacher, director or owner of a preschool or childcare center, coach or mentor. In addition, this pathway provides you with a strong base for future graduate study in elementary education, special education, early childhood curriculum or leadership.

ECFS Courses

The list below includes all ECFS online program courses. Each student should consult with the program adviser to create an individualized course of study to complete the degree.

Courses Outside the ECFS Major

In addition to the above required courses, ECFS students may take other designated online classes through the UW, as well as any course available through UW Summer Quarter, to fulfill their graduation requirements. Once you are enrolled in the ECFS program, your academic adviser will give you more information about these specific courses. You will be charged the same per-credit cost for these courses as your ECFS courses.