Do you want a rewarding career in which you make a difference in the lives of people of all ages and their families? Do you have a passion for volunteering and community service?

The bachelor's degree in family and community services at East Carolina University is designed to provide you a strong foundation in research, theory, and practice in child development and family relations, while allowing you the flexibility to personalize the program to fit your career goals.

Beyond the classroom, students have the opportunity to gain real-life experiences through community-service projects, service-learning, and a capstone internship experience. A bachelor's degree in family and community services provides a solid foundation for an advanced degree in areas like marriage and family therapy, occupational therapy, counseling programs, or child development and family relations.

ECU Advantage

The degree in family and community services can prepare you to work in a variety of public and private agencies and organizations that provide services to children and families such as family life education programs, juvenile services, substance abuse treatment centers, domestic violence programs, youth development programs, adoption agencies, cooperative extension services or programs serving the elderly.

This degree can also prepare you for employment with business and industry in human resources, employee assistance, and consumer service programs. Recent alumni are working in public service agencies, have started their own foundations, and continue to improve the lives of children and families.

What You Will Study

Program Coordinator: Eboni Baugh (336-W Rivers Building; 252-328-5714; baughe@ecu.edu)

Freshmen may declare family and community services as their major. Students must achieve and maintain a cumulative 2.5 GPA to remain in the program. Transfer students must have completed at least 12 s.h. at East Carolina University and a minimum GPA of 2.5 to declare. In addition, students must achieve a minimum grade of C (2.0) in all HDFS courses required for the major. Students earning less than a C (2.0) in a prerequisite major course must repeat the course before the subsequent upper level course may be taken.

Students in family community services may select one of two concentrations: family science or child development. The family science concentration is intended for those interested in work with community agencies that provide a broad array of services to families. The child development concentration is intended for those interested in work with community agencies that provide a variety of services to children. (Note: Students who meet course requirements for the certification in family life education must make application to the National Council on Family Relations. The Department of Human Development and Family Science will verify completion of degree requirements, but meeting other requirements for certification is the responsibility of each student.)

Minimum degree requirement is 120 s.h. of credit as follows:

1. General education requirements including those listed below - 40 s.h.

(For information about courses that carry general education credit see General Education Program.)

  • COMM 2020 - Fundamentals of Speech Communication or
  • COMM 2410 - Public Speaking
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  • PSYC 1000 - Introductory Psychology
2. Core - 28 s.h.
  • HDFS 1103 - Marriage and Family Relations
  • HDFS 2000 - Child Development I: Prenatal Through Early Childhood
  • HDFS 2280 - Introduction to Child, Family, and Community Services
  • HDFS 3002 - Child in the Family
  • HDFS 3560 - Exploring Professions and Practices in Family Science
  • HDFS 4000 - Introduction to Child and Family Research
  • HDFS 4303 - Families and Cultural Diversity
  • HDFS 4366 - Family Life Education
  • HDFS 4380 - Grant Writing, Fundraising, and Leadership Development
  • HDFS 4410 - Professional Seminar
3. Concentrations - 35 s.h.

(Choose one of the following.)

    Family science
    • HDFS 2001 - Child Development II: Middle Childhood Through Young Adulthood
    • HDFS 2400 - Introduction to Gerontology
    • HDFS 3215 - The Family As Consumers
    • HDFS 4006 - Families, Sexuality, and Gender Roles
    • HDFS 4007 - Public Policy and Legal Issues Affecting Families
    • HDFS 4313 - Trends and Issues in Family Studies
    • HDFS 4390 - Family Resource Management
    • HDFS 4991 - Family Science Internship
    • 5 s.h. of advisor-approved CDFR electives
    Child development
    • HDFS 2124 - Interaction Techniques for Working with Young Children
    • HDFS 3150 - Introduction to Early Childhood Intervention
    • HDFS 3306 - Guiding Children's Behavior
    • HDFS 3321 - Infant and Toddler Curriculum
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    • HDFS 4121 - Social Studies, Math, and Science Curriculum in Early Childhood or
    • HDFS 4122 - Language and Literacy Curriculum in Early Childhood
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    • HDFS 4200 - Assessing Development and Learning in the Early Childhood Classroom or
    • HDFS 4201 - Assessment for Intervention
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    • HDFS 4300 - Birth through Kindergarten Curriculum Adaptations for Diverse Learners
    • HDFS 4406 - Parent-Professional Collaboration
    • HDFS 4408 - Administration of Programs for Young Children
    • HDFS 4992 - Child Development Internship
4. Minor or general electives to complete requirements for graduation.
    For more information about this degree visit the university's academic catalogs.

    Careers With This Degree

    Graduates with this degree are successful in many fields and careers, including the following:

    • Family and Community Services
    • Education and Training
    • Family and Community Services

    Career Opportunities

    ECU has developed resources to help you learn more about career opportunities and job market outlook. In addition, the websites below provide specific information on careers in the various majors from which students may choose:

    NC Tower

    This website provides graphs and tables of in-depth information on employment rates, wages and ongoing higher education enrollment of graduates from the North Carolina Community College System and from the University of North Carolina system schools. NC Tower includes data on former UNC students who are working in roughly 90% of all jobs in North Carolina. This database excludes information for graduates who are:

    • Self-employed;
    • Work for the federal government, including the military: or
    • Work outside of North Carolina.

    US Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook

    This website also provides in-depth information regarding pay, projected new jobs, required education, growth rate and on-the-job training information on various occupations.

    Degree-specific internships

    For information on internship information for specific majors, go to the home page of the department in which the major is located and, as available, find the link to the information on internships in that major.