Child and Family Studies

College of Education, Health & Human Sciences

Academic Programs: Find information about our undergraduate tracks, three Master’s options, and doctoral degree in Child and Family Studies.
Prospective Students: Apply to our graduate programs!
Community Outreach and Engagement: See what students are involved in within the surrounding Knoxville community.
From Local to Global: Explore our national and international research endeavors.
News: View current events, honors, and awards in Child and Family Studies.
People: Read faculty, staff, and graduate student biographies.

Our Mission

Our mission is to foster and disseminate scientific understanding of children, youth, families, and the early education process. This mission has two fundamental areas of emphasis. The first of these—development in context—recognizes that development occurs in multiple, interconnected settings, such as the family, neighborhood, school, community, culture, and the international environment. The second area of emphasis—children and families at risk—reflects a commitment to generating new knowledge and informed practices that will improve the lives of those in greatest need.


Welcome to the Department of Child and Family Studies at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. Our department prepares students for careers in both public and private domains that focus on children, youth, families, and early learning. A central foundation of our programs is the idea that scientific inquiry provides the most effective means to improve the welfare of children, youth, and families. Much of our curricula and research efforts are structured around focusing on children, youth, and at-risk families.

Our Students

Our students acquire the necessary knowledge, skills, and professional ethics through undergraduate and graduate coursework, internship opportunities, research projects, and outreach activities. Students also receive training on how to conduct scientifically based assessments of prevention, intervention, and educational strategies.

Our Faculty

Child and Family Studies has a very fine faculty composed of talented researchers, teachers, and professionals who provide service to children, youth, and families. Faculty come from varied educational backgrounds, including child development, clinical, educational and developmental psychology, early childhood education, family studies, human development, sociology, and cultural anthropology. This variety of backgrounds reflects the belief that the pursuit and dissemination of knowledge should be interdisciplinary in nature and conducted with sensitivity to issues of personal, economic, cultural, ethnic, racial, religious, and political diversity. Given this, our faculty offer many opportunities to become involved in research and/or outreach on children, youth, and families.

A Note from Mary Jane

Welcome to Child and Family Studies (CFS)! You will learn about the courses we teach, our research programs, the role of our department at the University of Tennessee, and how we provide service to our community, state, children, and families. Links from this website allow you to access information about our undergraduate and graduate programs. Contact us with any questions and please explore our website to become even more acquainted with the Department of Child and Family Studies!

Voices of CFS:

The Department offers three BS tracks, two MS options, and a PhD. View this video to hear from graduate students and alumni regarding their perceptions and experiences of graduate studies in Child and Family Studies.

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