Our vision is to be nationally and internationally recognized for utilizing interdisciplinary approaches to understand and enhance the well-being of children, youth and families in diverse contexts. We collectively aspire to teaching, research and practice that are socially and scientifically significant. We strive to implement initiatives that foster community engagement, build strengths, and reflect our commitment to inclusivity.
The mission of the Department of Child and Family Studies is three-fold: to (1) conduct research in (or relevant to) contexts such as the home, school, and communities for the purpose of generating new knowledge and informed practices related to the well-being of children, youth, and families, particularly those who are the most vulnerable and at-risk for falling short of optimal outcomes; (2) educate and train well informed undergraduate, masters, and doctoral level students who are well prepared to study and/or serve predominantly at-risk children, youth, and families in the state, region, nation, and international communities; and (3) provide outreach and/or consulting services to families, government and private agencies, NGOs, professional organizations, and industries in areas that relate to Child and Family Studies.
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 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.
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.