Bachelor of Science in Child Learning and Development

Child development practitioners and researchers focus on providing better ways to foster the intellectual and emotional development of children. The child learning and development major focuses on the fundamental processes of child and adolescent development within the contexts of families, schools, peer groups and larger cultural surroundings.

The degree provides undergraduate students a rigorous science-based curriculum that immerses them in the theories, findings, research methods and best practices that the scientific study of child development has to offer. Opportunities for supervised and independent research, as well as field placements that involve working with children, families, schools and social services, are provided in addition to formal schoolwork.

Careers in Child Learning and Development

A group of three students interact with a child who is using a tablet.

The child learning and development degree prepares students for a wide range of careers in education, psychology, social work, family medicine, public health, family law and public policy.

The major is especially well-suited for students seeking elementary teacher certification. Students who elect to add teacher certification will develop a strong foundation in child development as well as accumulate clinical teaching skills and field experience.

The University’s Career Center is an important resource for students pursuing their careers. Professional career counselors are available to help clarify career goals, provide strategies for mastering job interviews and writing professional cover letters and resumes and help students connect with campus recruiters.

Child Learning and Development at UT Dallas

UT Dallas offers two undergraduate degree plans in child learning and development:

  • The BS in child learning and development requires 120 hours to graduate: 42 hours from the University’s core curriculum, 36 hours of child learning and development courses and 41 hours of electives and a one-hour seminar.
  • The BS in child learning and development with the EC-6 teacher certification requires a minimum of 45 additional hours of coursework that can be completed within the free elective hours.


Junior and senior child learning and development majors with at least a 2.5 GPA are eligible to receive college credit for a volunteer internship in the community.

Fast Track

The Fast-Track program enables undergraduate students to take up to 15 hours of graduate courses that will count toward both a bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree in applied cognition and neuroscience, communication disorders, or human development and early childhood disorders. Students must have at least 90 credit hours and meet the graduate admission requirements to qualify.

The School of Behavioral and Brain Sciences is focused on the intersection of mind, brain and behavior. Through the school’s research-intensive culture, our professors and students work together to unravel mysteries that will improve human lives. They accomplish this by translating the latest research into treatments and sharing this knowledge through community outreach.

Degrees Offered

Bachelor of Science: Child learning and development, cognitive science, neuroscience, psychology, speech-language pathology and audiology

Master of Science: Applied cognition and neuroscience, communication disorders, human development and early childhood disorders, psychological sciences

Doctor of Philosophy: Cognition and neuroscience, communication sciences and disorders, psychological sciences

Doctor of Audiology: Audiology

Research Centers

In addition to the many research opportunities in faculty labs, students also can gain valuable experience through the school’s four affiliated centers committed to research, treatment and outreach.

  • Callier Center for Communication Disorders — The center is a national leader in providing care for children and adults with a wide variety of speech, language and hearing disorders. Faculty members support the center’s clinical services by engaging in research to provide the latest information on causes, treatments and prevention of communication disorders.
  • The Center for BrainHealth — This center has a unique mission: to understand the brain’s ability to restore or protect healthy function, to protect the brain from unnecessary mental decline and to heal the brain through treatments that regenerate function. To accomplish its mission, the Center for BrainHealth unites cutting-edge technologies in brain science with the intellectual talent of world-class scientists and clinicians, thereby advancing cognitive treatments and brain repair across diseases.
  • The Center for Vital Longevity — This research center is focused on understanding and expanding the capacity of the aging mind. Center researchers use cutting-edge brain imaging technologies and advances in cognitive science to understand how the brain changes from young to old adulthood, the consequences of neural aging for everyday function and what interventions show promise for slowing cognitive aging.
  • The Center for Children and Families — The center’s research, programs and community outreach activities are organized around parenting healthy families, strengthening interpersonal relationships and enhancing thinking and learning.

To learn more about the research centers affiliated with the School of Behavioral and Brain Sciences and to view a complete list of the school’s research labs, visit

Additional Facts about BBS

  • Our audiology and speech-language pathology programs are ranked No. 4 and No. 12 in the nation respectively, according to U.S. News and World Report.
  • The school is home to leading experts in developmental psychology, neuroscience and cognitive science, and communication disorders.
  • In fiscal year 2016, BBS faculty members were responsible for nearly $44 million in research funding.
  • BBS has more than 2,000 undergraduate students and nearly 600 graduate students.