Why study Child Development at MC?

The Major in Child Development & Learning is an option for those students who are interested in working with children and adolescents outside the teaching profession. Students in the Child Development and Learning major build a strong foundation in the theory and practice of child development, from conception through adolescence. Various hands-on opportunities are embedded throughout the curriculum for students to provide direct service to children, engage in developmental research, and advance child welfare initiatives and policy. Factors such as economics, family, education, and culture are explored to understand the ecological contexts in which children develop. Close to the Great Smoky Mountain National Park, the college is uniquely situated for students to also explore the influence of nature on children’s development. 

Other special areas of interest for Child Development students include children with special needs, child advocacy, and international child welfare. Child Development majors often go on to graduate studies or professions within education, social services, special education, or child/family intervention and prevention. Students interested in teaching in elementary grades pursue the Child Development and Learning for Teacher Licensure major.

Teacher Licensure

Students in the Child Development & Learning for Teacher Licensure Major are prepared to become highly qualified teachers in elementary education (grades K-5), following collaborative, supportive, and stimulating learning experiences and successful completion of the Licensure exam required by the State of Tennessee. This major draws upon the strengths of the broad study of the liberal arts, specialized courses in psychology and education, and the professional application of skills through a semester-long clinical teaching experience. Child Development with Licensure majors develop a strong understanding of child development, the learning process, and the skills to design, implement, and assess instruction appropriate for diverse student populations.

Grounded in a commitment to personal and professional growth, students gain skills to solve the many theoretical, practical, and ethical problems associated with what to teach and how to teach, as well as the ability to effectively integrate technology into the instructional process. Various screening criteria, including a minimum GPA, are required for admission to and completion of this major.

Students interested in middle or high school education (grades 6-12) should pursue a major in the subject area in which they plan to teach. A major in Teaching English as a Second Language is another teacher licensure option. 


Maryville College Works Logo

Maryville College Works is a comprehensive career preparation program that is integrated into the College’s four-year liberal arts curriculum. Key components include assessment, advising, networking and professional experiences.

External relationships

Birth to Three
Boys and Girls Club
Cherokee Health Systems, University of Tennessee, and Autism Site Knoxville for the Autism Training Initiative
New Hope: Blount County Child Advocacy Center

Meet a current student

Taylor Youell '19
Hometown: Chattanooga, Tenn.

Taylor is a double-major in child development and learning and finance/accounting. She is also earning her Non-Profit Leadership Certificate. She said she feels called to help children, especially those who have incarcerated parents, are victims of emotional abuse or are in foster care. “I have seen and been around a lot of these situations, and I have a strong desire to help children see that it can get better and that there are people who care,” she said. “I hope to work with a non-profit organization or similar organization that focuses on the development of these children and helps them realize their potential.”

Outcomes of Recent Gradsclick or touch to open

Featured Graduate


Mackenzie is one of the most decorated female student-athletes in Maryville College’s history. In addition to her All-American and All-Conference recognitions, she was a four-time USA South All-Academic Team honoree and regular on the College’s Dean’s List. Today, she carries those high standards into her own classroom.
“Maryville College helped prepare me for the real world of teaching. Through the strenuous classes and exposure to so many different teaching styles, tools, technology and techniques, I was prepared to face the daily challenges found in the classroom,” she said. “While learning how to teach, I was also reminded of why I teach by the incredible professors who pushed me to be the best I can be.” 


Allie is exploring the possibility of becoming a schoolbased counselor, which would combine two areas that she’s passionate about: school and clinical psychology. “Maryville College provided me with numerous opportunities for internships and practical experiences to help me narrow down the population I wanted to work with and the context in which I wanted to work,” she said. “The professors helped me hone my love for helping and encouraged me in the graduate school process. ”

Graduate School Placements

Arkansas State University
Auburn University
Carson-Newman University
Mercer University
Tennessee Technological University
Tusculum College
University of Illinois, Springfield
University of Tennessee-Knoxville
Vanderbilt University