BASc - Child Studies (CSTU)

CSTU Course Requirements
CSTU Overview
Learning Approach and Experiential Learning
Practicums in CSTU
CSTU Articulation Agreement with Nipissing University

Child Studies (CSTU) Course Requirements

CSTU course requirements and course offerings are subject to change each year. Course requirements of your program are found in the Academic Undergraduate Calendar for the year in which you started your program.  Here are the current CSTU course requirements.

Child Studies (CSTU) Overview

The Child Studies major examines the ways children learn, develop, and grow from psychological, physiological, and social perspectives, with families considered as a central context in which children develop. Ways of working with children in diverse and inclusive settings are explored, and the importance of early learning opportunities and early intervention are emphasized. Students gain both theoretical knowledge and applied skills through course work and guaranteed practicum placements, completing over 500 hours of practical experience working with children in a variety of settings. Graduates of the Child Studies major are eligible to apply for membership in the  College of Early Childhood Educators (ECE).

Through the effective use of elective courses and minors, the core requirements in the major can be supplemented to create a program of study that will prepare graduates for a variety of careers working with children and their families. Graduates pursue careers in diverse settings including elementary schools, pediatric wards in hospitals, family and community service agencies, child-care centres, and child and youth treatment facilities. Many students go on to pursue graduate education in fields such as education, social work, speech language pathology, occupational therapy, child life, nursing, psychology, couple and family therapy, sociology, and family studies.

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Learning Approach and Experiential Learning

The academic program in the CSTU major provides a combination of traditional lectures and seminars with the application of theory in practicum courses. These practicum courses enable students to apply the social and biological components of human  development in various family, community and educational settings. Students work directly with children in the University of Guelph Child Care and Learning Centre  during their 3rd year. Also, a lab exercise is conducted at the Child Care and Learning Centre for the FRHD*3180, Observation and Assessment Laboratory course. FRHD*4330 Practicum II: Child and FRHD*4350 Practicum III: Child are taken in 4th in year. This variety of experiences affords students greater opportunity to apply the theory obtained in class to real-world issues.

There are also multiple ways to get research experience as part of your undergraduate studies. For students considering graduate school this may be especially important.

FRHD*3500 Research Internship 
This course will give students a direct, initial experience in conducting research in Family Relations and Human Development. The internship focuses on familiarizing students with the research process and building research skills through active engagement in research under the direct guidance of a faculty member.  Students find a professor to give them an internship and then contact the BASc Undergraduate Program Assistant ( to get registered in the course.

FRHD*4810 Thesis I  
An undergraduate thesis is a good way to see if you like research and to begin to develop research skills. Students plan, develop and write a research proposal under individual faculty supervision. The topic is decided by the student in consultation with the supervisory faculty member before course selection or registration period. In their 5th or 6th semester, students find a professor to supervise them and then contact the BASc Undergraduate Program Assistant ( to get registered in the course.  It is recommended you approach a faculty member well in advance with a copy of your unofficial transcript, your resume, and a summary of your research interests. 

FRHD*4910 Thesis II  
Students conduct and write an undergraduate thesis under the direction of a faculty member. 

The University of Guelph’s CSTU program prepares its graduates well for the competitive field of working with children. Its blend of practical and classroom components is unsurpassed by similar programs. We hope you find this program an enjoyable and rewarding educational experience!

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Practicums in Child Studies (CSTU)

The practicum courses are a unique component of the BASc undergraduate degree.  The Child Studies (CSTU) program has three required third and fourth year practica in the areas of children and families. An important course that prepares students to go into practicum is Principles of Program Design for Children (FRHD*2040) offered in winter of the second year of study. It is within this course that students prepare to be placed in a practicum site that corresponds with their interests and learning objectives. 

In third year, CSTU majors take Practicum I: Child (FRHD*3200) and work together in a team to plan, implement, and evaluate creative activities for young children at the on-campus Child Care and Learning Centre.

In the fourth year of study, students take two practicum courses, Practicum II: Child (FRHD*4330) in the fall and Practicum III: Child (FRHD*4350) in the winter. Students may have two placements in different organizations or opt for a two-semester placement with a single organization in which they can enhance and advance their learning and practice. In fourth year, CSTU majors may:

  • Work as a student teacher in primary and secondary classrooms
  • Assist in planning and implementing a parent group for parents with learning difficulties
  • Implement  activities with individual preschool children with autism
  • Work with at risk children in community drop-in centres
  • Support families from a wide range of ethnic backgrounds in a community prevention program that helps adults and children connect with others in their neighbourhood and link them with the broader community
  • Plan and implement individual sessions with children, under the supervision of a Speech and Language Pathologist, to improve their speech and language skills
  • Work with preschoolers to identify areas of developmental delay and create intervention strategies
  • Work with a Child Life Specialist supporting children and families in a hospital setting.

The practicum experience provides students an opportunity to work alongside professionals and receive ongoing feedback and supervision. It is this experience that enables students to integrate what they learn in the in the classroom with professional practice.  

The BASc Practicum Coordinator connects with students, field instructors and faculty to deliver the practicum component of both undergraduate majors. They meet with students to match student interest and learning objectives with available placements. They meet with field instructors and organization representatives to support and cultivate field placements that meet both student and community needs. They also teach a number of practicum courses and contribute to curriculum development and evaluation. For information about undergraduate practicum contact   519-824-4120 x53970

Students must have the consent of the practicum coordinator or designate to take practicum courses. Once the intention to register for the practicum is confirmed, the Practicum Coordinator matches students with the available placement. In order to take the practicum course, students must get a course waiver signed to register for the course and submit all required documentation for their particular placements (including, but not limited to, police check with vulnerable sector query, immunization records, etc.). The practicum coordinator communicates about these requirements with students in the summer prior to the fall and winter placements. Sometimes students decide to study part time or take courses out of sequence. It is essential that students who do so be in touch with the practicum coordinator.  

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Child Studies (CSTU) Articulation Agreement with Nipissing University

An articulation agreement between Guelph and Nipissing University (Faculty of Education) guarantees a number of places in the Primary, Junior Division of Nipissing's B.Ed. Program for qualified Child Studies graduates. Placement is on a competitive basis. Further details are available from the Faculty of Education at Nipissing University.

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