Early Childhood & Family Studies

College of Education

The Early Childhood and Family Studies (ECFS) major provides the opportunity to study early childhood development, early learning, and family studies from a variety of perspectives across a range of disciplines. The degree will prepare you for careers in early learning, childcare, policy, parent and family support and education, and social/mental health services. It is also a pathway to graduate studies in education, child and family studies, and other areas.
The ECFS major offers the Teaching and Learning pathway for students who wish to pursue a teaching position in preschools and other childhood settings or for those who plan to apply to a master’s in teaching or other teacher certification programs.

Major category: Capacity-constrained

Curricular options: Teaching & Learning

Topic: Social sciences

Applicant type


Freshmen can apply to the UW to begin autumn quarter or winter quarter (U.S. applicants only)

Read more about applying to the UW as a freshman, including details for programs that provide high school students with college credit (like Running Start).


Quarters of general admission to UW: autumn / winter (U.S. applicants only) / spring

Preparation for the major is a factor in transfer admission.

  • Use the information below to help you prepare for this degree
  • Visit MyPlan to run a degree audit.
  • Use the UW Equivalency Guide to find out how courses taken at a Washington state community or technical college will transfer to the UW.
  • UW college and school graduation requirements

Department admission information

  • Departmental application deadline: April 15 for AUT; Consult department for WIN
  • Please contact the department for details about the application process.
This major is capacity-constrained. Completion of prerequisites does not guarantee admission.

Admission is based on the following criteria:

  1. ECFS 200 SSc with a 2.0 minimum grade
  2. English Composition with a 2.0 minimum grade
  3. GPA minimum for UW coursework: 2.50 cumulative. For transfer students, GPA minimum for community college coursework: 2.50 cumulative
  4. Admission essay: Applicants will submit their responses to the following admission essay prompts. Each response must be 250 words or less. All materials submitted must be
    written and edited by the applicant, only.

    • Have you experienced, witnessed, or learned about injustices in your educational journey? Please describe. How will the ECFS major help you understand these injustices? Required for all applicants.
    • The ECFS major focuses on the educational experiences of children from birth to age 8 and their families. Why are you interest in working with this specific community? Required for all applicants.
    • The ECFS major helps to empower students and graduates to make positive changes in educational and community settings. What are some of the positive changes you would like to work towards in these settings? Required for all applicants.
    • Low-scholarship exceptions: Applicants who do not meet the minimum GPA requirements listed in Admission Criteria will submit a short, written explanation for grades or GPA below the minimum. Applicants should also include any steps taken to sustain higher levels of academic performance. Applicants who do not meet these minimums are encouraged to still apply. This question is only required for applicants who have not met the GPA minimum requirements.

Information sessions are offered to learn more about the major and how to apply. See schedule at ECFS Admissions. For further information, see: Early Childhood & Family Studies .

Applications are due October 15 for winter quarter start and April 15 for autumn quarter start.

For an online-only track, see the Early Care & Education website.

Read more about applying to the UW as a transfer student.

Courses required for the major:

  • ECFS 200 SSc – Intro to Early Childhood and Family Studies
  • English Composition


  • Prior to admission, students should be working towards completion of the Arts and Sciences General Education Requirements, to include English composition and additional writing, Quantitative and Symbolic Reasoning, foreign language, and Areas of Knowledge.
  • For more specific information, please visit the College of Education website.

Entering transfer information:

Total undergraduates: 138
Total from Washington community colleges: 17

Entering transfer GPA (from WA community colleges):

3.75 – 4.00: 5
3.50 – 3.74: 4
3.25 – 3.49: 2
3.00 – 3.24: 1
2.75 – 2.99: 1
2.50 – 2.74: 4
2.49 and below: 0

Career outcomes