Auburn University launches Early Child Development Online Completer Degree

Graham Brooks | Communications Editor

Auburn University’s College of Human Sciences has launched a new fully online completer degree program, and those wishing to apply for the fall semester will need to register prior to the July 15 deadline.

The Early Child Development online completer degree in Human Development and Family Science was established, in part, to help remedy a nationwide teacher shortage, as the field of early childcare and pre-k needs additional qualified teachers.

“There is a shortage of qualified early care and education teachers in the state of Alabama and as our state funded pre-k program continues to add classrooms, we need to address that need,” said Emily Cumbie, an instructor in human development and family science. “The College of Human Sciences’ Department of Human Development and Family Science is partnering with the Alabama Department of Early Childhood Education to help students who have taken some college coursework but want to complete their degree.

“The online and asynchronous nature of the program is designed to support those who are already working in the field, throughout our state and beyond.”

Those attending a community college who have completed the core college courses, or hold an associate degree, but want to continue their education, can receive a bachelor’s degree in Human Development and Family Science with an option in Early Child Development through the completer degree program.

Depending on transfer credits, some students may complete the bachelor’s degree in just five semesters.

Interested students wishing to apply this fall will need to complete an application form, submit an official college transcript, have a minimum GPA of 2.5 or higher and pay a $25 non-refundable application fee, if applicable.

Barbara Cooper, secretary of the Alabama Department of Early Childhood Education, partnered with Auburn’s Department of Human Development and Family Science by providing a professional development grant that was used to help establish the online completer program.

This fully online and asynchronous flexible program will be offered in 7.5-week mini terms, with five terms available each academic year.

Upon completion of required courses, graduates will be qualified to seek an Early Child Development Certificate (pre-k), which meets requirements to teach preschool in the state of Alabama funded pre-k classrooms.

In the past year, Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey and the Alabama Department of Childhood Education added 135 new classrooms for the Alabama First Class Pre-K program, moving closer to Alabama’s goal of serving 70 percent of eligible 4-year-old children.

The degree requires 120 credit hours, of which up to 60 credits can be transferred from other institutions. The Early Child Development curriculum in the Department of Human Development and Family Science prepares students to work directly with children and families and culminates with a 12-credit hour internship placement in the final semester.

For more information on the online completer degree, visit or contact Cumbie at or 334-844-5132.