Orphans and Vulnerable Children Cover Image

Orphans and Vulnerable Children

Major/Minor

Meet the Emotional, Physical, and Spiritual Needs of Vulnerable Children

Whether you are interested in working with refugees, foster children, orphans, or in anti-trafficking efforts, Taylor University’s Orphans & Vulnerable Children major (OVC) will equip you in best practices designed to serve vulnerable children both locally and globally by meeting their emotional, physical, and spiritual needs.

The OVC major incorporates classes from Public Health, Missions, Education, Social Work, Psychology, and Anthropology. You will also take unique courses that will provide an overview of the current struggles vulnerable children worldwide face regularly.

Further Reach Than the Classroom

OVC students study trends in orphan/child care and interventions, fundraising, non-profit management, and health—all of which will be complemented by hands-on experience.

Students gain real-world exposure to local and global issues vulnerable children face by participating in two internships—one local or national and one international. By having one global and one domestic practicum, students will receive a multi-angle perspective of orphan care while becoming aware of cultural biases, identifying differences in ethical issues, practicing humility and sensitivity, and building their own character.

Taylor student working playing with a child putting her hand on her face
Specialization in Orphans and Vulnerable Children

With the crossover this field has with multiple academic disciplines, students are encouraged to pair this major with another major and/or minor. For example, students interested in a career in nonprofit management or creative advocacy could add a major in management or marketing to further specialize their skills. Students interested in global work with orphans and vulnerable children could add a minor in TESOL to give them a competitive skill that is in high demand worldwide.

OVC majors who do not add another minor or major are required to take 9 additional credits in a specific area of study (such as psychology, public health, management, etc.). This will give students the ability to enter the workforce with a specified skill in addition to those acquired in the major.

Three students sitting on a cliffside in Thailand
Thailand Studies Program

The Thailand Studies Program is a semester-long study abroad program that examines the intersection of orphans, vulnerable and exploited children, human trafficking, and human rights issues. This program offers the chance to take the next step to experientially study these issues in Chiang Mai, a city in Northern Thailand.

BreeAnna Bailey Thumbnail
BreeAnna Bailey
Class of 2021
The Orphans and Vulnerable Children major is very versatile and can lead into a variety of career paths after college. I chose OVC because I desire to empower vulnerable people and embody the physical actions of Christ loving His people.

What kind of person is this major for?

This major is for someone who is passionate about vulnerable children and wants to explore his or her calling as it relates to the needs of children. These students should be searching for the route to best equip themselves to improve the human condition, motivated by social justice, equity, and sustainability and constantly evolving in their careers as they research, learn, teach, and grow.

Who are “vulnerable children”?

In the international community, the term “vulnerable children” refers to young persons under the age of 18 who are unprotected, unable to receive adequate care, or unable to cope with or recover from a systemic loss of power (economic hardship, lack of stability, social exclusion, etc.). Vulnerability is most often identified in orphans-children who have lost a mother, a father, both parents, or a primary caregiver.

Will we study other vulnerable populations, or just children?

The OVC major directly addresses the needs of vulnerable children, but you will also learn about resilience, trauma, refugee migration, and trafficking—all of which impact broader populations. The technical skills you'll receive will also help you pursue multiple types of humanitarian work, in addition to direct care for children.

What service model does this major use?

The Orphans and Vulnerable Children major applies the Scholar-Practitioner framework. By using this model, we encourage our students to become lifelong learners and change agents in a global landscape. Through our coursework, our students gain a dynamic understanding of their field and have the opportunity to apply their learning to the cause of the vulnerable.

If I’m not a Psychology, Social Work, or Sociology major, how will I get a job?

When students study these individual disciplines, they often gain surface-level knowledge of a large academic field. Orphans & Vulnerable Children majors narrow in on at-risk children. OVC students also will acquire a robust, interdisciplinary understanding of the work behind intervening in the lives of vulnerable children, whether the students’ interests lie in community development, missions, non-profit work, etc. Our students will gain the skills that specifically matter in these fields.

Because of the professional connections linked to the OVC program, our faculty will bring professionals into class, help students network, recommend students for internships, and assist students in shaping their resumes.

Orphans and Vulnerable Children Curriculum & Degree Options

Students interested in course descriptions and academic policies can check out our Undergraduate Catalog here.

Foundational Core

The Foundational Core is the key to Taylor’s total education. These classes will give you a big-picture view of how your calling connects with God's purpose for your life, engaging with ideas that will demonstrate how God has given you certain talents and skills to bring healing to the world. Each student who completes the Foundational Core emerges as a well-versed individual, equipped with critical thinking skills, a lifelong love of learning, and an appreciation for God's creation.

View Foundational Core Curriculum.

A pair of students studying in the Euler Atrium
A student helping a child use a marker for a craft project

A Robust, Varied Skill Set

The OVC curriculum is designed to help students acquire a strong and goal-oriented skill set, an interdisciplinary understanding, and practical steps for serving vulnerable children.

In two specialized monitoring and evaluation classes, you will consult with local and global organizations, join in the data collecting and analysis process, and discover data-informed techniques that will help you best assess the quality of care intervention.

Our students also receive technical training in grant writing, policy development, and intervention. They explore topics such as family systems, intercultural awareness, disaster relief, and the impact of violence and trauma on children. This range of knowledge will equip our graduates to serve non-profit, missions, non-governmental (NGO), or governmental work as they feel called.

Together, these OVC classes will help you become aware of culture and power differences through theological and ethical views of vulnerability, and attain technical skills such as competence in care, research, and policy.

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