Child Life

Earn your master's in Child Life in 18-24 months for less than $17,0001. The MS in Child Life is designed for students seeking certification as a child life specialist to work in healthcare or a community setting. 

3 students and a young child in a ball pit.

The Child Life program is offered 100% online for those who are seeking a graduate degree and need to meet the necessary academic requirements for certification in Child Life.

For more information about the Child Life profession or the certification process, please visit the Association of Child Life Professional's website.

1 Cost based on full-time, in-state tuition. Out-of-state tuition for full-time, online students is approximately $22,500 (Fall 2023 rates).

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Program Features

*Individual requirements may vary

Program Information

ACLP Endorsed Academic Program

The master’s degree in Child Life covers child growth and development from infancy through adolescence, including cognitive, social, emotional and physical development with an emphasis on how health and hospitalization can impact development in all domains, as well as family dynamics and relationships.

Students explore major theories and empirical research on child development and child life and how it applies to work with children and families in a healthcare or community setting.

Gain marketable skills:

  • Practical application of child development and child life knowledge in work with children and families, particularly in areas where families are experiencing stress or crisis
  • Ability to critically consume research literature and evidence-based practice literature
  • Ability to apply research evidence to professional practice
  • Developmental assessment skills
  • Developmentally appropriate intervention planning
  • Written communication skills
  • Critical thinking skills

Courses offered by semester

Career Opportunities

  • Certified Child Life Specialist*
  • Child and family advocacy
  • Early childhood intervention
  • Community outreach
  • Parent education

*Requires certification through the Association of Child Life Professionals

Admission Requirements

Admission to the M.S. in Child Life

Department Admission Contact:

Anna Stokes, M.S.

Application Deadlines

Rolling admission.
Priority dates:
Fall - July 1     Spring - November 1     Summer - April 1

Admission Requirements

  • Completed bachelor's degree in a relevant field from a U.S. college or university accredited by a regional accrediting agency, or an equivalent degree from a foreign college or university.
  • Minimum 3.0 GPA for the last 60 semester credit hours of coursework.
  • Submit the following documents into the application:
    • Curriculum Vitae/Resume highlighting relevant education, experience, and employment.
    • Email address for an academic or professional reference who can speak to your academic abilities and potential (they will be contacted with a link to upload their letters directly).
    • Letter of Intent/Essay with the following content and format:
      • Introductory paragraph that identifies who you are, which degree program you are seeking, and which degree(s) you have already earned.
      • State your professional and educational experiences and goals (and be sure that your goals align with the program outcomes).
      • Letter of Intent/Essay with the following content and format:
        • In your own words, explain what a child life specialist is, and what a child life specialist does.
        • How did you first become interested in, or aware of, child life as a career option?
        • What steps have you taken to increase your knowledge and awareness of the profession and make yourself a competitive candidate for clinical experiences?
        • Briefly describe the ways in which the work of a child life specialist contributes to the health care experiences of a child and his/her family.
        • Provide a specific example of a time in which you used play to meet the developmental needs of a child.
      • Use professional, formal language, and tone.
      • Use correct grammar, spelling, and syntax.

How to Apply

Begin by finding your program in TWU's Program, Majors & Degrees listings to see if your program has additional admission requirements and application deadlines prior to applying.  (This information is for all programs. The application deadline for your specific program will be listed in the Program Requirements.  Use that deadline as it applies below.  (Example: if a program only admits once a year and has a Fall deadline for 2023 of March 1, you would need to be looking to apply to the next deadline for Fall 2024.)

  1. Apply online.
    Apply to Graduate Programs according to the start semester and application portals below:
    • Spring 2024 - All programs apply via ApplyTexas EXCEPT applicants to the College of Business, Child Life, or Child Development master's programs or the Child Development and Early Education PhD program who should apply via the TWU Online Graduate Application Portal.
      • Note: When applying through ApplyTexas, you will need to submit any required Documents directly to the program website.
    • Summer & Fall 2024 - All graduate programs apply via the TWU Online Graduate Application Portal. Required documents will be asked for and uploaded into the application.

  2. Pay the application fee.
    The $50 fee, ($75 fee for International applicants), which applies to all new and returning applicants can be paid by:
    • Credit card - Online through the portal you applied on (either ApplyTexas or TWU's Online Graduate Application).
    • Certified check or money order by mail or electronically - payable to TWU, sent by mail to:
      TWU Admissions Processing, 301 Research Circle, Room 220; Denton, Texas 76204
      (include your full name and ID number).
    • Cash (no personal checks) - Pay at the Bursar's Office. After paying, bring the receipt to Admissions Processing (2nd floor of GRB).
    • Fee Waivers - Graduate applicants who are certified McNair Scholars are eligible for a McNair Scholar application Fee waiver. Submit the request using the Application Fee Waiver Submission Form.

  3. Submit transcripts to TWU.
    • Domestic Applicants must submit official transcripts for each college or university attended, both undergraduate and graduate. See the Information on Transcripts website for more details.
    • International Applicants are now required to provide an evaluation prepared by a NACES or AICE member evaluation service. International transcripts should not be sent directly to TWU.  See the International Admission website for more details.

For more information on graduate admissions or to contact an admissions official, visit the Graduate Admissions website.

Students who wish to apply for a Graduate Assistantship must meet the General Criteria for Appointment of Graduate Assistants.

Catalog information for the M.S. in Child Life


Jordyn Randall
Graduate Advisor
WH 115  

Elizabeth McCarroll, PhD, CCLS
Professor, Child Life Program Coordinator

Page last updated 10:23 AM, September 6, 2023