Earn your master's in Child Life in 18-24 months for less than $16,000. The MS in Child Life is designed for students seeking certification as a child life specialist to work in healthcare or a community setting.
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.
- Degree completion in as little as 4 semesters or 37 credit hours*
- 100% online
- Professional Option (No thesis required)
- Knowledgeable and supportive faculty with expertise in child development, child life and developmental psychology
- Two full-time faculty members are Certified Child Life Specialists
- Endorsed by the Association of Child Life Professionals
*Individual requirements may vary
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
- 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 to the M.S. in Child Life
- 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.
How to Apply
- Letter of Intent/Essay (1000 words) that includes the following:
- 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).
- Essay component with the following content:
- 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.
- Curriculum Vita/Resume highlighting relevant education, experience, and employment.
- A letter of recommendation from a relevant, professional source, written on company letterhead. (Please ask the person writing the letter to include your full name and program you are applying for, and have them send the letters directly to the HDFSC department.)
For more information
Elizabeth McCarroll, PhD, CCLS
Professor, Child Life Program Coordinator
Page last updated 1:30 PM, January 15, 2021