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).

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 (Spring 2024)

Program Contact

Elizabeth McCarroll

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 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

*All students enrolling for Summer or Fall 2023 will continue with the ApplyTexas application  and will need to submit any required documents for M.S. in Child Life, M.S. in Child Development, and Ph.D. in Child Development and Early Education to .

Effective February 1, 2023: Students applying for Spring 2024 and beyond in the following programs will use the New Graduate Application Portal - M.B.A., M.H.A., M.S. in Child Life, M.S. in Child Development, and Ph.D. in Child Development and Early Education.  Please contact the Office of Admission with any questions at 940-898-3188 or

  1. Review Admissions Requirements for the program for which you are applying.
  2. Review the Admission to the Graduate School information in the Graduate Catalog.
  3. Create an account and apply for admission via the New Graduate Application Portal. In the application process, you will be asked to provide any supplemental documentation identified in the Admissions Requirements referred to above.  
  4. Submit any required official test scores and transcripts.
  5. International students should visit the International Affairs webpage for additional information and requirements.

For more information on graduate admissions or to contact an admissions official, visit

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

For more information

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

Page last updated 2:29 PM, May 5, 2023