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 Professionals.

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

Fall - July 15
Spring - November 15
Summer - April 15

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.

Graduate Admission

Begin by reviewing your program's website to see if there are additional admission requirements and application deadlines prior to applying.  

  1. Apply online.
    Apply to Graduate Programs  via the TWU Online Graduate Application Portal following instructions below.  
  2. 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 Admissions website for more details.
  3. Submit Recommendation Requests
    If your program requires you to submit names for recommendations you will need to do it in the application.
  4. Pay the application fee.
    The $50 fee ($75 fee for International applicants), which applies to all new and returning applicants, can be paid by:
    1. Credit card - Pay Online through the application as the last step before submitting the application. The second portion of the application will not be available until the application fee has been received.
    2. Certified check or money order by mail or electronically - Payable to TWU, sent by mail to:
      TWU Admissions Processing, 304 Administration Drive, Suite 102, Denton, Texas 76204
      (include your full name and ID number).
    3. Cash (no personal checks) - Pay at the Bursar's Office. After paying, bring the receipt to Admissions Processing (down the hall in ACT).
    4. Fee Waivers - Graduate applicants who are certified McNair Scholars are eligible for a McNair Scholar Application Fee Waiver. TWU Alumni may be eligible for the Alumni Advantage Fee Waiver. Check your eligibility here: If eligible submit the request using the Application Fee Waiver Submission
    5. Following fee payment return to the application dashboard where supplemental application documents can be uploaded. The online application will list which documents are needed to fulfill the program admission requirements. You can also check the program's website.

For more information or assistance with the application or graduate admissions, 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


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

Page last updated 3:01 PM, June 18, 2024