About Masters of Science in Child Life

This program is focused on the creating students who are prepared to sit for certification with the Association of Child Life Professionals and practice in the field of Child Life. Through coursework and clinical work under the supervision of a Child Life Specialist, students will be prepared to support the socio-emotional needs of children and families in a healthcare setting. 

The curriculum includes courses in the following areas:

  • Child development
  • Theories in family relationships
  • Research methods
  • The hospitalized child and family
  • Child life interventions
  • Therapeutic benefits of play
  • Hospital internship

Upon graduation, the following learning objectives will be met by each student.

  • Outcome #1: Graduates can verbally and in writing describe the foundational theories of child life.
  • Outcome #2: Graduates are able to provide meaningful, high-quality therapeutic interventions to children and families in a hospital environment.
  • Outcome #3: Graduates will be able to read and apply research specific to their roles.
  • Outcome #4: Graduates will be able to assess when to put their coping plans into practice and will be able to stay mentally healthy in the field
  • Outcome #5: Graduates will effectively communicate (written and oral) with children and adults in multiple contexts including verbal communication with medical professionals, children and families and written communication with professionals through chart notes.

Required Courses for Master's Degree: Child Life

Course Titles and Associated Credits

FALL (9 credits)

HDFS 7010
Child and Adolescent Development in Context (3)
HDFS 7100
Psychosocial Care of Medically and Emotionally Vulnerable Children (3)
HDFS 7130
Child Life Program Development and Evaluation (3)

SPRING (9 credits)

HDFS 7040
Family Processes (3)
HDFS 7110
Play and Therapeutic Interventions in Child Life (3)
HDFS 7140
Death, Dying and Bereavement for Child Life Specialists (3)

SUMMER (4-6 credits)

HDFS 7070
Research Literacy in Human Development and Family Science (3)
HDFS 7850
Child Life Practicum (1-3)

FALL (12 credits)

HDFS 7950
Internship in Child Life (12)


Financial Considerations

What is the cost of tuition?

A tuition calculator can be found here. The MS Child Life program is in the College of Human Sciences.

Do you offer scholarships or other aid?

There are some opportunities through the Graduate School for scholarships and fellowships; information on each opportunity is availalble here . Scholarships and fellowships are forms of financial support that do not require student employment and do not necessarily come with a tuition-waiver.

Given that the Child Life program is a professional master’s degree, students are expected to pay tuition. Assistantships are not typically offered through the program or the Department of Human Development and Family Science. Assistantships are student employment opportunities that include a tuition waiver.