MS in Child Life & Family-Centered Care

The MS in Child Life & Family-Centered Care prepares students to work as a part of an interdisciplinary team to support the psychosocial and developmental needs of children of different ages, cultures, and medical conditions, as well as the needs of their families in healthcare settings. The Child Life & Family-Centered Care program is designed to educate students for entry-level positions as child life specialists and to prepare them to sit for the Association of Child Life Professionals certification examination.

Students will:

  • Demonstrate the ability to assess needs of children undergoing medical treatments and provide psychological preparation for stressful events.
  • Implement child life services using evidence-based practice.
  • Create an environment where play is valued.
  • Provide a safe, therapeutic, and healing environment for children and families.
  • Meet all professional competencies defined by the Association of Child Life Professionals.

Requirements: 48 credit hours total

Required Child Life Courses (28 credits)

The following required child life courses meet the child life coursework requirements of the Association of Child Life Professionals certification exam: 

  • SED CL 520 Child Development and Family in Healthcare (4 cr) 
  • SED CL 521 Methods and Materials in Child Life (4 cr)
  • SED CL 522 Clinical Issues in Child Development and Child Life (4 cr)
  • SED CL 620 Child Life Program Development (4 cr)
  • SED CL 523 Clinical Internship and Seminar I (8 cr) (400-hour internship and process seminar)
  • SED CL 621 Clinical Internship and Seminar II (4 cr) (200-hour internship and process seminar)

Additional Required Program Courses (16 credits)  

The following required program courses meet additional course requirements to sit for the Association of Child Life Professionals certification exam: 

  • SED RS 600 Introduction to Research (4 cr) 
  • SED HD 526 The Meaning and Development of Play (4 cr)
  • SED CF 617 Bereavement Care (4 cr)
  • SED CF 737 Working with Parents (4 cr)

Students who have completed undergraduate coursework that is equivalent to SED HD 526, SED CF 617, or SED CF 737 may be exempted from taking these courses as part of their course of studies and instead may substitute any appropriate electives with advisor approval.

Electives (4 credits)

  • SED CF 632 Cross-Cultural Perspectives on Grief or SED ED 505 Racial and Cultural Identities or other multicultural options with advisor consent (4 cr)
  • SED CF 510 Issues in Child and Adolescent Mental Health (4 cr)
  • SED SE 706 Introduction to Special Education (4 cr)
  • SED SE 535 Introduction to Autism (2 cr)
  • SED SE 533 Families with Children with Disabilities (4 cr)
  • SED SE 503 Student with Emotional and Behavioral Disorders (4 cr) or other options, with advisor consent

Internship Information

The Graduate Child Life Program requires two clinical internships, a 400-hour internship (SED CL 523) and a 200-hour internship (SED CL 621). Students completing their 400-hour internship will be working at their internship site approximately 32–35 hours per week. Students completing their 200-hour internship will be working at their internship site (a different site than the 400-hour internship) approximately 16 hours per week. 

The Child Life Internship Coordinator works closely with each student, the child life faculty, and the internship sites. Students are offered two sites to interview with and placements are made based on the availability of internship sites during a given semester, and the appropriate match of the students with the sites. Requests to complete an internship at a particular site cannot be guaranteed. Acceptance into an internship is a decision made by the clinical sites, not by the college, therefore the college cannot guarantee internship placement. Students must be accepted at one of the two interview sites in order to advance in the program as a full-time student. Students who are not accepted for an internship must wait until the following year to interview again.