Child Life Graduate Program

The purpose of the program is to prepare students to become advanced practitioners in Child Life. 

About the Child Life Master's Program

Child Life Specialists help children and families understand and cope with illness, treatment, and hospitalization. They support coping and adjustment through therapeutic play, diagnostic education, and age-appropriate procedural and surgical preparation. Child Life Specialists also help children plan and rehearse coping skills, teach non-pharmacological pain-management techniques, and utilize other expressive avenues such as art, music, and bibliotherapy to support children and their families during times of stress. Child Life Specialists typically work in pediatric hospitals, but other employment settings may include clinics, rehabilitation centers, palliative care, dental offices, and camps for children with chronic health issues.

The program offers students who have completed a Bachelor’s degree in an area outside of Child Life additional study in Child Life, and the opportunity to complete both the required Practicum and Internship experiences they would have not completed during their previous undergraduate work. The program also includes more rigorous study of Child Life theory and application as well as research, program administration, grant writing, and leadership skills. Those advanced areas of study would be very beneficial for Child Life Specialists who would like to pursue management positions within Child Life programs, or rely on grants to fund their programs.

The degree is 100% online. We offer two tracks: one 36 hour BS to MS track for students who have already completed the Child Life practicum and internship, and a traditional 51 hour track for students who have not completed the Child Life practicum and internship. There is a thesis and a non-thesis option.

The Child Life graduate program has adopted a new flat rate tuition amount of $475 per credit hour for up to nine hours and  $100 per credit hour for each additional hour after 9 hours. The flat rate tuition structure eliminates all other fees (except for textbooks) shown on the main tuition webpage, including out of state fees. 
1 course =  $1425
2 courses = $2850
3 courses = $4275
4 courses = $4575
5 courses = $4875
12-credit internship = $4575

Informational Videos

What is Child Life?

Child Life at Southeastern

Graduate Program 


Eligibility Assessment 



Certification Exam


If you have any questions that the information on this page does not answer please contact the Graduate Coordinator Dr. Holly Kihm at

Application Deadlines

Fall: August 1st

Spring: December 15th

Summer: May 15th

Upon evaluation of program application materials, qualified applicants will be invited to participate in an interview. Interviews may be on campus or held via video conferencing.

Admissions Requirements

  • Complete a Bachelor’s degree with a minimum of a 3.25 GPA on the last 60 hours of course work.

  • A personal statement (1500 word limit) including background information about professional/volunteer experiences, professional goals, and future plans.

  • A resume that includes full name, address, phone numbers, e-mail address, academic experiences, prior related work experiences, degrees held, honors, awards, special interests, and other appropriate information.

  • Two confidential letters of recommendation: One from the academic setting and one from the clinical setting. Confidential letters of recommendation must be sealed and signed by the recommender or submitted directly from the email address of the recommender. Students can choose to fill out the Child Life Applicant Reference Form.

  • Completion of all prerequisite courses including:

    • Medical Terminology

    • Lifespan Development

    • Family Development

    • Parenting

    • Research Methods

    • Statistics

    • Completion of at least 100 hours of volunteer or paid work experience with hospitalized children (ages birth to 18 years)

   Degree Requirements

  • Completion of 36 hours of graduate course work with a “B” or higher in each course. Passing score on the comprehensive exam. If thesis option is chosen, a passing score is required.


  • Completion of 36 hours of graduate course work with a “B” or higher in each course. Successful completion of a Child Life Practicum (120 hours) and Child Life Internship (600 hours) under the direct supervision of a Certified Child Life Specialist. Passing score on the comprehensive exam. If thesis option is chosen, a passing score is required.