The Child Life program at Edgewood College is committed to educating and preparing future child life specialists of the highest caliber and quality. According to the Association of Child Life Professionals (ACLP), a Certified Child Life Specialist (CCLS) is a child development expert who works to ensure that life remains as normal as possible for children in health care settings and other challenging environments. Child life specialists provide services in a variety of health care settings, including inpatient units, surgery areas, intensive care units, emergency departments, clinics and outpatient treatment areas. Child life specialists also provide services in other settings such as dental offices, community organizations, special needs camps, and a variety of other areas. To an ever increasing extent, child life specialists are involved in providing grief and bereavement services not only in the hospital-setting, but in hospice programs, home hospice, community organizations, bereavement centers, support groups, and grief groups and camps.
In this five-year program, undergraduate students may take six credits of graduate-level coursework while enrolled in the Studies in Education with a concentration in Child Life program. This will allow students to start the graduate program early. Students will declare their interest in the graduate program after completion of ED 301 in their second or third baccalaureate year. They then will complete an application to the graduate program (submitted to the Director of Child Life prior to their junior year). There are GPA requirements and prerequisites (including 75 hours in a Child Life setting) that must be met, as well as an interview in order for a student to be eligible to be admitted to the five-year program. Should a student choose to stop pursuing the master’s degree while enrolled in the five-year program, the student will still have the option to complete the baccalaureate degree.
See the BA in Studies in Education: Child Life Concentration for the baccalaureate requirements that lead into the 5-year MS in Child Life program.
To be considered for admission, applicants must provide all of the following items. Only completed applications will be reviewed by the School of Education, Child Life Program for admission consideration:
- Provide evidence of a baccalaureate degree with a cumulative grade point average of at least 3.0 on a 4.0 scale. The cumulative grade point average is computed on the highest degree held at the time of application to the Edgewood College graduate program.
- Complete and submit graduate application (including $30 fee).
- Request that official transcripts for all undergraduate and graduate academic credits received from any post-secondary institutions be sent directly to Edgewood College Graduate and Professional Studies.
- One letter of recommendation speaking to applicant success within a master’s level program and the field of Child Life.
- 25 hours of work with well children (paid or non-paid) Clinical Experience Hours Verification Form.
- 75 hours of volunteer work in a child life setting.
- A written statement is required when applying to the Child Life Program. This essay should include the following:
- Interests and motivation for wanting to be a Child Life Specialist
- Ability to succeed in graduate school
- What preparation, or accomplishments to date that impact your success as a future Child Life Specialist
- An interview with the Program Director and an admissions team is mandatory. This interview can occur online or face-to-face prior to acceptance.
International students must contact the Graduate and Professional Studies Admissions Office regarding additional admission requirements. Additional international student requirement information is available in the Admissions section of the Catalog.
All MS in Child Life students must comply with a Criminal Record Background Check as required by either the State of Wisconsin or the state in which placement is held to successfully complete the program.
To receive the Master of Science in Child Life, students must have:
- Earned 40 credits in required master’s-level coursework;
- Maintained a 3.0 GPA in those required master’s-level credits; and
- Completed 600 clinical hours of Child Life internship.