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Master of Science in Child Life Online

Child Life Specialists are essential in providing psychological support, emotional well-being, and developmental guidance to children who are dealing with stressful or traumatic experiences. To be effective in this role, advanced education is essential.

Tuition: $41,496

Duration: 24 months

Credit hours: 38


Pursue a fulfilling career as a child life specialist

The Master of Science in Child Life program is designed to prepare you for a career as child life specialist, playing a crucial role in supporting children and families facing medical challenges. This comprehensive program focuses on providing the knowledge and skills necessary to address children’s psycho-social needs, promote normal development, and facilitate coping strategies in healthcare settings. Through a combination of coursework, practical experiences, and research opportunities, you will gain a deep understanding of child development, illness, trauma, and the impact of healthcare experiences on children’s emotional and cognitive well-being.

The program offers a wide range of core courses covering topics such as child life theory and practice, play therapy, family-centered care, grief and loss, and psycho-social assessment. Additionally, you will also have the opportunity to engage in supervised practicum experiences in your state, where you can apply your knowledge and skills in real-world healthcare setting under the guidance of experienced child life professionals.


Invest in your career with a rewarding master’s program

We understand finances are an important factor in considering your higher education options. Our online programs are competitively priced and can be paid by the course for added flexibility.

Tuition rates listed apply to the 2024-2025 academic year. More detailed information about tuition and financial aid can be found here.

Program: MS in Child Life
Per credit hour: $1,092
Per course: $3,276
Per Program: $41,496

Financial aid
Financial aid is available to those who qualify and who are U.S. citizens. Complete the Free
Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) online at

Edgewood College Federal School Code: 003848

Contact us:
Phone: 608.663.4300
Fax: 608.663.3495
Mailing address: 1000 Edgewood College Dr. Madison, WI 53711

Check our upcoming start date

Our online programs are designed to fit your schedule. Find your ideal start date below.

16-Week Format


Start Date  

Application Deadline 
Fall 8/26/24 Rolling

We offer rolling admission. Applications for Fall 2024 enrollment will be reviewed on two dates, February 1 and April 15, provided seats are still open.

Please review the necessary criteria into the master’s in child life program

To be considered for admissions, applicants must provide all of the following items. Only completed applications will be reviewed by the Child Life Program for admissions consideration:

  1. 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.
  2. Complete and submit graduate application.
  3. 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.
  4. Two letters of recommendation speaking to applicant success within a masters level program and the field of Child Life. One letter must be from a Certified Child Life Specialist (CCLS) or a Child Life department member (including but not limited to volunteer coordinators and child life assistants).
  5. 25 hours of work with well children (paid or non-paid) Clinical Experience Hours Verification Form
  6. 75 hours of volunteer work in a child life setting – Please provide a brief description of how your preparation or experiences may have been impacted by COVID and what you have done to remain engaged with the child life community.
  7. One college course in child development or lifespan development strongly preferred.
  8. A written statement is required when applying to the Child Life Program. This essay should include the following:
    1. Interests and motivation for wanting to be a Child Life Specialist
    2. Ability to succeed in graduate school
    3. What preparation, or accomplishments to date that impact your success as a future Child Life Specialist
  9. An interview with the Program Director and an admissions team is mandatory. This interview can occur online or face to face prior to acceptance.
  10. Additional evidence may be reviewed by the School of Education. This could include information in such areas of the candidate’s background as:
    1. General intelligence
    2. Emotional stability and maturity
    3. Academic achievement
    4. Physical stamina and health
    5. Moral and ethical fitness
    6. Demonstrated competence in speech
  11. Knowledge of correct spoken and written English
  12. Demonstrated ability to work with children, youth, and others in child life settings
  13. Conduct and competency background checks and practicum evaluations

These criteria reflect the policy recommendations and professional expectations of various national and state organizations related to the preparation of child life professionals. Edgewood College considers these criteria to be significant and appropriate guidelines for judging the professional merit of candidates in child life. Students who have successfully pursued their academic work, have been actively involved in planning their programs with appropriate advisors, and who responsibly and reflectively participate in activities related to their professional preparation for child life should have no difficulty in meeting the criteria for admission to the child life program.

Our child life courses are both theoretical and practical

To complete the MS in Child Life online program, students must complete 38 credit hours of coursework. Plus, 600 practicum hours under a qualified supervisor.



View Course List


U.S. Student Graduate Admissions Contact Information


Phone: 608-663-4299

International Student Graduate Admissions Contact Information: powered by upGrad


Phone (by region):

  • Europe, Middle East, Africa: +44 7830 344510 
  • Asia Pacific except India: +65 6232 6730
  • North and South America: +1 240-719-6120 
  • Vietnam: +84-28-7300-8884

“I am so thankful that I chose to attend Edgewood College and pursued a degree in Child Life within the accelerated Bachelor’s to Master’s program. The program was well developed by the academic team comprised of Certified Child Life Specialists (CCLS). They shared knowledge and experiences that provided a unique outlook on the profession and were instrumental to my success as a student and now professional.”

Shannon Kaufman, MS Child Life