Child Life Studies Graduate Program

Child life student working with hospitalized kid

Excel as a child life specialist

Support children and families experiencing stressful situations by providing psychosocial care 

While most child life specialists work in healthcare settings, employment opportunities are also growing in other community settings

Healthcare settings: Hospitals, clinics, hospice/palliative care, transplant teams, behavioral health

Community settings: Schools, private practice, advocacy centers, grief support, law enforcement, camps, disaster relief, prison systems 

Deepen your knowledge and skills through an advanced degree

Enhance opportunities for upward mobility (promotion, leadership positions)

MSU Child Life Studies coursework is pre-approved by the Association of Child Life Professionals to meet the 10 course requirements required to sit for the Child Life Professional Certification Exam administered by the Child Life Certification Commission. 

Course Categories for Certification  

Grad Course(s)  

Family Systems  

CFD 761  

Advanced Family Studies 


CFD 680  

Research Methods in CFD 

SFR 780 

Educational Research Methodology 


CLS 715  

Play and Therapeutic Intervention 


CLS 710  

Childhood Death and Bereavement 

Child Development   

(includes 2 courses)  

CFD 705  

Growth and Development: Infancy through Early Childhood 

CFD 657 

Growth and Development: Middle Childhood to Adolescence 

Child Life course  

CFD 610  

Child Life Theory and Practice 

Additional course options (must choose 3) 

ECE 675  

Working with Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Children and Families in Early Childhood 

CLS 705 

Aspects of Childhood Illness and Disease 

CLS 720 

Trends and Issues in Child Life 

CLS 730 

Cultivating a Trauma-Informed Lens 

Track options

Select a track option for your customized path to success. Standard and Advanced tracks are offered entirely online.

Student working with kids at child development center

For students seeking to become Certified Child Life Specialists with no previous child life background or training.

Child life specialists helping patient in hospital

For students who are either A) a Certified Child Life Specialist seeking to advance their career and training through a graduate degree, or B) students with significant child life coursework in previous studies (e.g., undergraduate child life emphasis or concentration).

Child life majors doing art project with kids

For Missouri State undergraduate students who would like to start their master’s degree coursework as they finish their bachelor’s degree.

Why earn a master’s degree in child life studies at Missouri State?

  • Enjoy a nice balance between work and school. You can complete all graduate coursework entirely online.
  • Be a key part of the psychosocial team. Help kids and families cope with trauma and stress. 
  • We offer an affordable degree. Cover your costs with financial aid and scholarships.

Upcoming admission deadlines

Semester Deadline
Fall February 15
Summer February 15
Spring October 1

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