Advanced Track

The advanced track prepares students for greater professional responsibility as Certified Child Life Specialists, including the application of research into clinical practice, the role of mentor to colleagues, the attainment of healthcare leadership positions or the pursuit of doctoral studies.

Apply to this program through a central application. Review the sections below before you begin.

The coursework in the advanced track is designed to enhance students’ understanding of the research that supports child life practice and to facilitate students’ development of their own research initiatives within their practice as Certified Child Life Specialists.

The advanced track degree option is for students whose undergraduate degree had an emphasis or minor in child life studies or for currently practicing Certified Child Life Specialists (CCLSs) who have completed an undergraduate degree. Students in the advanced track will complete a child life research practicum or a clinical child life internship during their coursework.

Students in the advanced track can complete all of their coursework online. If students are in the Springfield area, they have the option to take traditional courses on campus.


Advanced track program admission requires the following minimum requirements:

  1. A bachelor's degree with an emphasis or minor in Child Life OR a bachelor’s degree and currently hold certification as a Child Life Specialist.
  2. A cumulative undergraduate grade point average of 3.00 or higher.
  3. A Graduate Record Examination (GRE) COMBINED score (Verbal and Quantitative) of 290 or higher with results from the GRE provided prior to the student’s registration for more than 9 hours.
  4. Applicants for whom English is not their primary language are required to demonstrate graduate-level proficiency in English by either having achieved a score of 550 on the paper-based, or a comparable score of 79 on the IBT or internet- based TOEFL, or by other equivalent means.