May 19, 2024  
2022-2023 Graduate Catalog 
    
2022-2023 Graduate Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Child Development and Family Science MS, Child Life Specialization


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Students in the Child Development and Family Science MS can specialize in one of two areas: Family Science or Child Life.

The Child Life specialization involves the study of family systems and child development theory and research applied to the practice of helping children and families through traumatic events, specifically related to medical intervention and hospitalization. During the program, students engage in a multi-quarter practicum experience to apply classroom learning to practice and gain experience for a career in child life. Students also conduct original research related to child development and family science. Graduates are prepared to pursue child life internships and certification through the Association of Child Life Professionals (ACLP). 

Students who enter the program without prior coursework in child and adolescent development will need to take undergraduate courses during the graduate program to complete all ACLP competencies required for certification. 

Child Development and Family Science Core


The Child Development and Family Science MS degree includes an advanced interdisciplinary study of interpersonal and family relationships. The graduate program has a strong emphasis on community involvement, practical application and research. 

Students choose from two specializations, either Child Life or Family Science. The Child Life specialization prepares students to pursue internship and certification through the Association of Child Life Professionals as a child life specialist. Child life specialists help children and families cope with the stress and uncertainty of acute and chronic illness, injury, trauma, loss, and bereavement. The Family Science specialization prepares students to work in a variety of social and human services positions with children and families or pursue doctoral study in child development and family science.

Admission Requirements
Students must meet the admission requirements of the School of Graduate Studies, including a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution and a minimum of a 3.0 GPA in all coursework attempted in the last 90 quarter (60 semester) hours of academic work.

Graduation Requirements
All students will complete 49 credits in the graduate program before completing the final culminating experience. As a culminating experience, students will complete a thesis, research project or comprehensive examination. The number of required credits of FCL 700 varies depending on the students’ choice for final project: Thesis (6 credits), research project (4 credits), or examination (2 credits). 

Program Learner Outcomes
Upon successful completion of this program, students will be able to:

  • Conceptualize and design a research project to answer a specific research question related to children or families.
  • Demonstrate abstract and critical thinking skills in applying Family Systems concepts to family problems and interventions.
  • Critically evaluate contemporary empirical literature in child development and family science.
  • Demonstrate effective communication and self-efficacy in professional human service settings.
  • Demonstrate proficiency at presenting research related to child development and family science in both visual and oral formats.
  • Demonstrate the ability to analyze quantitative data, review, understand, and interpret output from statistical analyses related to child development and family science and draw appropriate conclusions .
  • Conduct a predictive developmental assessment taking into account family and community context and demographic, cultural, and structural processes.

CDFS Core Courses


Total Core Credits: 36-40


Child Life Specialization


Total Credits: 56-60


College and Department Information


Child Development and Family Science Program  
College of Education and Professional Studies  

Online Availability
The program does not have a designated online only option.

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