Master of Arts - Child Life

The Purpose:

The intent of the Child Life Masters Program is to prepare men and women

for a life of service in the church, and in the world, within the specialized area of Child Life. This program is designed to deepen understanding of child development and of the processes of supporting children and families during medical interventions, crises or hospitalization, in developmentally appropriate and in trauma informed ways.

A Master of Arts in Education-Child Life requires a minimum of 30 credit hours of course work planned in consultation with and approved by the program director.  Course plan will be dependent upon review of transcripts and completion of required courses to meet the Association of Child Life Professionals' academic requirements.

The Child Life program is in the process of applying for endorsement through the Association of Child Life Professionals (ACLP). More information about the ACLP endorsement will be available as Concordia University works through this endorsement process.

Masters of Arts in Education

Required Courses:

CLS 515: Medical Terminology for the Child Life Professional

This course examines medical terminology currently used in the medical field to prepare child life students for providing developmentally appropriate education and preparation for the pediatric patient and family. Students will focus on breaking down complex words into their individual components and exploring medical terms relevant to each body system in order to explain medical terms to children of varying developmental levels using child friendly language.(3 credit hours)

CLS 525: Professional Issues in Child Life

This course will examine professional issues relevant to the child life profession. Child life students will develop skills for nurturing oneself while providing effective psychosocial care for others. (3 credit hours)

CLS 530: The Child with Special Healthcare Needs

This course will examine the impact of having a child with developmental differences in the healthcare environment and will also examine having a child with complex medical needs and its impact on the child and family. This course will provide the child life student with the fundamental skills to adapt therapeutic activities to accommodate the child with both developmental differences and medically complex needs. (3 credit hours)

CLS 565: Research in Child Life II

This course provides the child life student with practice in a variety of research methods and includes design of experiments, techniques for data collection, control of experimental events, and data analysis. Child life students will conduct a research project and will develop a report based on research conducted. This course builds on Research in Child Life I. (3 credit hours)

CLS 535: Childhood Trauma: Resiliency in Children

This course will examine both protective and risk factors influencing the development of resiliency in children and will study hospitalization as a potential trauma affecting childhood. Child life students will focus on identifying the strengths and protective factors of the pediatric patient and family to encourage the development of resiliency. (3 credit hours)

CLS 540: Pediatric Psychosocial Assessment

This course will examine utilization of pediatric psychosocial assessment by the child life professional as a means to assess pediatric patient needs and to develop an individualized plan of care. Students will develop skills in conducting psychosocial assessment. (3 credit hours)

CLS 545: Child Life Documentation

This course will prepare students for clinical assessment and various types of writing and documentation pertaining to child life services. The course will provide child life students with the opportunity to develop skills in identifying and gathering pertinent information about patients and their families, assessing patient and family emotional vulnerability and coping skills, chart writing (including electronic medical records), narrative progress and procedural note formats, student journals, case studies, grant proposals and research studies. Students will learn to apply developmental, stress and coping theories to their assessments and interventions, including family centered care and cultural considerations in all observations, recordings and writings. (3 credit hours)

CLS 550: Child Life Program Administration

This course will introduce child life students to the skills needed to provide effective leadership for child life programs, including budgeting and finances, health and safety issues, volunteer management and cultivation, staff management and development, staff retention, and ongoing program improvement. (3 credit hours)

CLS 555: Diversity in the Healthcare Setting

This course will explore racial, ethnic, religious, social economic status, and gender diversity in the United States and will build skills in the child life student in working with people from these diverse areas within the healthcare environment through an understanding of culture, psychology, communication, prejudice, discrimination, and stereotyping. (3 credit hours)

CLS 560: Global Perspectives

This course will study current concerns, problems, and progress in addressing global healthcare issues. Child life students will study examples from different countries and cultures to illustrate these concerns and to build a global perspective on healthcare issues. The focus is on developing an appreciation for diversity and strategies for providing culturally congruent competent child life services within a multi-cultural society. (Optional) Allows students to study and experience the history, culture, and healthcare beliefs of an identified culture through a short-term immersion experience. (3 credit hours)


CLS 500: Therapeutic Play for the Hospitalized Child

This course provides an introduction to utilizing play as a therapeutic modality to help children cope with the stressors of illness and healthcare experiences, as well as planning therapeutic play opportunities by the child life specialist as a member of the healthcare team. (3 credit hours)

CLS 505: Supporting the Child and Family Affected by Death

This course examines the impact of the last stage of life on children and their families while providing skills for supporting children and families during death, dying, and grieving. The child life student will study current theories and practices related to death and dying from the standpoint of developmental and learning theory. The child life student will learn intervention methods and skills for working with children who are dying, bereaved children, and ways that loved ones can support the bereaved child.(3 credits)

CLS 510: Clinical Ethics in Healthcare

This course will study basic concepts influencing pediatric patients and families in the healthcare environment. Concepts will include genetic testing and therapy, stem cell research, organ transplantation, blood transfusions, end of life care, and access to healthcare. Students will examine how healthcare providers address clinical ethic issues. Child life students will be enabled to articulate their perspectives and make informed decisions compatible with the Christian faith. (3 credit hours)

CLS 520: Research in the Child Life Profession

This course introduces research methodology pertinent to the evaluation of child life (psychosocial) services, examining the research process, the rationale for conducting evaluations, the relationship of evaluative efforts to program evaluation, and the relationship of evaluative efforts to program design and implementation, as well as synthesis of research findings and application of evidence in practice. (3 credit hours)

CLS 570: The Child Life Practicum Experience

Child Life students will spend 120 hours in a supervised volunteer position in a setting serving children and families impacted by illness, injury, and healthcare experiences with a Certified Child Life Specialist preceptor. Child life students will engage in observation of the Certified Child Life Specialist, examining the role and psychosocial services provided by the specialist. (3 credit hours)

CLS 575: The Child Life Internship

This course is the capstone of the Child Life experience for the student. Child life students use learned academic information and field experiences to serve in a hospital or other medical setting with children for a minimum of 600 hours during one semester under the supervision of a Certified Child Life Specialist. (12 credit hours)

CLS 580: Fellowship Fieldwork in Child Life

This course offers an advanced learning, entry-level child life experience to a college graduate, enrolled in graduate study, who has completed a minimum 600-hour child life internship. The fellowship is limited to a one-year appointment. The fellowship provides a stipend plus employee health and dental insurance for a full-time, 12-month placement. Hands-on clinical experience, training, and supervision are provided by a Certified Child Life Specialist as a part of the fellowship experience. (12 credit hours)