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Child Life, MS

Study Child Life, MS at Azusa Pacific University

You’ll be prepared to confidently meet certification requirements and become a Certified Child Life Specialist (CCLS). You’ll have the benefit of graduating from one of the only academic programs in the United States and Canada endorsed by the Association of Child Life Professionals. In addition to high-level coursework, you’ll gain hands-on experience with a 120-hour practicum in child life followed by a 600-hour hospital internship. You’ll be ready to work as an allied health professional with expertise in helping children and their families navigate traumatic and challenging experiences. 

Program at a Glance

The School of Behavioral and Applied Sciences equips students for compassionate leadership in fields like physical therapy, social work, and psychology, guided by experienced faculty and hands-on learning.

Application Deadline

  • Fall Deadline: March 15
  • Spring Deadline: August 15

Apply Now

Program Units
42

Advanced Standing:
30

Cost per Unit
$790

Base Cost
$33,180

Advanced Standing Base Cost
$23,700

Location

  • Azusa (Main Campus), Online
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Yellow Ribbon and Military Friendly School

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Gain Hands-on Experience

  • Learn within a framework of Christian compassion.
  • Work in a child-life practicum and a hospital internship.
  • Start in the spring and fall with flexible scheduling.
  • Complete the program in just 18 months.
  • Choose between online and in-person study.

By the Numbers

1 of 126 Best Western Colleges according to Princeton Review's 2023 Best Colleges Guide
13 :1 Student-to-faculty ratio
100 % of incoming students receive financial aid

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Program Details

The master’s degree in child life is designed to prepare graduates to successfully complete credentialing as child life specialists, who are allied health care professionals with expertise in helping children and their families navigate traumatic and challenging experiences, particularly health crises.

Browse the tabs below—if you have questions, visit the Student Services Center page, and we’ll make sure you get the info you need.

Program Modality

Fall Start: in person classes at Azusa (Main Campus) for program duration
Spring Start: online classes for program duration

Admission Requirements—Domestic Applicants

The university graduate and program admission requirements below must be met before an application is considered complete.

  • Graduate application for admission
  • $45 nonrefundable application fee
  • Official transcripts from all institutions leading to and awarding the applicant’s bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited institution and all postbaccalaureate study

    An official transcript is one that Azusa Pacific University receives unopened in an envelope sealed by the former institution and that bears the official seal of the college or university. A cumulative minimum 3.0 (on a 4.0 scale) grade-point average on the posted degree is required for regular admission status. Provisional admittance may be granted to individuals with a lower GPA if competency can be shown through multiple measures.

  • Professional Interest Essay covering:
    • Brief background information to help us to get to know you as a unique person
    • Why you chose to pursue Child Life in this season of your life
    • Why you are applying to Azusa Pacific University for the Masters in Child Life
    • Experiences that have prepared you for this program
    • Strengths and weaknesses that would affect your performance in this career
    • Your professional goals
  • Two letters of recommendation from professional and/or academic references
  • Current résumé
  • A personal interview will be conducted as necessary with qualified applicants
  • 3.0 undergraduate grade-point average
  • GRE not required
  • Volunteer experience in a hospital setting and/or experience with children is preferred

Send official transcripts to:

Office of Graduate and Professional Admissions
Azusa Pacific University
PO Box 7000
Azusa, CA 91702-7000
[email protected]

What to Expect

After all admission materials have been received by the Student Services Center, the faculty or department chair reviews the applicant’s file. The applicant is notified in writing of the admission decision.

Admitted students will be required to submit a $400 non-refundable admissions deposit within two weeks to hold their spot in the cohort. Deposit will be applied to cost of tuition.

Admission Requirements—International Applicants

Azusa Pacific University is authorized under federal law by the U.S. Citizen and Immigration Services and the U.S. Department of State to enroll nonimmigrant, alien undergraduate and graduate students. APU issues and administers both the I-20 and DS 2019 (F-1 and J-1 status documents respectively).

To apply for a graduate program at APU, the following requirements must be fulfilled in addition to meeting the domestic applicant and program-specific admission requirements specified above.

International applicants must also:

  • Demonstrate proficiency in English through a placement test with the Academic Success Center, or through a TOEFL/IELTS score that meets program-specific requirements. Refer to APU’s English proficiency requirements to learn more. Request that official test scores be sent to APU. All other forms of proof indicated in the English proficiency requirements must be submitted directly to International Services.
  • Provide a Graduate Affidavit of Financial Support (PDF) and a bank statement from within the last six months proving financial ability to pay for education costs through personal, family, or sponsor resources.
  • Submit a copy of a valid passport showing biographical data, including your name, country of citizenship, date of birth, and other legal information.
  • Get foreign transcripts evaluated. International credentials (transcripts, certificates, diplomas, and degrees) must be evaluated by a foreign transcript evaluation agency. View our policy and a list of approved Foreign Transcript Evaluation Agencies.

Send official transcripts to:

Office of Graduate and Professional Admissions
Azusa Pacific University
PO Box 7000
Azusa, CA 91702-7000
[email protected]

What to Expect

After all admission materials have been received by the Student Services Center, the faculty or department chair reviews the applicant’s file. The applicant is notified in writing of the admission decision.

Delivering high-quality graduate programs takes a comprehensive support system. Your investment in an advanced degree includes a complete network of student services and access to a community of faculty and staff who partner with you in your pursuit of your master’s in child life.

Tuition
Tuition (per unit) $790
Units 30-42
Base Program Cost $23,700-$33,180

View a complete list of university fees.

All stated financial information is subject to change. Contact the Student Services Center at (626) 815-2020 for more information.

Financial Aid

Several types of financial aid are available to graduate students. The resources range from federal loans and state grants to, for some graduate programs, fellowships and scholarships. For details about financial aid available for your program, please contact the Student Services Center at (626) 815-2020.

Military Benefits

Military members—and in some cases their spouses and dependents—qualify for financial assistance covering tuition, housing, and books. Azusa Pacific is a Yellow Ribbon University and Military Friendly School, so you can be confident that you’ll receive the benefits and flexibility you need to complete your education.

School of Behavioral and Applied Sciences Alumni Tuition Discounts

APU’s School of Behavioral and Applied Sciences (BAS) offers an alumni tuition discount for APU alumni starting in the following graduate programs:

Students must be in good academic standing and maintain satisfactory academic progress with a minimum cumulative grade-point average (GPA) of 3.0. Students must be enrolled at least half-time. If qualifications are met, the discount may be renewed each term. APU will pay $500 per term (up to $2,000 over the course of the program). This discount cannot be combined with other institutional aid. Contact Student Financial Services for complete eligibility details.

Note: Award and eligibility are applicable for the 2022-23 academic year and apply to students admitted beginning fall 2020. The discount is subject to change.

Prepare to Become a Child Life Specialist

The master’s in child life program prepares graduates to successfully complete credentialing as child life specialists and become allied health care professionals with expertise in helping children and their families navigate traumatic and challenging experiences, particularly health crises.

For more information about the child life profession, visit the Association of Child Life Professionals website, and read the American Academy of Pediatrics Statement on Child Life Services (PDF).

Immediately Apply Learning

This is an applied/clinical program, with students required to complete a 120-hour practicum in child life followed by a 600-hour hospital internship toward eligibility to take the certification exam, in addition to rigorous coursework. The program comprises 42 units and can be completed in 18 months, with available start times in spring and fall. You will graduate ready to pursue certification as a child life specialist. Courses take place in the evenings and are held in 8-week sessions.

Advanced Standing Option

This option is available for Certified Child Life Specialists (CCLS) with a BA or BS degree, as well as individuals who have successfully completed the 600 required child life internship hours. To pursue the Advanced Standing option, you must provide proof of either a CL Certificate from the Child Life Certifying Commission (CLCC), or complete the Child Life Clinical Experience Verification Form (PDF).

To view specific requirements and coursework information, visit the current academic catalog:

To view specific requirements and coursework information, visit the current academic catalog:

If you have questions, we’re here to help! Connect with a representative who can walk you through the program details and application process.

Contact Your Admissions Representative

Additional Program Contacts

Department of Psychology

Phone

(626) 815-6000, Ext. 2420

Mail

Department of Psychology
Azusa Pacific University
PO Box 7000
Azusa, CA 91702-7000

Hours

Monday-Friday, 8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m.

Student Services Center

Contact (626) 812-3016 or [email protected], and visit apu.edu/ssc for details on the admissions process, financial aid, and class registration.

International Services

International students should contact +1-626-812-3055 or [email protected], and visit apu.edu/international/.

Azusa Pacific University is accredited by the WASC Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC).

Featured Faculty

Carissa Howard

Carissa Howard

Assistant Professor, Department of Psychology

Hannah Knott

Hannah Knott

Associate Professor, Department of Psychology

Charity Vasquez

Charity Vasquez

Assistant Professor, Director of M.S. in Child Life Program, Department of Psychology

Career Outlook and Outcomes

Azusa Pacific campus

NBC's Today Features APU Professor Hannah Knott’s Expertise on Child Toy Psychology

NBC’s Today recently featured Hannah Knott, MS, CCLS, assistant professor in APU’s department of psychology, in an online story about dinosaur toys for children. 

Note: This information is current for the 2023-24 academic year; however, all stated academic information is subject to change. Please refer to the current Academic Catalog for more information.

*Base Cost (cost per unit x program units) is provided to aid in program comparison only.
All stated financial information is subject to change. View Tuition tab above.

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