Jul 20, 2024  
2017 Undergraduate Catalog 1.2 (SUMMER - FALL) 
2017 Undergraduate Catalog 1.2 (SUMMER - FALL) [ARCHIVED CATALOG - Consult with Your Academic Advisor for Your Catalog Year]

Psychology-Child Life (B.S.) - Hegis Code 2009

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(Bachelor of Science Degree)

This program is designed for individuals who wish to enhance their understanding of children and families. The major features an interdisciplinary approach, drawing from the fields of psychology, early childhood education, sociology, and anthropology. The faculty includes professionals from all of these disciplines. Students gain knowledge of normal human development while working with children in applied settings.

The child life specialist concentration prepares students to meet the psychological needs of children and adolescents who are chronically or acutely ill. Child life specialists help ease the trauma of hospitalization by providing emotional support for patients and their families; structuring a program of therapeutic play and activities; working with parents; using knowledge of child development to enhance the hospital environment; and acting as the child’s and family’s advocate in the often confusing world of the hospital.

Specialized course work focuses on human relations skills, the management of death-related concerns, designing an activities program, and the special characteristics of young people who are hospitalized and/or who have disabilities. The concentration culminates in an internship in a hospital or other health care facility. The program is based on the guidelines formulated by the professional organization of child life specialists - The Child Life Council.

The child studies concentration prepares students for education and health and human service fields that support healthy development of children and adolescents. Students completing this concentration will have an opportunity to expand their repertoire when supporting children in settings such as schools, child care settings, community agencies, and facilities serving children and youth. This concentration culminates in an internship that directly serves children, youth, and families.

Students in the child life specialty concentration must pass BIO 101  and BIO 102 . All majors must achieve a minimum of C in each of the other major and major related courses.

Students* completing the B.S. in psychology-child life (either track) may be admitted directly into the M.S. program in childhood education if they meet predetermined criteria. Students should see the Chair of Educator Preparation and Psychology-Child Life for further information.

*Students completing the child studies concentration may use student teaching as their internship if they complete an education program.

For placement opportunities, please contact the internship coordinator.

Each student’s academic file will be reviewed every semester. If the student does not meet the program criteria and follow the rules and regulations pertaining to the Academic Program, he/she will be dismissed from the program. In the case of dismissal, a letter outlining the reasons for dismissal will be issued from the department to the student. Upon receipt of the reason for dismissal, the student can appeal the decision

Students must have a grade of “C” or better in all major and major-related courses, with the exception of BIO 101  and BIO 102 , and meet the retention criteria for the program.

Students must demonstrate the professional and ethical behaviors required for successful performance in the practice of child life specialty and child development as noted by faculty and clinical educators, and in compliance with the Child Life Council and National Association for Education of Young Children Code of Ethics. Students are expected to maintain standards of professional behavior within the academic, fieldwork, and internship settings.

Eligibility for Internship

  • Each student will be reviewed and approved by the Psychology-Child Life faculty. Students must demonstrate, in prior course work, the potential to competently perform the role and responsibilities of a child care professional working in a relevant setting.
  • All course work must be completed prior to the internship.
  • Students must comply with all internship preparation requirements as set forth in PCL 471  and PCL 472 .
  • Students are required to interview at a minimum of two sites chosen in consultation with and approved by the Psychology-Child Life Department.

Internship Preparation and Internship Sequence

Students must successfully complete PCL 471  in the semester that occurs one year before the semester of the scheduled internship.

Students must successfully complete PCL 472  in the semester that occurs just before the semester of the scheduled internship.

If during PCL 472  a student decides to postpone the scheduled internship and/or does not successfully secure an internship placement by designated deadlines, then, with the department faculty concurring, the student must work with the Internship Coordinator to re-schedule the internship for an agreed upon date. The student must comply with all pre-requisites determined by the Internship Coordinator before completing the re-scheduled internship.

Total credit hours required for degree: 120

Learning Objectives

Students will be able to:

  • write reflectively about theory, research and application.
  • apply theory and research in practice.
  • develop knowledge of and engage in professional behavior in their internship setting.
  • develop a family-centered philosophy and have a strong foundation in growth and development.
  • respect and assess the unique needs of each individual child.

Academic Requirements

See Core  section of this catalog.

Core: 34-55 Credit Hours

Major-Related Concentration

(Each major must select one of the following concentrations.)


The student must complete sufficient elective courses to earn at least the minimum credit hours required for this degree, and at least 60 credit hours of the 120 required must be in the liberal arts and sciences.


*Students wishing information about the psychology-child life retention policy should consult with their academic adviser.

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