Child Life Continuing Student Master's Degree Program

Why Child Life?

• Help children and families cope with illness, medical procedures, and loss
• Use play, emotional support, and teaching to reduce stress

Why Wheelock?

• Complete your bachelor's and master's degrees in an accelerated time frame
• Wheelock was the first college to offer a child life program and remains a national leader
• Instructors provide intensive on-site supervision during clinical internships

Wheelock College and Boston University have reached an agreement to merge as of June 1, 2018 and we are no longer accepting new applications. As a prospective applicant to Wheelock College, we hope you will be interested in applying to Boston University.

Children undergoing medical treatment have unique developmental, emotional, social, and educational needs, as do their families. Child Life specialists are specially trained members of healthcare teams who focus on addressing these needs. They work in a variety of settings, such as pediatric inpatient and outpatient units, emergency rooms, and intensive care.

Through the Child Life program, you'll develop expertise in helping children and families cope with acute and chronic illness, medical procedures, and grief and loss. You'll learn how the use of play, emotional support, and teaching can help reduce the stress of hospitalization, illness, and health care procedures in your patients.

Child Life Continuing Student Master's Degree Program Overview

Students who have completed the Child Health minor at Wheelock are eligible to enter a 30-credit Wheelock Continuing Student master's program to prepare them to become Certified Child Life Specialists. Students who take 2 graduate courses during their senior year can finish the program in one year of graduate study.

Students are notified about admission decisions during the spring semester of their senior year. Accepted students then begin the internship placement process for their 400 hour internship during the fall semester of graduate studies. Students are matched with two hospital interview sites and must be accepted by at least one site in order to begin their graduate work. The decisions of the hospital interview sites are final. Students who are not accepted for an internship must defer admission until the following academic year.


The master's program prepares you for the national examination to become a Certified Child Life Specialist (CCLS). Wheelock graduates enjoy outstanding success in passing the exam, which qualifies you to practice in every U.S. state and internationally.

Career Opportunities

Graduates of Wheelock's Child Life programs are in high demand for exciting and challenging positions in healthcare institutions across the United States.

Hands-On Experience

You'll complete more than 600 certified internship hours. Potential internship sites include:

  • Boston Children's Hospital
  • Boston Medical Center
  • Hasbro Children's Hospital
  • Massachusetts General Hospital for Children
  • Newton Wellesley Hospital

Sample Courses

  • Child Life Administration and Program Development
  • Child Life Methods and Materials
  • Clinical Issues in Child Life
  • Human Biology or Human Diseases
  • The Meaning and Development of Play

inspire a world of good

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