Frequently Asked Questions

This page is designed to answer some of the most commonly asked questions by students interested in applying to our program.  If you have any additional questions, please feel free to contact us. We are here to help!

Application Questions

When are applications due?

Applications are accepted from September 1through January 15 each year. All application material and support documents need to be received by the January 15 deadline. To apply, please visit the Graduate School web page by clicking on the 'Apply to the College' link on the left side of this page. The application is in an electronic format. There is only one application to complete for the program, and it is administered through the Graduate School. 

What are the application requirements?

Application requirements, including prerequisite coursework can be found here.

What types of classes do you count toward the prerequisite requirements?

You can find a list of required and recommended classes here. Please note that the admission's committee will evaluate all coursework for applicability. Please contact us with any questions you may have regarding coursework completed at your university. If you are unsure if a course will be accepted or meets the requirements, it is recommended that you keep a copy of the syllabus for the course. The admissions committee may ask for a course description or a course syllabus to determine if the course meets the admissions requirements. This is especially true for courses related to child development, but which are not specifically titled "child development".

Can I still apply to the programs for the fall if I do not graduate until the spring of that year?

Yes. Student must be in their senior year of college and intend to graduate prior to beginning the MSCL program. However, some applicants have already graduates from their undergraduate university when they apply. A final university transcript must be submitted to the Graduate School prior to beginning the program. At the present time, we do not allow for deferral of acceptance. 

Cohort-Specific Questions

How many students do you accept?

Each year, we accept a cohort of approximately 10 students.  Our model is one of close mentorship and supervision to best meet the academic and professional readiness needs of our students.

Can I enter the program as a part time student?

No. The MS in Child Life program is a full-time, on-campus program.  Students will not be allowed to complete the program on a part time basis.  Classes can be scheduled during morning, afternoon, or evening time slots.  With the exception of the internship capstone class, no online classes are offered. Only students accepted and enrolled in our program are permitted to enroll in our courses. 

Do I have to complete a specific undergraduate major to apply to your program?

No. Students from many different undergraduate majors are eligible to apply to our program. However, students must still meet the specific academic prerequisites found here. Acceptance into the program also requires successful completion of a minimum of 100 documented volunteer hours working closely with children. Volunteer hours completed in a child life setting are particularly valued. Students can download the official volunteer documentation report here.

What is the timeline of the program?

The program takes 2 years to complete, and includes one required summer session between the first and second year with either two classes during the Summer 1 semester (CHLI 604 and COMM 580) or one class during the Summer 1 (CHLI 604) semester and a study abroad class during the Summer II semester (CHLI 650). All students complete an integrated 100+ hour practicum within the child life department at the Medical University of South Carolina throughout the first year and the summer. The practicum is integrated with the academic coursework so that students learn and apply concepts "real time." The last semester of the program consists of a 600-hour off site internship coupled with an online capstone class.

When can I begin the program?

Students are only accepted for admittance each fall semester.  Students cannot begin the program in the spring. The program follows a cohort model in which students enter the program in the fall and progress through the two-year program as a group.

Experience and Internship Questions

What types of experiences can I count toward the 100 hours of required volunteer experience?

All volunteer experiences must be unpaid and involve direct hands-on work with children and/or their families. Experiences to consider include: volunteering within a hospital-based child life department, volunteering at day or overnight camps serving children with various medical conditions or those that specialize in bereavement, volunteering at a child development center, and/or volunteering with traditional day or overnight camp populations. Here are a list of some potential volunteer opportunities, if you are interested in volunteer experiences in the lowcountry area (area surrounding Charleston).  You do not need to complete all 100 hours with the same organization, and can combine experiences from multiple organizations to meet the minimum 100 hours of volunteer experience. In a competitive applicant pool, volunteer hours in a child life setting are particularly valued by the admission's committee.

Will I be able to complete my internship in Charleston?

Most likely, your internship will not be in Charleston.  Students in our program are required to apply to least 15 internship programs, which necessitates applying to programs outside of Charleston and outside of South Carolina.  Although you may choose to apply to the internship program at the Medical University of South Carolina, this is separate from our master degree program. We encourage diversity in training and encourage our students to complete their internships in diverse settings. Please note that based on personal preference, the competitive nature of the internship selection process, and the limited number of intern positions within any hospital, there is a high likelihood that you will need to temporarily relocate to complete your child life internship. 

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