Child Life

Master of Science

Child Life Photo

(42 Credit Hours)

How do you prepare children for medical procedures? How do medical professionals ensure that young patients and their families will be at ease in the healthcare environment? The most effective means of addressing these vital needs is to have trained child life specialists on hand. The Master of Science in Child Life Program (MSCL) at The Graduate School of the College of Charleston has been designed expressly to develop such professionals.

Graduates of this program will be prepared to work as certified child life specialists, interacting with children and their families in hospitals, clinics and other medical settings. They will be the primary resource for patients and their families, helping them to cope with the challenges of hospitalization, illness and disability.

Our program represents a collaboration between the College of Charleston and the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC). MUSC is home to one of the largest child-life departments in the state of South Carolina, treating more than 10,000 children on an annual basis. The coursework will take place at the College of Charleston and practicum experiences will take place at MUSC. 

Admissions Criteria

  • Clear, personal statement regarding educational and career goals
  • Bachelor’s degree with minimum GPA of 2.75 overall and recommended GPA of at least 3.0 in the final 60 hours of undergraduate coursework
  • Recommended GPA of 3.0 in a major related to child life (child development, psychology, sociology or education, etc.)
  • Official transcript from all academic institutions
  • Official GRE scores (at least 153 verbal, 144 quantitative, and 4 analytical writing)
  • Three letters of recommendation, preferably from academic sources
  • Minimum 100 hours of formal volunteer experience with children, preferably in a child life setting and documented in writing by the supervisor (volunteer experience must be unpaid and not completed for course credit)
  • Completion of at least 18 credit hours (six classes) in courses related to infant child, and adolescent development, multicultural child and family issues, childhood medical conditions, health communication, developmental psychology, health psychology, and/or child life theory
    1. Must include one course in infant, child, adolescent development (birth-18 years)
    2. Recommended course in medical ethics
    3. Recommended course in anatomy and physiology
  • TOEFL scores if your primary language is not English (at least 20 in writing; 23 in speaking; 17 in listening; and 21 in reading)
  • Interview by invitation only, following submission of your graduate school application. 


For the most up-to-date information, visit Treasurer's Office Tuition and Fees.

Application Deadline

Priority: January 15
Final: July 1

Contact Information

Susan Simonian
program director

Additional Information