BS in Human Development and Family Science with Emphasis in Child Life Specialist
Degree Program Description
The Child Life Specialist emphasis prepares students to support child development and family coping within the context of pediatric illness, injury, medical treatment, and grief in a variety of health care and community settings. Child life specialists use therapeutic play, psychological preparation, and coping skills interventions to help reduce children's anxiety and stress related to illness, disability, hospitalization, and other challenging life experiences. Through a family-centered care approach, they provide parents and other family members reassurance and emotional support, help them understand psychosocial needs, and provide tools to help prevent or minimize psychological trauma. Courses focus on understanding typical and exceptional child and family development, effective methods of supporting children and families, as well as integration of theory and research into hands-on clinical practice experiences. In addition to a 100-hour practicum experience (selection is on a competitive, space-available basis) at MU’s Children’s Hospital, the student’s last semester is spent off-campus completing a 600-hour, unpaid clinical internship in a pediatric hospital setting. Placement at clinical internship sites is not guaranteed by the University of Missouri. Students who successfully complete the degree program with the clinical internship option are eligible to take the Child Life Professional Certification Exam presented by the Child Life Certification Commission (CLCC) after graduation.
Major Program Requirements
The HDFS-Child Life degree program requires that students successfully complete child life volunteer, practicum, and internship experiences to earn this degree. Those who successfully complete the clinical internship capstone option are well prepared to take the child life certification exam to earn the CCLS (Certified Child Life Specialist) credential after graduation. Clinical education sites require that students provide proof of health insurance, up-to-date immunizations, and student professional liability insurance. Students must also pass mandatory drug screens, criminal background checks, and any other required qualification checks prior to beginning any clinical education experience in child life. Failure to provide appropriate documentation, or pass drug screens and criminal background checks prior to beginning these experiences may necessitate dismissal from the child life emphasis in HDFS. The student is responsible for all costs incurred with these qualification checks.
Students must complete all university requirements, including general education courses, in addition to the HDFS degree requirements below. All students must earn a grade of C- or higher, and a minimum 2.0 GPA overall in all HDFS courses taken to meet the HDFS degree requirements.1 A minimum of 120 credit hours is required to earn the degree.
|A. HDFS CORE I REQUIRED COURSES:||16|
|H_D_FS 1600||Foundations of Family Science 2||3|
|H_D_FS 1610||Intimate Relationships and Marriage||3|
|H_D_FS 2200||Research Methods in Human Development and Family Science||3|
|H_D_FS 2300||Multicultural Study of Children and Families||3|
|H_D_FS 2400W||Principles of Human Development - Writing Intensive||4|
|B. HDFS CORE II - CHILD LIFE EMPHASIS REQUIRED COURSES:||37|
|H_D_FS 2250||Child Life Volunteer Experience 3||1|
|H_D_FS 3050||Child Development: Infancy and Toddlerhood||3|
|H_D_FS 3150W||Child Development: Preschool to Pre-Adolescence - Writing Intensive||3|
|H_D_FS 3430||Adolescence and Young Adulthood||3|
|H_D_FS 3500||Infant-Toddler Practicum||6|
|H_D_FS 3700||Preschool Practicum||6|
|H_D_FS 3800||Children's Play||3|
|H_D_FS 4100||Children in Healthcare Settings||3|
|H_D_FS 4110||Child Life Theory and Practice||3|
|H_D_FS 4130||Child Life Practicum 4||3|
|H_D_FS 4400||Childhood Death and Bereavement||3|
|C. HDFS CORE III REQUIRED COURSES:||6|
|HDFS Upper-Level Diversity Requirement. Select at least two courses from the following:|
|H_D_FS 4200||Latino/a Children, Youth, and Families||3|
|H_D_FS 4300||Black Children, Youth, and Families||3|
|H_D_FS 4610||Stress and Resilience in Families||3|
|H_D_FS 4620||Family Interaction||3|
|H_D_FS 4640||Interpersonal Relationships||3|
|H_D_FS 4700||Children and Families in Poverty||3|
|D. HDFS ELECTIVE COURSES:||13|
|Select from the following HDFS courses (and any others not already used to satisfy CORE I, II, or III requirements) and advisor-approved non-HDFS courses; 4 courses minimum 5|
|H_D_FS 1234||Successful Adulting||3|
|H_D_FS 2450||Human Sexuality Across the Life Span||3|
|H_D_FS 3085||Problems in Human Development and Family Science||1-30|
|H_D_FS 3090||Research Experience in Human Development and Family Science||1-30|
|H_D_FS 3440||Adulthood and Aging||3|
|H_D_FS 3450||Health, Safety and Nutrition||3|
|H_D_FS 3550||Technology and Young Children||3|
|H_D_FS 3600||Partnering with Parents and Families||3|
|H_D_FS 3650||Diversity in the Lives of Young Children and Families||3|
|H_D_FS 3960||Readings in Human Development and Family Science||1-30|
|H_D_FS 4001||Topics in Human Development and Family Science||1-6|
|H_D_FS 4085||Problems in Human Development and Family Science||1-30|
|H_D_FS 4680||Family Communication||3|
|H_D_FS 4720||Child and Family Advocacy||3|
|E. REQUIREMENTS IN RELATED AREAS:||14|
|CDS 2190||Medical Terminology||3|
|COMMUN 1200||Public Speaking||3|
|PHIL 2440||Medical Ethics||3|
|PTH_AS 2201||Human Anatomy Lecture||3|
|PTH_AS 2203||Human Anatomy Laboratory||2|
|F. HDFS CAPSTONE - CLINICAL INTERNSHIP OPTION||15|
|H_D_FS 4993||Internship in Human Development and Family Science 6||1-15|
|F. HDFS CAPSTONE - NON-CLINICAL OPTION||15 -16|
|REQUIRED CAPSTONE COURSE:|
|H_D_FS 4970||Human Development and Family Science Capstone||3-4|
|or H_D_FS 4970W||Human Development and Family Science Capstone - Writing Intensive|
|CHOOSE ONE (REQUIRED):|
|H_D_FS 4090||Advanced Research in Human Development and Family Science||3|
|or H_D_FS 4993||Internship in Human Development and Family Science|
|SELECT 9 ELECTIVE CREDITS (REQUIRED):|
|ELECTIVE CREDITS - Can include any of the following: 7||9|
|• Additional HDFS courses not already used to satisfy CORE I, II, or III, or HDFS Elective requirements|
|• Minor, certificate, or elective courses from other departments|
Some courses may require a higher grade than C- to advance in the program.
Child life clinical education sites typically require that students have substantially higher GPAs (ex., 3.0+ cumulative) to be considered for clinical education placements.
Should be completed no later than the 2nd semester of Sophomore year.
Seats are limited in H_D_FS 4130. Students are admitted to this course via a competitive application and interview selection process. Applicants are selected one semester prior to enrolling in H_D_FS 4130. A 3.0 cumulative GPA is required for interview eligibility, in addition to completion of selected required courses. See the HDFS Child Life academic advisor for more information.
Students may plan a program of study which will help prepare them for earning the Certified Family Life Educator (CFLE) credential from the National Council on Family Relations (NCFR). Consultation with the student’s academic advisor is recommended to determine the current requirements for this credential.
Students enter a student-initiated, competitive, nationwide application process to earn a clinical internship placement at a pediatric healthcare facility outside of Columbia, MO, the semester prior to enrolling in H_D_FS 4993. All other coursework requirements must be completed prior to the start of H_D_FS 4993.
Consult with an HDFS academic advisor for a list of approved elective courses.
Below is a sample plan of study, semester by semester. A student's actual plan may vary based on course choices where options are available.
|ENGLSH 1000||3||COMMUN 1200||3|
|H_D_FS 1600||3||Gen Ed Soc/Behavioral Science||3|
|H_D_FS 1610||3||H_D_FS 2300||3|
|Gen Ed MATH||3||H_D_FS 2400W||4|
|HISTORY or POLITICAL SCIENCE||3||Gen Ed PHYS or MATH Science||3|
|H_D_FS 2250||1||CDS 2190||3|
|H_D_FS 3050||3||H_D_FS 2200||3|
|NEP 1034||3||H_D_FS 3150W||3|
|PTH_AS 2201||3||H_D_FS 3500||6|
|Gen Ed Humanities||3|
|H_D_FS 3700||6||H_D_FS 3430||3|
|H_D_FS 3800||3||H_D_FS 4110||3|
|H_D_FS 4100||3||H_D_FS 4130||3|
|PHIL 2440||3||H_D_FS 4400||3|
|HDFS CORE III||3|
|HDFS CORE III||3||CAPSTONE - CLINICAL:|
|HDFS ELECTIVE||3||H_D_FS 4993||15|
|HDFS ELECTIVE||3||CAPSTONE - NON-CLINICAL:|
|HDFS ELECTIVE||3||HDFS 4970 (3 CR.) AND...|
|HDFS 4090 (3 CR.) or HDFS 4993 (3 CR.) AND...|
|ELECTIVE COURSES (9 CR.)|
|Total Credits: 121|
The degree audit is an automated report reflecting a student’s academic progress toward the completion of a degree.
MU students can request a degree audit by logging in to myDegreePlanner. Students may also access myDegreePlanner via myZou, in the Student Center, click on the Academic Progress Tile, then select Request Degree Audit. The audit automatically pulls in the student’s MU course work, transfer courses and courses in progress. This is available to current students, admitted students, and those who last attended less than three terms ago.
Past MU students can request a degree audit by contacting the Academic Advising Unit of the division in which they were last enrolled at MU. For contact information, go to https://advising.missouri.edu/contact/.
Prospective students, can access a preliminary MU degree audit via https://www.transferology.com. Information on the college credits already earned will have to be manually entered before it can be evaluated against current degree requirements.
For additional details on degree audits, go to https://registrar.missouri.edu/degrees-audits/degree-audits/.
Major and Career Exploration
The University of Missouri has many resources to assist you in exploring majors and career possibilities. For guidance, visit the Majors and Careers website or view specific resources below.
If you are considering a change of major or are exploring multiple majors, schedule an appointment with an advisor in the Discovery Center by calling (573)884-9700 or through MU Connect Discovery Center service in you success network.
If you have decided on a major, visit an academic advisor in the School or College that you are interested in to discuss the process of declaring the major.
- If you would like to learn more about your career interests, abilities, values and talents, visit the MU Career Center. No Appointment is necessary to explore career options with one of our staff members.
- If you would like information about MU majors and degree programs, visit:
- the Degrees, Majors (Degree Programs), Emphasis Areas, Minors and Certificates page in the catalog,
- the MU Majors website.
For additional major and career exploration resources, visit Major & Career Exploration in the catalog.