Psychology-Child Life Program Details
Major in Psychology - Child Life

Psychology-Child Life

Child Life - Empowering Children and Families

Psychology-Child Life at UC

The psychology-child life major is designed for individuals who wish to enhance their understanding of children, adolescents, and their families. The major features an interdisciplinary approach, drawing from the fields of psychology, early childhood education, sociology, and anthropology. These features help in assessing the influences of various life experiences on young people. The major strives to help students develop respect and an appreciation for the individual capabilities of children, adolescents, and their families, and shows how professionals may support and enhance growth and development. The major also encourages students to understand normal patterns of child and adolescent development. UC students in the psychology-child life major complete ongoing fieldwork assignments and complete internship programs in well-known hospitals and agencies.


Special Opportunities

 Two concentrations, the child life specialist and child studies, are offered.


Child Life Specialist

Utica College was one of the first educational institutions in the nation to offer a degree in child life.

The child life specialist concentration prepares students to…

What's happening at UC      Meet the psychosocial needs of chronically or acutely ill children and adolescents and their families in hospitals, health care settings, and the community.

What's happening at UC      Assist children, adolescents, and their families to positively adapt and cope with health care encounters in many ways, including:

1.      structuring programs of normalizing activities and therapeutic play

2.      providing information to children and families in developmentally appropriate ways

3.      building trusting relationships with parents and primary care givers so as to provide and advocate for family-centered care

4.   using knowledge of child development and communication skills to enhance the child's and family's hospital experience

5.   acting as the child's and family's advocate in the often confusing world of the hospital

The program is based on the guidelines formulated by the professional organization of child life specialists, the Child Life Council.


Child Studies

The child studies concentration prepares students to…

What's happening at UC      meet the psychological needs of children, adolescents, and their families as they face various life experiences in the community

What's happening at UC      assist children, adolescents, and their families in dealing with stressful and possibly traumatic life experiences by…

1.      structuring  programs of therapeutic play and activities

2.      working with parents, using knowledge of child development, to enhance their understanding of how children adapt to stress

3.      acting as the child's and adolescent’s advocate in negotiating the social services and educational systems they may encounter


Professor Melodee Moltman, a certified child life specialist, is particularly interested in psychosocial care practices internationally. Most recently she has traveled to Kuwait to train child life specialists.

Dr. Jo Ellen Vespo pursues research in the areas of infant and child development, young children's relationships, children and stress, and other child life issues.

Civita Brown, a certified child life specialist, is the internship coordinator. She maintains contact with internship sites throughout the United States and Canada and provides the instruction necessary for successful internship placement. She pursues research in the area of the hospitalized child and family.

Click here to learn more about our faculty.





Patrice W. Hallock, Ph.D.
Chair, Educator Preparation & Psych-Child Life
Library Concourse

(315) 792-3815
Take the next step - Apply now
(315) 792-3006
1600 Burrstone Road | Utica, NY 13502