Program Details
Major in Psychology - Child Life

Bachelor of Science Degree • School of Health Professions
and Education

Psychology-Child Life Major

Program Details

This program is designed for individuals who wish to enhance their understanding of children and families. The major features an interdisciplinary approach, drawing from the fields of psychology, early childhood education, sociology, and anthropology. The faculty includes professionals from all of these disciplines. Students gain knowledge of normal human development while working with healthy children in applied settings.


The child life specialist concentration prepares students to meet the psychological needs of children and adolescents who are chronically or acutely ill. Child life specialists help ease the trauma of hospitalization by providing emotional support for patients and their families; structuring a program of therapeutic play and activities; working with parents; using knowledge of child development to enhance the hospital environment; and acting as the child’s and family’s advocate in the often confusing world of the hospital.

Specialized course work focuses on human relations skills, the management of death-related concerns, designing an activities program, and the special characteristics of children with disabilities and hospitalized young people. The concentration culminates in an internship in a hospital or other health care facility. The program is based on the guidelines formulated by the professional organization of child life specialists – The Child Life Council.

The child studies concentration prepares students for education and health and human service fields that support healthy development of children and adolescents. Students completing this concentration will have an opportunity to expand their repertoire when supporting children in settings such as schools, child care settings, community agencies, and facilities serving children and youth. This concentration culminates in an internship that directly serves children, youth, and families.


(See also General Education Core)

Course Credit Hours Year Taken
Core 34-55  
Major Course Requirements
Psychology 101 Introduction to Psychology 3 1
Psych-Child Life 123 Childhood Services 1  1,2
Psych-Child Life 214 Developmental Research Methods 3 2
Psychology 256 Principles of Behavior Change 3  2,3
Psych-Child Life 272 Community Practicum 2  2,3
Psychology 321 Infancy and Childhood 3  2
Psych-Child Life 323 Early Intervention 3  3
Psychology 322 Adolescence 3  2
Psychology 366 Individuals with Disabilities 3  3
Psych-Child Life 373 Play as Curriculum 3  3
Psych-Child Life 374 The Helping Relationship 3  3
Choose one (1) of the following:
Psychology 237 Group Dynamics: Intro to Group Development and Group Process 3  2
Psychology 276 Addictions Counseling 3  2
Sociology 233 The Family 3  2,3,4
Choose one (1) of the following:
Anthropology 415 Cultures, Health and Healing 3  2,3
Sociology 252 Racial and Cultural Minorities 3  2
Communication Arts 
Intercultural Communication 3  2,3
Choose one (1) of the following:
Education 314 Children's Literature 3  3
Therapeutic Recreation 152 Recreational and Adventure Activities 4  2,3
Criminal Justice 221 Issues in Juvenile Justice 3  2,3
Major-Related Concentration
Each major must select one of the following concentrations:
Psych-Child Life 271 Introduction to the Child Life Specialty 3  2
Biology 101, 102 Anatomy and Physiology 8  1
Psych-Child Life 474 Psychosocial Care of Hospitalized Children and Adolescents 3 4
Health Studies 309 Medical Conditions 3  3
Psych-Child Life 375 Death, Dying, and Bereavement 3
Psych-Child Life 471 Introduction to Child Life Internship I 1  3,4
Psych-Child Life 472 Introduction to Child Life Internship II 1  4
Senior Year Experience:
Psych-Child Life 475 Child Life Internship 12 4
Psych-Child Life 377 Children Under Stress 3  2
Psych-Child Life 423 Childhood Disorders 3  3,4
Psychology 311 Psychological Assessment and Testing 3  3
Psychology 311L Lab in Psychological Assessment and Testing 1  3
Psych-Child Life 471 Introduction to Child Life Internship I 1  3,4
Psych-Child Life 472 Introduction to Child Life Internship II 1  4
Senior Year Experience:
Psych-Child Life 475 Child Life Internship 12 4
The student must complete sufficient elective courses to earn at least the minimum credit hours required for this degree, and at least 60 credit hours of the 120 required must be in the liberal arts and sciences.

* Students wishing information about the psychology-child life retention policy should consult with their academic adviser.


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