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Family and Consumer Sciences

Family and Child Life Graduate Program

Master of Science in Family and Child Life

The graduate program in Family and Child Life aims to prepare students to work in Family and Social Service agencies or as Child Life specialists.  The family and child life degree includes an advanced interdisciplinary study of interpersonal and family relationships. The graduate program has a strong emphasis on community involvement, practical application, and research. Graduates are prepared for advanced career opportunities in children’s hospitals, family social service agencies, parent education programs, family counseling centers, and other family life education settings or doctoral study in family relations.

Family and Child Life Graduate Program Handout

What is unique about the graduate program at CWU?

  • All Family and Child Life Master’s students complete a multi-term practicum or internship experience in an agency suited to their particular professional goals. Students pursuing child life certification can complete this requirement in a child life internship in a children’s hospital.
  • All students design and conduct a research study specific to their area of interest. Students have the opportunity to present their findings at a University sponsored research symposium as well as a regional professional conference.
  • Students have the flexibility to choose a capstone project that best meets their professional goals. Students will work with an advisor to decide whether to complete a thesis research project, an alternative project, or a comprehensive examination.
  • Limited teaching assistantships are available. Assistantships provide tuition support and a stipend in exchange for students serving as instructors and advisors in the family and child life undergraduate program.

Program Requirements

Required Courses:

Course #TitleCredits
FCL 501Research Methods4
FCL 502Statistics4
FCL 532Family Interaction4
FCL 534Therapeutic Applications of Child Development4
FCL 547Families and Poverty4
FCL 592Practicum12
FCL 700Master's Thesis, Project Study, and/or Examination2-6*
 Approved Electives12
 Total Credits46-50
* Examination = 2 credits; Project Study = 4 credits; Thesis = 6 credits
Approved Elective Courses:
FCL 503    Family Communication
FCL 514    Coping with Loss and Grief
FCL 515    Therapeutic Play
FCL 516    Child Life I: Scope of Practice
FCL 517    Childhood Diseases and Disorders
FCL 518    Child Life II: Impact of Hospitalization
FCL 533    Family Life Education
FCL 539    Families and Public Policy
FCL 582    Curriculum Development
Students will work with their graduate advisor to develop a program of study appropriate for their individual career goals. Students typically begin the program in summer quarter, and can complete the degree after the following summer (5 quarters total).  Students may, however, begin the program during any quarter after they have completed an undergraduate degree and been accepted into the program. Students seeking certification as Child Life Specialists or Family Life Educators may need to complete additional coursework to qualify for certification.

How to Apply:

Application Requirements:

  • Online admission application
  • Statement of objectives
  • Three letters of recommendation (*at least one from a faculty member)
  • Official transcripts


  • We typically admit students to begin in Summer/Fall quarters.
  • The deadline for priority application is Feb 1st.

For more information about applying, visit the graduate school website.

**Note: The old name of the program is still listed in the application form. Select "Family & Consumer Sciences" and 'Family Studies Specialization" to apply for the Family and Child Life Program.

For more information about the graduate program, contact Dr. Amy Claridge.

Graduate Student Handbook 2016-2017


We have undergraduate programs in Family Science and Child Life.


For more information on professional certifications:

National Council on Family Relations: Certified Family Life Educator

Child Life Council: Certified Child Life Specialist

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