Undergraduate to Graduate (U2G), BS/MS in Child Life

B.S./M.S. in Health and Human Physiology, Sub-Track Child Life

The combined program allows qualified students to begin work toward a master's degree while they complete their bachelor's degree. It permits students to count certain courses toward both degrees, completing them in less time than they would need to complete each degree separately.

The completion of the two degrees in five years is designed for students who wish to pursue a career providing services to children and their families, primarily in the health care field. Graduates are eligible to be credentialed professionals in child life (certified child life specialist). They fill positions such as child life specialist, activity director, or administrative positions.

Students follow the standard curriculum of their B.S. degree the first two years and complete all the prerequisite courses for the M.S. degree in health and human physiology with a child life subprogram during the third year. Successful students receive a B.S. at the end of the fourth year and a M.S. at the end of the fifth year.

Applicants to the combined program must:

  • be enrolled as a B.S. student at the University of Iowa;
  • have completed a minimum of 80 s.h. at the time of admission to the combined program, with at least 30 s.h. earned at the University of Iowa;
  • have a cumulative University of Iowa g.p.a. of at least 3.25; and
  • have completed all GE CLAS Core requirements and all prerequisites
    • Human Anatomy
    • Medical Terminology
    • Two Child Development Courses (focus on children 0-18)
    • Strongly recommended—an introductory course in child life

Applicants must submit a letter of application to the program that includes a statement of purpose, a résumé, document a minimum of 100 hours of paid or volunteer experience in a child life and/or pediatric health care setting, and three letters of recommendation (with at least one from a certified child life specialist).

Each application is reviewed by the program and requires support from the applicant's undergraduate advisor. Recommendations for approval will be sent to the Office of Graduate Admissions. Applicants must meet the admission requirements of the Graduate College; see the Manual of Rules and Regulations on the Graduate College website.

Students can complete the application for The University of Iowa Graduate Program by clicking HERE.

Materials you will need to include:

  • your personal statement 
  • your transcript (unofficial is fine at this stage)
  • a current resume/curriculum vitae
  • the names and contact information for three letters of recommendation (letter writers will submit their letters electronically through the Office of Admissions application, a process that you will be able to monitor)
  • GRE Scores are NOT required

** Due to COVID-19, we understand that gaining paid or volunteer experience in a hospital setting is challenging.  We encourage you to document all hours you have gained in a pediatric setting by utilizing the verification form.  In addition, you are encouraged to submit a 1-page summary of additional experiences you have gained that would be applicable to child life, i.e. remote/virtual activity programming, remote/virtual experiences with hospitalized children, various educational and professional development (i.e. webinars or trainings), and creative approaches to helping in the community in regards to pediatrics.

For more information about applying to the combined program, contact the child life program in the Department of Health and Human Physiology.