Joint Child Life Program with Augusta University

The Child Life Joint Program prepares students to work as a Certified Child Life Specialist (CCLS) to support children's social-emotional needs in health care settings

Information Session for Potential Applicants

Kym Allen, the Child Life Manager at Children's Hospital of Georgia, holds an information session for potential applicants in September of each year. Students are welcome to attend in order to learn more about the program, whether or not you are planning to apply that year. Students planning to apply are strongly encouraged to attend . The Fall 2023 Joint Program Information Session was held on Wednesday, Sept. 27, 2023. An information session for Fall 2024 will be scheduled in late summer; check back for session information!

Degree Earned

Students who successfully complete this program will earn a B.S. in Human Development and Family Science with an Emphasis in Child Life, and will complete the coursework and clinical requirements for the child life certification exam.


The coursework in this program focuses on development during infancy, childhood, and adolescence, as well as specialized coursework related to working with children in healthcare settings. The coursework will ensure that students have a strong understanding of child development within the context of families, recognize the specific needs of children who are hospitalized, understand play in therapeutic settings, and are familiar with child life interventions in hospital and other clinical settings.

Example Program of Study

Clinical Experiences

The Child Life Joint Program is a partnership between UGA and Augusta University. Students accepted to the Child Life Joint Program will spend their fourth academic year in Augusta, where they will complete specialized coursework and extensive clinical experiences at Children’s Hospital of Georgia that are required for certification. At the completion of the year in Augusta, students will have completed their Child Life internship.

Child Life Certification

Students who successfully complete the joint child life program will take all of the specific courses required by the ACLP, and will exceed the minimum clinical internship hours required by ACLP. After completing the joint program and graduating, students will be eligible to sit for the Child Life Certification Exam. Upon passing the exam, they will become a Certified Child Life Specialist (CCLS).

Who Can Apply?

Human Development and Family Science majors can apply to the Child Life Joint Program in the fall of year 3. Students who are admitted to the program will take specialized child life coursework in the spring of year 3, and will spend year 4 at Children's Hospital of Georgia in Augusta. Students also have the option to apply in the fall of year 3 or year 4, and spend a 5th year in Augusta to complete the joint program.

The number of spots available in the joint program is limited because of the limited number of supervising CCLSs at Children’s Hospital of Georgia. In order to be eligible, students must have completed 60 credit hours of coursework (including courses currently in progress), have an cumulative GPA of 3.0 or better, and have completed (or currently be enrolled in) HDFS 4810: Hospitalized Child and the Family. Please note that not all applicants are accepted to this program; meeting the eligibility requirements does not guarantee acceptance into the program. Students accepted to the program will complete their last year at Children's Hospital of Georgia.

Shadowing Requirement

All students applying to the joint child life program are required to shadow a CCLS in a hospital setting for a minimum of 8 hours. A letter, on hospital letterhead signed by the CCLS, must be submitted to document the date, location, and number of shadowing hours.

Application Process

Applicants will be required to submit the Common Child Life Internship Application, three letters of recommendation (including at least one from a college instructor), a resume, a letter from a Certified Child Life Specialist stating that they have shadowed a CCLS in a hospital setting for at least 8 hours, and unofficial transcripts of all college coursework. Note: Dr. Bales and Prof. Whitten are not eligible to write recommendation letters for students applying to the joint child life program. Applications are due by 4 pm on October 31 of each year, and must be hand-delivered to Dawson Hall Room 123. Interviews for the Child Life Joint Program will take place on the UGA campus in mid-November, and acceptance letters will be mailed to the student's home address in mid-December, after fall semester finals are complete.

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