Academic Calendar 2023/24

Graduate Studies

Graduate certificate in Child Life and Community Health

This 15-credit program will prepare students to meet the professional requirements of the Association of Child Life Professionals (ACLP) to become eligible to write the Child Life Certification Exam. Students who have successfully completed the exam and received the designation of CCLS (Certified Child Life Specialist) can become employed in hospital child life programs and community health settings.

Child Life Specialists utilize therapeutic play, preparation, education, and support to decrease stress and anxiety experienced by children, youth, and families facing illness, injury, and hospitalization. The Graduate certificate in Child Life and Community Health will create a pathway for success for students interested in this area of practice.

While the certificate prepares students for a career in a hospital or community health care setting, the certificate will also be an asset to graduates working in a variety of settings supporting children, youth, and families in challenging life situations. The program will prepare students to continue their education at the graduate level, through providing foundational theories specific to child life, play, child development, transitions, and working with grief and loss.

Program learning outcomes

Upon successful completion of the Graduate certificate in Child Life and Community Health, students will be able to:

  • Gather, organize, and critically examine the scholarship on working with children, youth, and families experiencing challenges in health care settings and the community. Graduates will access and utilize credible sources in an ethical manner.
  • Examine best practices utilizing the research and evidence-based scholarship on Child Life and pediatric psychosocial care.
  • Demonstrate knowledge and skills specific to Child Life according to the Official Documents of the Association of Child Life Professionals (formerly the Child Life Council).
  • Utilize a structural and strengths-based approach to develop solutions that value the role and expertise of multiple voices.
  • Communicate effectively and respectfully in both written and oral forms, and honouring confidentiality in health care settings and in the community.
  • Reflect on practice, pursuing the coursework and internship with a high degree of initiative and independence, utilizing personal and professional goals for the field, and determining a desired area of practice.
  • Utilize strong interpersonal and leadership skills to motivate, support, and advocate for the voices of children, youth, and families to be heard in health care and community settings.
  • Take responsibility for their actions with children, youth, families, learning communities, and other professionals, in the context of the Child Life Code of Professional Practice.
  • Advocate and initiate change in health care systems to support children, youth, and families experiencing challenging situations, and impact communities positively through their actions.

Entrance requirements

  1. Minimum of a Bachelor’s degree: Applicants must complete an undergraduate degree (Child and Youth Care, Education, Psychology, Social Work, or other allied degree) from a recognized post-secondary institution with a minimum GPA of 3.00 (B average).
  2. Coursework: Applicants must have either graduated from an ACLP-endorsed degree program or have successfully completed specific prerequisite courses (listed below) as outlined on the ACLP website ( as part of their previous degree. Prerequisite academic courses include:
    • Minimum of two Child Development courses
    • Family Systems course
    • Research course
    • Three additional content-related courses (e.g. Ethics, Anatomy and Physiology, Medical Terminology, Counselling, Psychology, Therapeutic Recreation, Human Development, Family Studies, Sociology, Social Work, Early Childhood Education, Nursing)
  3. Experience: Experience working with children or youth (paid work or practicum) must be a minimum of 600 hours. Students must have completed at least 100 volunteer hours with children or youth in a hospital or health-related setting.
  4. Statement of intent: Students must submit a letter of a maximum of two pages providing their education and career goals as they relate to their application to the program. The letter should address what led the student to apply and how their background has prepared them for this program.
  5. References: Three reference letters are required, including at least one academic reference and one employment/professional reference.
  6. Language competency: Applicants must meet the Degree/diploma level English language proficiency requirement. For details on how this requirement may be met, see the English language proficiency requirement section of the calendar. Students whose first language is not English may be required to satisfy the University and the Graduate Program Committee with their proficiency in English.
  7. Résumé: A complete work, education, and practicum history résumé is required. The résumé must clearly differentiate paid employment from volunteer/unpaid work.

When to apply

The program accepts a maximum of 12 students every other year. Please see the department website for information on application dates.

How to apply

  1. Apply online at There is an application fee.

    Additional documents required for a complete application:

    • Statement of intent outlining experience and career objectives.
    • Official transcripts (or interim transcripts) from all post-secondary institutions attended showing grade/course achievement as per entrance requirements. To be considered official, transcripts must be sent directly to UFV from the originating institution; see the Transfer Credit section for details.
    • Résumé.
    • Three reference letters (at least one academic and one employment/professional).
  2. Applicants will be advised of an admission decision and, if accepted, will be provided with registration information. A deposit is required prior to registration (see the Fees and Other Costs section) and will be applied toward tuition fees.

Basis for admission decision

Admission to the Graduate certificate in Child Life and Community Health is on a competitive basis. Meeting the minimum requirements does not guarantee admission.

This certificate prepares people to work with vulnerable populations. To ensure that the strongest, most suitable candidates are selected, points are awarded for performance on seven criteria.

Students will be ranked based on the points earned for the criteria listed below:

  1. Academic history/GPA (up to 40 points for those who have the prerequisite degree and coursework)
  2. Work experience (up to 20 points)
  3. Volunteer experience (up to 15 points)
  4. Letters of reference (up to 15 points)
  5. Letter of intent (up to 10 points)

Fees and additional costs

See the Fees and Other Costs section. There will be additional costs for textbooks, and for the internship there may be associated travel and living expenses.

Program duration

Students will complete three courses and a 600-hour internship in a clinical setting. It is expected that students will take between four and five semesters to meet all certificate requirements.


Courses will be delivered in an online format. The internship (CYC 711) will be a clinical experience at regional, provincial, national, or international health care organizations with whom UFV has established affiliation agreements. The learning modules for the clinical internship are available online for students and clinical supervisors to access as distance learners.

Program outline

Courses are offered one per semester, beginning with the Fall. The internship (CYC 711) is normally taken in the final term.

Semester I (Fall)

Course Title Credits
CYC 761 Child Life and Community Health 3

Semester II (Winter)

Course Title Credits
CYC 762 Transitions: Working with Grief and Loss 3

Semester III (Summer)

Course Title Credits
CYC 770 Play, Expressive, and Nature-Based Practices 3

Semester IV (Fall or Winter)

Course Title Credits
CYC 711 Child Life Internship 6

Program regulations

Transfer credit and/or PLAR credit will not be accepted for CYC 711 (Child Life Internship).

For other program regulations, please see General Regulations for Graduate Studies.

Program requirements and continuance in program

To maintain status as a program student and to continue in the program, students must maintain a minimum program grade point average of 3.00.


UFV Graduate Studies policy requires that at least 75% of program courses be taken at UFV. The internship must be completed through UFV, and it is anticipated that most students will take all their courses through UFV. However, a maximum of one course (25%) may be taken at another university for transfer credit into the program. This would require advance approval of the Child, Youth and Family Studies department head, and the Associate Vice-President of Graduate Studies and Research upon admission.

Graduation requirements

Candidates who qualify to receive a UFV graduate certificate must be approved by the Senate. Students must apply for graduation in the first month of their final semester. Visit the Graduation webpage for more information. The final deadline for students who wish to attend the June Convocation ceremony is April 1 of each year, with all program requirements completed by April 30.

Course listings

For complete details on courses see the course descriptions section.

Current Students