Psychology at Aquinas College

Child Life Major (BS)

For students interested in working with children and their families in medical settings, this program prepares students toward certification as Child Life Specialists. This unique, multidisciplinary degree program prepares students for work in this exciting and growing field.

The Child Life Program at Aquinas College is designed to fulfill most of the requirements needed for certification as a Child Life Specialist. At least twenty (20) semester hours toward the major must be taken at Aquinas College. A grade of C or better is required for all courses credited toward the major. Students who major in Child Life are bound by the requirements published in the catalog at the time the declaration of a major is approved.

Minimum Major Requirements: Forty-four (44) semester hours

Required Courses:

  • PG100
  • PG 151
  • PGS120
  • PG202
  • PG208 
  • PG 234
  • PG400 
  • PG404 
  • PG416
  • PG450 SC
  • KN145
  • BY150 NL*
  • BY155 NL**
  • BY156**
  • EN207

*Taken only if entering with an SAT composite score of 1030 or less (or ACT of 20 or less)

*BY155 and BY156 must be taken at Aquinas College


  • PG100 Introductory Psychology (3) SS1/SS2

    Psychology as the science of human behavior and experiences; related areas of human functioning; focus on human research; theory and research methods, biological basis of behavior, human development, cognition, motivation, emotion, sensation, perception, personality and abnormal behavior.

  • PG120 Introduction to the Child Life Specialty (3) SS1/SS2

    The purpose of this course is to provide a basic background and knowledge of Child Life practices. The content of this course is designed to create a foundation of knowledge, both academically and practically, in the required core competencies of the nationally recognized Child Life certification. Topics covered include Child Life theoretical foundations, assessment, preparation, play, coping, the therapeutic relationship, family-centered care, documentation, grief and loss, and the role of Child Life within the interdisciplinary medical team. Attention is given to understanding children and teens in the context of their development as it relates to interventions in medical settings.

  • SY202/PG202 Introduction to Research and Design (4) QR

    This course is an introduction to the research process: scientific method, basic nature of research, analysis of major research designs used in lab, field, and natural environment; how to write a research proposal, conduct an experiment, write a research report; lecture and lab. Prerequisite: PG100 or SY101 and SY/CN/PG 151 or equivalent. This course is not accepted for the Social Science General Education requirement.

  • PG208 Child & Adolescent Development (3) SS1/SS2

    Introduction to processes of human development from a lifespan perspective; focus on conception through adolescence; basic theories and research related to normal patterns of physical, cognitive, personality and social development. Prerequisite: PG100.

  • PG234 Death and Dying (3) SS1/SS2

    Attitudes and rituals relating to death in different societies; psychological, philosophical, medical, and religious questions that surround the event of death for the dying person and family. Prerequisite: PG100.

  • PG400 Play Therapy (3) SS1/SS2

    This course is an introduction to the basic history, theory, rationale, and concepts of child-centered play therapy (CCPT). Students will learn the conceptual framework of child-centered play therapy, as well as the skills necessary to establish and maintain factilitative relationships with children that encourage their self-expression and facilitate change. Different theoretical approaches and techniques will be explored.

  • PG404 Legal and Ethical Issues in Counseling SS1/SS2

    This course introduces students to the characteristics, roles, and functions of professionals involved with therapy with special attention to legal, ethical, and professional issues. The course provides a comprehensive overview of programs and services in helping professions. Emphasis will be on understanding professional and ethical standards of the ACA and the AMHCA and ethical decision making models to prepare students to manage effectively ethical dilemmas.

  • PG416 Marriage, Family and Couples Counseling SS1/SS2

    This course provides an examination of various theories and models of intervention within families, with strong emphasis on systems theory. Students are expected to develop family treatment plans and to demonstrate them in simulated family systems such as families facing a medical crisis.

  • PG450 Senior Practicum (Variable) SS1/SS2

    Work placement in which student performs duties of a psychological nature under supervision of a practicing professional. Prerequisite: Psychology major, senior status, department approval.

  • KN145 Medical Terminology (2)

    The medical terminology course is a two credit hour course designed for students who need a medical terminology course to fulfill an admissions requirement to a health professions program. This course will also fulfill any other student who needs an in depth course in the “language of medicine.”

  • BY150 Human Biology (4) NL

    Systems approach to study of basic human anatomy and physiology designed for non-biology majors. Three (3) hours lecture, three (3) hours lab. Not applicable toward the major. Not applicable toward the minor for students having successfully completed BY221 or BY372. Offered every fall and odd-numbered springs.

  • BY155 Human Anatomy and Physiology I (4) NL

    An introduction to Human Anatomy and Physiology for nursing and athletic training students. Not applicable toward the biology major or minor. Three (3) hours lecture, three (3) hours lab. Offered every fall.

  • BY156 Human Anatomy and Physiology II (4)

    A continuation of BY155 the study of Human Anatomy and Physiology for nursing and athletic training students. Not applicable toward the biology major or minor. Three (3) hours lecture/two (2) hours lab. Prerequisite: minimum grade of C in BY155. Offered every spring. This course is not accepted for the Natural World Biological Science requirement.