The Human Development and Family Science Double Dawg program in Child Life allows students to complete coursework and clinical experiences needed to become a Certified Child Life Specialist. Certified Child Life Specialists (CCLSs) work in healthcare settings to support children's social-emotional needs and reduce fear, anxiety, and pain for infants, children, and youth.

Degrees Earned

Students who successfully complete this Double Dawgs program will earn a B.S. in Human Development and Family Science and a M.S. in Child Life.


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. Both undergraduate and graduate 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.

Sample Program of Study

*Courses in red in the Sample Program of Study count toward both undergraduate and graduate degrees. 

Clinical Experiences

The Double Dawgs Child Life program is a partnership between UGA and Children’s Hospital of Georgia. Students accepted to the Child Life pathway 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

Beginning in 2022, all new CCLSs will be required to have a Master's degree in Child Life, or a Master's degree with a concentration in Child Life.  Students who successfully complete this Double Dawgs program will meet this requirement and 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 is Eligible?

Human Development and Family Science majors can apply to the Double Dawg Child Life Pathway in the fall of year 3. Students who are admitted to the pathway will begin taking graduate level coursework in the spring of year 3, and will spend year 4 in Augusta. The number of spots available in this pathway is very 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 overall GPA of 3.3 or better and a GPA in HDFS courses of 3.5 or better, and have completed (or currently be enrolled in) HDFS 4810: Hospitalized Child and the Family. Please note that only a few students are accepted to this program each year; meeting the eligibility requirements does not guarantee acceptance into the pathway. Students accepted to the pathway will complete their year in Augusta the following academic year; it is no longer possible to defer that admission.

Pathway Application

Pathway applicants will be required to submit the Common Child Life Internship Application, a statement of professional goals, three letters of recommendation (including at least one from a college instructor), and unofficial transcripts of all college coursework. They will also be required to document experience with well children and children in stressful situations. If you are interested in applying to the pathway, please use the "Apply" Button to find more specific information about application requirements, along with a link to the Common Child Life Application.

Graduate Program Application

Students accepted to the pathway will be required to submit a graduate program application during year 4. The application will include a Graduate School application, updated transcripts, and a professional resume. Instructions about this graduate program application will be sent to those in the pathway early in the fall of year 4.