Master of Arts Human Lactation Studies

Breastfeeding has positive global health and economic implications, which cannot be duplicated in any other form and as such, it has been studied for decades. The Human Lactation Studies program offers students the ability to learn from previous research while building the skills and strategies necessary in breastfeeding management as they prepare to become International Board Certified Lactation Consultants (IBCLCs) and/or aid in their professional development as a seasoned IBCLC. The Human Lactation Studies major provides a strong foundation in research methods, healthcare ethics, evidence-based practice, and experiential learning.


Our CAAHEP accredited Pathway 2 program is led by scholar-practitioners who are leaders in the field of human lactation. Our faculty combine theory with practice to adequately prepare students to become advanced practitioners in the field of human lactation.

36 Total credits
$748 Cost Per Credit Hour
Jan 3 Next Start Date
  • 36 credit hour program
  • Full and part-time options
  • January, May and August start dates
  • Complete your degree in as little as 20 months
  • HWEL 512- Disciplinary Foundations I
  • MAP 508- Elements of Scholarship
  • MAP 509- Research Methods
  • LACT 513- Disciplinary Foundations II
  • LACT 521- Field of Study I
  • LACT 522- Field of Study II
  • LACT 525- Applications I
  • LACT 526- Applications II
  • LACT 514- Functioning as a Lactation Consultant
  • LACT 520- The Art and Science of Lactation Consulting
  • LACT 528- Internship I
  • LACT 529- Internship II
  • LACT 620- Advanced Research Methods
  • LACT 628- Thesis I
  • LACT 629- Thesis II

Admission Requirements

Admission to the Master of Arts Program is open to applicants who hold a baccalaureate degree from a regionally accredited institution or a recognized international institution of higher education. Admission decisions are made on an individual basis. Before admission is granted, each application is reviewed by the Admissions Committee to determine if the applicant’s academic history and preparation is satisfactory. Students may be admitted into the M.A. on a full or provisional status.

  • Official transcripts detailing an earned Bachelor’s degree with a GPA of 3.0 or greater, if conferred GPA is less than 3.0, transcripts from all universities and/or colleges attended must be provided.
  • A grade point average of 3.0 or better (on a 4.0 scale) in the major field of study and in all subsequent graduate work. An official transcript with the baccalaureate degree noted from the school(s) attended must be sent directly from the undergraduate school to the admission office. Candidates who do not have a 3.0 GPA may be considered for admittance to the program. Such exceptions are considered on a case-by-case basis and may require additional coursework.
  • Students with international transcripts are responsible for obtaining an evaluation of their transcripts through an international evaluation service.
  • A statement of purpose that describes the applicant’s reasons for applying and the type of research they would like to do in the M.A. The statement of purpose should also demonstrate graduate-level writing skills and command of the English language.
  • Three letters of recommendation from people who know the applicant academically or professionally and who can speak to their potential to succeed in graduate study.
  • An updated resume.
  • Union Institute & University Catalog Page 33 of 539, July 1, 2020 – June 30, 2021
  • English proficiency is required of all applicants whose first language is not English. Most students fulfill the English requirement by taking the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL). At both the graduate and undergraduate levels, our TOEFL requirement is 79 on the Internet-based test. See and Students may also demonstrate English proficiency by successfully completing a valid undergraduate or master’s level degree for which the language of instruction was English.

What makes Union’s M.A. with a major in Human Lactation Studies unique?

“Our program is offered exclusively online, which offers the ability for students to attend classes on their time. The small class size allows students to form lasting mentoring relationships with faculty.”

Lisa Akers, PhD, RDN, IBCLC, RLC, FAND
Human Lactation Studies Advisor

Applying your degree to real world experience

Our students are individuals with academic or work experience in the maternal and child health field who want to build a foundation for their career in human lactation. Some of our students chose Union for a career change and to fulfill their passion for the field of human lactation. Many of our graduates go on to work in a clinical setting such as a hospital, obstetric office or pediatric office. Others have chosen to work in the public health setting for federal programs such as the USDA Women, Infants and Children (WIC) Program. Still others have gone on to open their own private lactation practice or nonprofit organization.



“The Nest” is Union Institute & University’s new interprofessional telehealth clinic and offers virtual lactation consultations. The Nest provides students in our B.S. in Maternal Child Health: Human Lactation and the M.A. in Human Lactation Studies programs with direct learning experiences that might not be available otherwise. It’s an excellent opportunity for students to apply knowledge learned in the classroom while gaining practical experience, especially for those seeking to become International Board Certified Lactation Consultants (IBCLCs). To participate, students must have a minimum of 90 didactic hours of lactation-specific education and be enrolled in their lactation internship courses so they are prepared to work directly with clients.

Group classes and consultations will be led by Union’s human lactation students and accompanied by Alicia Simpson, MS, RD, IBCLC, LD. Alicia serves as our faculty IBCLC who will work directly with students to offer The Nest’s lactation services. She brings a wealth of knowledge and experience in working with clients and students. Learn more about “The Nest”.

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