Nursing Leadership program

Palliative Care, MS

Offered by:
University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus

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The online Interprofessional Master of Science in Palliative Care (MSPC) degree and graduate certificate programs have been designed to meet the educational needs of individuals who are currently working in or who wish to work in palliative care and hospice. Students in this degree program will gain a deeper understanding of the physical, psychological, spiritual, and social needs of patients with serious illness and their family caregivers.

The program will be of interest to a wide range of healthcare professionals, including but not limited to the following: physicians, nurses (including BSN and advance practice nurses), physician assistants, pharmacists, social workers, spiritual care providers, psychologists, therapists, counselors, and ethicists.

Program courses are delivered in an interprofessional learning environment that mirrors the palliative care work setting. Each week features a biomedical topic paired with a psycho-social-spiritual-ethics topic. The program focuses on advancing clinical knowledge, developing clinical wisdom, building an evidence-based palliative care practice, enhancing communication skills, and addressing physical, psychological, social, and spiritual suffering, as well as ethical issues.

The MSPC program is comprised of 36 credit hours, which students complete over a period of two (minimum) to seven (maximum) years from the time they begin the master’s program. Coursework is primarily delivered in an online format. MSPC students attend three on-campus weekend intensives and complete a capstone project in their community. The intensive experience utilizes CU's Center for Advancing Professional Excellence (CAPE) to practice communication skills with standardized patients in individual and group settings.

Program Details

The Interprofessional Master of Science in Palliative Care consists of 36 credits of coursework designed to be completed in 24 months of continuous study. Students may choose flexible completion options, but note that courses are currently offered once per academic year. All students complete interdisciplinary coursework in palliative care core concepts, communications, teamwork and leadership, community integration, assessment of pain and non-pain symptoms, and diverse topics related to the psycho-social-spiritual-ethical dimensions of patient and family care. Curricula focus on evidence-based practices in diverse palliative care settings and populations. Students of all professions learn together in a supportive environment. Over 95% of the curricular content is shared by biomedical and allied health professional tracks.

The following specializations can be completed fully online:

  • MSPC Biomedical Track — Biomedical Track courses include advanced content in clinical health care delivery, pain and non-pain symptom management, and palliative care for patients experiencing serious illnesses. The Biomedical Track is open to physicians, physician assistants, registered nurses (BSN and Advanced Practice RN) and pharmacists.
  • MSPC Allied Health Professional Track — Allied Health Professional (AHP) Track courses include advanced content in psycho-social-spiritual care, ethical concerns, and professional identity as a member of an interdisciplinary palliative care team. The AHP Track is open to social workers, spiritual care providers, psychologists, counselors, therapists, and ethicists.

Tuition and Fees

Investing in your future is a big decision. However, becoming a fully online student at the University of Colorado is a high-quality and affordable option for learners of all types. Tuition and fees are based largely on the degree program you enroll in.

The tuition amount assessed is determined based on which University of Colorado campus, school, or college is offering your degree program, as well as if it is at the undergrad or graduate level, and finally your resident status. Visit our tuition and financial aid page for more information.

Financial aid and scholarships are available for those who qualify.

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The MSPC program is comprised of 36 credit hours, which students complete over a period of two (minimum) to seven (maximum) years from the time they begin the Master’s program.


Admission requirements and deadlines vary based on the program. In addition, you will have different requirements depending on if you are a first-time student, a transfer student, or an international student.

Learn more about the admissions process by filling out the form above or contacting our Enrollment Team today.

Career Outlook

The job outlook for palliative nurses and other nurse practitioners indicates a possible growth of 31% by the year 2022 according to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics. This is a much faster than average growth for a position within the U.S. and shows plenty of possibilities for future occupations in this career path.