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Program Overview

The Hood Thanatology program is one of the few in the United States specifically designed to prepare people to work in this emerging professional field, and the only program of this type in Maryland. Both the M.A. and certificate programs are designed to meet the growing demand for individuals prepared to work with the terminally ill and the bereaved and to provide death education. Both also conform with the Association for Death Education and Counseling education requirements for certification as a Thanatologist.

Attractive to those working in the funeral industry, hospice programs, hospitals, nursing homes and other health care facilities, the program is also appropriate for new graduate students who are embarking on career paths, as well as for social workers, psychologists, counselors, teachers and others who wish to expand their work into this growing area of expertise. The Thanatology program appeals to all those who are an integral part of the current American death system.

Admission Criteria

Complete and submit the Graduate School application available at

Request one copy of an official transcript reflecting the highest degree conferred. Transcripts should be sent directly from the institution to the graduate school. Admission to the program includes a required written statement of goals and two letters of reference, as well as an interview, either in person or by telephone. The quality of the personal statement’s content and structure carries considerable weight in determining admission to this program.

Grade Point Average
A minimum of 2.75 undergraduate GPA is required for admission to the Graduate School.

Program Expectations
The Master of Arts in Thanatology requires 39 graduate credits. Exemption may be granted for specific courses based on previous work. However, substitutions of electives are required to make a minimum degree requirement of 33 credits. A student must maintain a minimum grade point average of 3.0. The program requires a comprehensive examination that will be integrative, not course specific.

Students completing the thanatology programs have found employment in various hospice programs, hospitals, the Fallen Firefighters Foundation, school systems and other organizations.


Foundation Courses 12 credits
THAN 510 Professional Orientation to Thanatology 3
THAN 520 Introduction to Thanatology 3
PSY 101 Theories of Personality 3
PSY 508 Introduction to Counseling and Helping Skills 3

Core Courses 12 credits
THAN 521 Mourning and Principles of Counseling the Bereaved 3
THAN 523 Dying and Care of the Dying 3
THAN 528 Developmental Perspectives in Thanatology 3
THAN 529 Historical and Multicultural Perspectives in Than 3

Additional Requirements 9 credits
PSY 511 Theories and Principles of Counseling (required) 3

Six credits selected from the following:
THAN 524 Hospice: Principles and Practices or 3
THAN 527African-American Perspectives in Thanatology 3
THAN 525 Seminars in Thanatology (one credit courses) 1
THAN 530 Practicum in Thanatology 3
THAN 595 Independent Research Project 3

Other courses with the approval of the adviser and program director

Electives 6 credits
GERO 554 Social Gerontology 3
GERO 555 Psychological Aspects of Aging 3
PSY 519 Psychopharmacology 3
PSY 531 Abnormal Psychology 3
PSY 556 Behavior Modification 3
THAN 524 Hospice: Principles and Practices 3
THAN 527 African-American Perspectives in Thanatology 3


 The Certificate in Thanatology program is intended for individuals working in the thanatology field who seek career augmentation as well as for professionals already licensed or certified in human service fields who wish to obtain specific preparation in thanatology. The certificate program deepens a student’s understanding of the impact of death on the individual and society. It prepares students to meet the special needs of the bereaved, as well as of the terminally ill and their families.

Required Courses 12 credits
THAN 520 Introduction to Thanatology 3
THAN 521 Mourning and Principles of Counseling the Bereaved 3
THAN 523 Dying and Care of the Dying 3
THAN 528 Developmental Perspectives in Thanatology 3

Successful completion of the Certificate in Thanatology requires a minimum grade point average of 3.0.