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Thanatology, M.A./Certificate


The Hood College Graduate School Thanatology program is one of the few in the United States specifically designed to prepare people to work in this emerging field and the only program of this type in Maryland. Certificate and master's coursework prepares individuals to work with the terminally ill and the bereaved and to provide death education.

Exploring death along the lifespan

Hood’s unique interdisciplinary approach affords a combination of theory, research and practical skills that can be used in a broad range of occupations and organizations. Students examine the interplay among the physical, psychological, interpersonal and spiritual needs of the living and the dying across the lifespan.

Expansion and enrichment

Both the certificate and master’s degree programs increase understanding and proficiency for those working in the funeral industry, hospice, hospitals, nursing homes and other health care environments. They also appeal to graduate students embarking on new careers and to psychologists, social workers, counselors and teachers who want to expand into this area. Content conforms to Association for Death Education and Counseling benchmarks for certification, a credential that can further validate career professionalism and commitment.

Certificate or master’s degree

The 12-credit certificate program is intended for professionals in the thanatology field and those already licensed or certified in human service fields. Many students complete the certificate requirements first, and then pursue the in-depth 39-credit master’s degree program. Evening and weekend classes and a two-week intensive summer session accommodate working professionals. Hood’s Gerontology certificate program offers a natural complement to thanatology.

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Program Director:
Elizabeth MacDougall, Ph.D.



Assistant Director of Graduate Admissions:
Edie Steele