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Thanatology Certificate


The Thanatology program offered at the Hood Graduate School in Frederick, Maryland, is one of the few and best in the United States and the only one of this type available in Maryland. The certificate coursework specifically 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

The certificate increases understanding and proficiency for those working in the funeral industry, hospice, hospitals, nursing homes and other health care environments. It appeals 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.


The 12-credit certificate program is intended for professionals in the thanatology field and those already licensed or certified in human service fields. Evening and weekend classes accommodate working professionals.

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Program Director:
Brenda Schildknecht-Hargett



Assistant Director of Graduate Admissions:
Jan Marcus