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Thanatology, M.A.

Program Director: Elizabeth MacDougall, Ph.D.;  301-696-3892

A Master of Arts program in Thanatology represents an effort to meet the growing demand for individuals prepared to work with the terminally ill and bereaved, as well as persons prepared to provide death education at all levels in a variety of organizations. The student will understand the discipline of thanatology as well as the integration of thanatology to other fields of study. The M.A. program is created and expanded from our thanatology concentration under the existing M.A. in Human Sciences.

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 would be required to make a minimum degree requirement of 33 credits.

For admission information, see Graduate Admission and Program Specific Application Requirements.

Requirements for the Program

Foundation Courses (12 credits):

  • THAN 510 Professional Orientation to Thanatology
  • THAN 520 Introduction to Thanatology
  • PSY 501 Theories of Personality
  • PSY 508 Introduction to Counseling and Helping Skills

Core Thanatology Courses (12 credits):

  • THAN 521 Mourning and Principles of Counseling the Bereaved
  • THAN 523 Dying and Principles of Care for the Dying
  • THAN 528 Developmental Perspectives in Thanatology
  • THAN 529 Historical and Multicultural Perspectives in Thanatology

Additional Requirements (9 credits):

  • PSY 511 Theories and Principles of Counseling

And 6 credits selected from the following:

  • THAN 524 Hospice: Principles and Practices or
  • THAN 527 African-American Perspectives in Thanatology
  • THAN 525 Seminars in Thanatology (1 credit courses)
  • THAN 530 Practicum in Thanatology
  • THAN 595 Independent Applied Research Project

Electives (6 credits):

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

Other courses with the approval of the adviser and program director.

Comprehensive Examination

The program requires a comprehensive examination which will be integrative, not course specific. The comprehensive examination may be taken after completion of the core thanatology courses and THAN 510.