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    Saybrook University
  Apr 25, 2024
2023-2024 Academic Catalog and Student Handbook with Spring Addendum 
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2023-2024 Academic Catalog and Student Handbook with Spring Addendum

Contemplative End of Life Care Certificate

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Overview of Program

The ​Contemplative End of Life Care Certificate provides healthcare professionals with the skills and understanding to better tend to the psychospiritual needs of the chronically ill and the dying. Palliative and end of life care are interdependent interdisciplinary support, delivered to enhance the quality of life and symptom management of those experiencing chronic and life limiting illness, including terminal disease processes.

Contemplative end-of-life care focuses on the spiritual aspects of existential pain and suffering, it is a holistic approach to providing psychosocial support, comfort, and care given during the time leading up to and surrounding death. The Contemplative End of Life Care Certificate program is dedicated to joining with other nationally recognized curriculums advancing innovative and revolutionary responses to promoting high quality integrative, palliative and end of life care, grounded in mind-body-spirit, person-centered approaches. This certificate is designed to prepare students with the essential professional competencies for providing compassionate, skillful care that tends to the emotional, spiritual, and practical needs of individuals and their families who are living with life limiting and terminal illness.

The 12-credit certificate program is interdisciplinary and designed to appeal to students currently enrolled in a Saybrook University masters or doctoral program, who have an interest in providing palliative and end of life care and services. External students/students at large are eligible to enroll. The curriculum is applicable to individuals working in different settings such as clinical care, coaching, administration, consulting, teaching, and research. The certificate will augment degrees in psychology, social work, integrative healthcare, chaplaincy, and hospice/palliative care volunteers.

Note: This certificate does not lead to licensure. Students will gain courses and experience applicable toward certification by the Association of Death Education and Counseling (Certificate in Thanatology, Death, Dying, and Bereavement, Fellow in Thanatology, Death, Dying, and Bereavement). Some additional requirements are not included in the Saybrook courses. 

Program Learning Outcomes

  1. ​​Explain the influence of biopsychosocial factors on general health and wellbeing and the implications for individuals, organizations, and/or communities. 
  2. Describe and apply the foundational values, ethical principles, and best practices of the field to oneself and others. 
  3. Apply cultural humility, diversity awareness, and inclusion to support health equity and social justice in healthcare systems. 
  4. Articulate the application of self-reflection and self-care skills.  
  5. Assess and synthesize evidence, theories, and established practices in integrative healthcare. 
  6. Critically evaluate research methods and apply published research. 
  7. Compose original, grammatically correct, coherent, concise, and well-articulated written work in APA style.​ 

Career Opportunities

​​Graduates will provide direct care and education for clients with chronic conditions and those approaching end of life. ​ 

Program Requirements

Admissions Requirements

​​Applicants for the non-degree Contemplative End of Life Care Certificate must submit the following documents: 

  1. An official transcript from an accredited university demonstrating successful completion of an undergraduate degree, with a 3.0 GPA or better; 
  2. Professional resume or CV; 
  3. Personal statement; and 
  4. The Department chair may require a writing sample if applicants submit a personal statement that contains any grammatical mistakes, spelling errors, or poorly organized text.

University Learning Experience

Virtual Learning Experience (VLE) - Required, Community Learning Experience (CLE) - Optional

All new students begin their studies with a Welcome Week. Welcome Week activities, including a certificate program orientation, are held online during the week ahead of the start of the fall and spring semesters. Participation is strongly encouraged.

Students enrolled in MBM certificate programs must attend any residential, university, or virtual learning experience as required for the courses in which they choose to enroll. Refer to the course descriptions for requirements.


​​Students should expect to spend approximately 40 hours per every 1 credit hour, or 120 hours of schoolwork for each 3-credit course, engaged in schoolwork (e.g., reading, watching videos, completing assignments, and more). Therefore, students should anticipate spending approximately 8 hours per week on schoolwork for each 15-week course. The actual time needed will vary by course, by week, and by student.​ 

Mode of Delivery

​​Most of the coursework is conducted online and at a distance, so students can live and work anywhere in the world as they engage with faculty and peers. The classes incorporate a variety of instructional and assessment methods including asynchronous discussion forums, live videoconferences, interactive web-based activities, and written assignments. In addition, the MBM department utilizes virtual and residential learning experiences for real-time training, to support online classes. These virtual and residential learning conferences are usually held at the start of the spring and fall semesters. 
Fall and spring semesters are 15 weeks; summer courses are 8 or 12 weeks long. 

Length of Program

The average time to complete the 12-credit CEOL certificate requirements can be completed within four semesters (e.g., 1.5 years). The timing depends on the course rotation schedule.

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