Learning Outcomes

  • Communication Skills 

    The PC Community Specialist demonstrates expertise in relationship centered communication theory and skills to gather and share information, negotiate shared decision making and plans of care, and sustain relationships with palliative care patients/families and healthcare providers.

  • Expert Symptom Management Skills

    The PC Community Specialist demonstrates expert clinical judgment in performing a comprehensive patient assessment, leading to diagnosis development, implementation, and ongoing reassessment with modification of effective, evidence-based care plans utilizing the skills and expertise of the interdisciplinary team (IDT), for all distressing symptoms experienced by patients with any serious illness.

  • Ethics, Advocacy, and Legal Aspects of Care

    The PC Community Specialist incorporates knowledge of ethical and legal aspects of palliative care into practice by exhibiting the highest professional standards and by advocating for the rights of patients/families to access optimal palliative care.

  • Spiritual, Religious and Existential Aspects of Care

    As part of the IDT, the PC Community Specialist demonstrates and promotes spiritually sensitive care, respecting diversity in all forms, for patients/families and other health care professionals.

  • Social and Cultural Aspects of Care

    As part of the IDT, the PC Community Specialist demonstrates respect for diverse communities through culturally sensitive skills, recognizing how social and economic barriers and challenges impact the delivery of health care services.

  • Psychological Aspects of Care

    As part of the IDT, the PC Community Specialist effectively addresses psychological concerns, and promotes access to expanded resources for all patients/families living with any serious illness.

  • Integration of Palliative Care for patients throughout the course of any serious illness in all venues

    The PC Community Specialist effectively advocates to provide evidence-based palliative care for patients/families and supports and develops expanded resources for all patients/families living with any serious illness.

  • Effective Palliative Care Educator

    The PC Community Specialist demonstrates knowledge, skills, and applies adult learning principles when providing palliative care education to patients, families, healthcare professionals, and the community.

  • Systems Thinking

    The PC Community Specialist demonstrates understanding of the healthcare system to effectively manage and utilize resources to support patients/families living with any serious illness and advocates for the reform of healthcare systems to provide optimal palliative care.



To fulfill the requirements for a Master of Science in Palliative Care, students must successfully complete 36 credit hours over a minimum of 2 years but not to exceed 7 years (although students may choose a pace that fits their lifestyle). Students seeking the Interprofessional Graduate Certificate will complete the first 12 credit hours.



Online Instruction and Intensive

Core Concepts, Principles, & Communication Skills

Basic Pain Assessment & Management: IDT Care

6 credit hours



Online Instruction

IDT symptom management: Part A

IDT symptom management: Part B

6 credit hours



Online Instruction and Intensive

Communication Skill Refinement: IDT Collaboration

3 credit hours



Online Instruction

Advanced Illness in Special Settings: Part A

Advanced Illness in Special Settings: Part B

6 credit hours



Online Instruction

Advanced Illness in Special Settings: Part C

Advanced Concepts in Pain Management

6 credit hours



Online Instruction and Intensive

Palliative Care Integrated in Your Community


3 credit hours


Throughout Program

Online Instruction

Capstone Project Preparation: Overview

Capstone Project Preparation: Literature Review

Capstone Project Preparation: Proposal



Description of Courses


Technology Requirements

MSPC Program Computer Requirement

The program highly recommends that each student have a laptop computer with the following specifications:

  • 64-bit quad core CPU
  • OpenGL-compatible graphics card (with at least 1 GB RAM)
  • SSD drive (solid state drives are much faster than ordinary drives, but hold less data)
  • Assess to reliable high speed internet
  • Camera, speaker and microphone for participation in on-line seminars

Computer Operating Systems and Internet Browsers

Didactic coursework is managed through the Canvas program connected to CU Online. Canvas is designed to work on either PC or Mac computers and supports Microsoft Internet Explorer and Mozilla Firefox.


Microsoft Office® software version 2003 or later is required, including Microsoft Word® and PowerPoint®. Many of the courses use slide shows developed using PowerPoint. Having the full program makes it possible to modify slides to black and white for printing, to reformat the slides as note pages or handout formats, and to make other helpful modifications. Students will be required to prepare PowerPoint slides in at least one course. Microsoft Office software is available at discounted rates through the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus Bookstore as either the standard or professional version. Other software in the Microsoft Office package is not required.

Adobe Acrobat® is required to read and print some of the handouts and papers students receive as PDF files. A free downloadable version is available on Adobe's web site. Many audio lectures for courses are provided in MP3 format, which allows lectures to be played with a variety of software including: Windows Media Player®, Quicktime®, iTunes® or Real Player®. All of these are available free on the Internet. The free versions of these programs are sufficient for the audio files; you do not need to purchase a media player.

Internet Access

High-speed access, such as cable or DSL, is not absolutely required but highly recommended. Students will download many large files from the Internet to the computer and listen to many audio lectures. If high-speed access is not available, students should consider installing a second phone line for dedicated computer use.

Attendance to the program is dependent on internet access. Because the online course work is available wherever there is Internet access, it is usually possible to accomplish coursework, even when away from home.