Homepage | Academics | Hospice & Palliative Studies

Why Study Hospice and Palliative Studies at Madonna University?

  • Not accepting applications currently for degree programs. Certificates and specialty concentrations are available. Please contact Advisor Dr. Kelly Rhoades Dumler at kdumler@madonna.edu for more information.
  • First degree program of its kind in the nation
  • Courses taught by faculty with real-world experience
  • Intensive field placements, internships and well-defined capstone projects in hospice/palliative care settings
  • Faculty advisors help you develop a personal plan of student to meet your career goals
  • Burgeoning needs of aging population increases demand for professional coordinated care

The needs of our aging population require more professionals trained in hospice and palliative studies (HPS) to provide end-of-life care for patients, and bereavement support for their grieving families. Our bachelor's, master's and certificate programs include interdisciplinary, cutting-edge content with specialties in integrative medicine, clinical grief counseling/family therapy, nursing home administration, hospice and palliative care nursing, and management. Faculty members share their life experiences and professional skills in the classroom. Prepare to be an advocate and to promote awareness and acceptance of issues related to dying, death and bereavement, in a learning environment where discussions about end-of-life issues are encouraged and embraced.

At Madonna, hospice care is about living fully until we die, promoting connection and healing in relationships and helping each other live meaningful and purpose-driven lives. For many, the degree program becomes a spiritual quest and personal journey to discover the transcendent in everyday life and relationships.

A major or minor in HPS complements other programs, i.e., social work, aging studies, health sciences, criminal justice, nursing, religious studies, and mental health. The Essentials in End-of-Life Care certificate can be completed completely online and will complement your academic program or existing degree.


Grad School

Employers of Alumni

Bereavement Specialist

East Tennessee University

Angela Hospice and Home Care

Education Liaison or Patient/Family Liaison

Madonna University (Pastoral; Hospice)

Arbor Hospice and Homecare

Funeral Home After Care Support

South University

Funeral Homes

Hospice CNA (combined training)

University of Minnesota

Henry Ford Hospices

Hospice Nurse (double major/minor)

University of Southern California

Hospital Palliative Care Programs

Physician Assistant (graduate school)

Wayne State University

Nursing Home and Long-Term Care Facilities

Social Worker (double major/minor)


Sand Castles Grief Support

University Professor (graduate school)


Seasons Hospice and Palliative Care

Volunteer Services Manager

Katylnn Burns

Katylnn Burns '16, graduated with a double major in Hospice and Palliative Studies and Nursing.

“The Hospice and Palliative Studies course work has amplified me on a personal and professional level. Through the course work I was exposed to the various aspects of the experience of dying, and learning about the interdisciplinary team approach to assist the patient and family during their final stages of living. The experiences throughout the program have enhanced my ability to serve others in a dynamic and compassionate manner. My marketability and quantity of job prospects have increased because of my hospice specialty. The overall experience at Madonna University has enriched me spiritually and culturally, which will definitely create a positive impact on the lives of the families that I serve, and in my own life.”

Makenzie Jakuowski

Makenzie Jakuowski
In her own words: "I transferred to Madonna University in 2011 because I was drawn to the smaller class sizes and availability of online and evening classes. After a couple of semesters at Madonna, I realized I was being led to Hospice and Palliative care so I declared that my major. I am glad that I did because through my internship, and prior to graduating, I was able to secure a full time, non-clinical position with a hospice and palliative care agency.
My most notable experience at Madonna was with the professors. I have never met a more compassionate, gracious and supportive group of educators in my life. I am forever grateful to them for allowing me to be a part of their lives, for sharing their life experiences and for the patience and understanding they have shown me. Their passion for hospice truly shows through in their teaching."

Melayna MorioMelayna Morio '10
In her own words: "I started out as a hospice volunteer many years ago. I then worked for that same hospice as a Home Service Aide at a residential facility. When I moved back to Detroit I picked up with volunteering again for an area hospice. I have always appreciated the hospice philosophy and my work and volunteer work with different hospice agencies. I was desiring to finish my 4-year degree and couldn’t decide what to pursue. I had been working as a massage therapist for many years focusing on oncology massage. I had heard about the program at Madonna and thought that since I loved hospice so much, it made sense to finish my BS in the Hospice Education/Palliative Studies program. I loved all of the hospice classes and felt it was a fantastic program. I graduated in May of 2010.
In September of that same year, I began working at Seasons Hospice & Palliative Care as a Patient Family Liaison. This encompassed meeting with patients and family members and discussing hospice with them. If they wanted to move forward with hospice services, I would assist them in completing the appropriate paperwork. I was in that role for 1.5 years until I transferred over to the Volunteer/Bereavement Department. I currently oversee the bereavement volunteers and assist with the coordination of memorial services and our children’s grief camp.

When asked about her course of study and career preparation, Melayna said: “I feel that the education I received at Madonna was comprehensive and it appropriately prepared me to enter the hospice workforce. The hospice classes were in depth and encompassed challenging academics and much inner self work. Both of these aspects were vital in preparation for any job in the hospice field. When I received my degree I felt that I had grown as a person due to the nature of the classes. They really went beyond mere bookwork.”

Nancy WegmannNancy Wegmann'15
In her own words: "My degree in hospice and palliative studies has helped me in so many ways. I learned about being a better listener and it has helped me help families and caregivers get through some of the most stressful and difficult times of their lives. I listen to their concerns and answer their questions about hospice care. I assist caregivers by offering comfort and support during care and after the loss of a client. I am a different person now than I was before I started school at Madonna. I have always been a compassionate person but now I am even more compassionate towards others. It has seemed to make me a better person all around."

What did you like about being a student at Madonna University? "Some of the best times at Madonna University involved the two internship opportunities I had within the hospice program. Spending time within each discipline gave me an understanding of the intricacies involved in the hospice care team. I am so grateful that I interfaced with professional people who mentored me along the way.
As a Madonna student I really appreciated the option to take classes online or on campus. I am a single mother, and going back to school after I graduated from Schoolcraft College was overwhelming. But I felt that I needed to continue on with my education. So now in my mid-40's I am proud to say I received a Bachelor’s degree in Hospice and Palliative Studies! I would not have been able to work a full time job and go to school if the classes weren’t flexible enough to fit into my schedule.
Besides my family, this has been the greatest achievement in my life and I am looking forward to where the path will lead me next. I am proof that one is never too old to set a goal and achieve it no matter what obstacles may come their way."