Learn to support people and caregivers facing serious and life-limiting illnesses in the 12-credit-hour online Interprofessional Palliative Care Graduate Certificate (IPCC) degree program. The IPCC program can be completed in just 10 months and gives you the flexibility you need to grow your skills for palliative care without putting life on pause.

Implement new strategies and skills in your current career path or set yourself on a new one. With practical assignments and projects, the IPCC program gives you the foundations for offering consultation and care to patients and caregivers facing serious and life-limiting illnesses. After you complete the graduate certificate program, you can easily transition into the Master of Science in Palliative Care (MSPC) program if you choose.

  • Biomedical Professional and Allied Health Professional tracks
  • Fully online with one synchronous virtual weekend intensive
  • Work in and develop palliative care services in your geographic area 
  • Information sessions offered monthly – register to attend and your application fee will be waived
  • Stackable credits – apply credits earned in the certificate toward the MSPC program

Program at a Glance

Degree Program:

Interprofessional Palliative Care Graduate Certificate

Offered By:

Graduate School


Cost Per Credit:


Cost Per Credit:


Credit Hours:





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Palliative Care Certificate Program Details

Interdisciplinary Learning | Walk with people and caregivers through chronic and life-limiting illnesses as you learn to integrate both biomedical and psycho-social-spiritual perspectives into a holistic care plan. The IPCC program gives you the opportunity to learn alongside an interdisciplinary body of student peers, from clinical professionals to death doulas and medical ethicists.

Aligned with Your Profession | No matter what kind of provider you are right now — a physician, nurse, physician assistant, pharmacist, social worker, psychologist, therapist or spiritual care provider — our palliative care certificate provides the foundations for high quality, compassionate care through flexible learning experiences. Our Biomedical Professional and Allied Health Professional tracks provide specialized content in addition to the core curriculum.

Flexible Education | The IPCC program is offered mostly online with one onsite weekend intensive at the Anschutz Medical Campus. Because it was developed with working professionals in mind, you have the flexibility to balance your schedule and take breaks when you need them; however, with a full workload, the graduate certificate can be completed in as few as 10 months.

Graduate Certificate vs Master's Degree Comparison

CU Anschutz offers both a graduate certificate and master’s degree in palliative care, but what’s the difference between the two?

  Interprofessional Graduate Certificate in Palliative Care Master of Science in Palliative Care
Credit Hours 12 33
Time to Completion 10 Months 2 to 7 Years
Curriculum First 12 credit hours of the MSPC program Comprehensive courses in communication, symptom management, ethics and more


Palliative Care Tracks

Biomedical Professional Track
The Biomedical Professional track is open to biomedical providers, including physicians, advanced practice providers, nurses and pharmacists. It offers advanced content in:

  • Clinical health care delivery
  • Pain and symptom management
  • Palliative care for patients with chronic illnesses

Allied Health Professional Track

The Allied Health Professional track is open to allied health professionals, including social workers, spiritual care providers, psychologists, counselors, therapists, child life specialists, grief specialists, death doulas and medical ethicists. In this track, you’ll learn to:

  • Communicate with patients in individual and group settings
  • Provide psycho-social-spiritual care for patients and caregivers
  • Manage ethical concerns while serving on an interdisciplinary palliative care team

Palliative Care Certificate Completion Time

The IPCC program can be completed in as few as 12 months. Students can opt to continue into the master’s degree program after completion, which takes approximately 2 to 7 years to complete. You may choose flexible completion options, but please note that courses are typically offered only once per year.

Curriculum Overview

Online Program | The IPCC program is offered online with one synchronous virtual weekend intensive, which means you can complete the program at the best time and place for you. The program includes one three-day weekend intensive during the third weekend in September. The intensive incorporates experiential learning and facilitates networking, meeting faculty, and resilience exercises.

Core Concepts | The palliative care programs feature problem-based learning with practical coursework aimed at helping you improve palliative care within your community. You’ll learn core concepts of palliative care, communication skills, pain assessment and management, and interdisciplinary team collaboration. Our faculty and leadership are committed to diversity, equity and inclusion for students, and we integrate those values into how we provide care for patients and caregivers.

Interdisciplinary | The certificate offers an interdisciplinary model of learning, which is unique for palliative care and medical education. All students receive a whole-person centered education including physical, psychological, social, ethical, spiritual, cultural/language, and legal aspects of care. The program has been designed to provide incremental feedback and skill-building opportunities. You will learn both biomedical and allied health content side by side for a robust understanding of the material from different lenses.  

Transition to Master's | Additionally, the graduate certificate consists of the first 12 credit hours of the master’s program, which means students who complete the certificate program can transition easily into the master’s program if they choose. If you think you aren’t quite ready for the full master’s degree, the certificate program offers you a short-term test drive.

Example Courses

PALC 6510 Core Concepts, Principles, & Communication Skills
This eight-week online course covers palliative care models, whole-person assessment, self-awareness for the palliative care community specialist, the impact of illness and suffering on the individual, communication skill development, goals of care, and ethics. This course includes online coursework completed before and after a virtual three-day intensive that takes place over a long weekend in September of each year. Students meet with faculty, complete communications training and participate in group work that complements online content.

PALC 6110: Basic Pain Assessment & Management: IDT Care
This course reviews basic pain pathophysiology, assessment, non‐pharmacological interventions, and non‐opioid and opioid pharmacological pain management. Biomedical content is integrated with psychological, social, spiritual, and ethical concerns related to pain.

PALC 6310 Advanced Illness in Special Settings: Parts A & B
Part A covers assessment and management of chronic illnesses (cardiopulmonary, end stage liver and renal diseases) with emphasis on early PC combined with disease-focused therapy, while Part B covers the assessment and management of cancer and HIV with emphasis on early palliative care and disease-focused therapy. In both parts, attention is given to prognostication and transition into palliative/hospice care or discontinuing treatments with bioethical review and IDT support. Students also engage related psycho-social-spiritual-ethics content.

Palliative Care Career Data

The graduate certificate in palliative care is designed to give a broad array of providers — physicians, physician assistants, pharmacists, social workers, spiritual care providers, psychologists, therapists, counselors, child life specialists, death doulas and ethicists — the foundations for working as a Palliative Care (PC) Community Specialist.

PC Community Specialists provide high quality palliative consultation and care to patients and families in their own communities, giving them the choice of treatment outside an academic tertiary medical center. PC Community Specialists represent secondary palliative care. In this comprehensive program, they are:

  • linked to tertiary care experts
  • equipped to bridge a network of services, and
  • prepared to work in and/or develop palliative care services in their geographic areas.

Salary Data for Top Roles Associated with Palliative Care

Annual expected salaries for palliative care roles vary depending on the career field. The palliative care programs at CU Anschutz are designed to prepare nurses, physicians, pharmacists, social workers, psychologists and more.

For example, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported a median salary of $81,220 in 2022 for registered nurses and $85,330 for psychologists. Specializing in palliative care with a graduate degree may increase your earning potential and set you apart from others in your career field. Additionally, many occupations related to palliative care are projected to grow faster than average over the next ten years.

The coursework exceeded my expectations... in the richness of information. I found it to be very powerful and very helpful.

— Mark Speckman | Interprofessional Palliative Care Graduate Certificate Student

Tuition and Fees

Investing in your future is a big decision, and a degree program at CU Anschutz is an investment that will benefit you for years to come. When you earn a degree, you’re not simply getting a diploma — you’re making a lifelong investment in yourself and empowering your future career.

Tuition and fees are based largely on the degree program you enroll in. We know that affordability is an important factor, and that’s why we’re here to help you explore all of the options available to fund your education.  

Financial aid and scholarships may be available for those who qualify.

The Master of Science in Palliative Care and Interprofessional Palliative Care Graduate Certificate programs participate in the Western Regional Graduate Program (WRGP), which is a tuition-reciprocity arrangement with 15 participating states and one commonwealth. The WRGP program allows students who are residents of these participating states to pay in-state tuition for the duration of their degree or certificate program. In addition to Colorado, the participating states include: Alaska, Arizona, California, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oregon, South Dakota, Utah, Washington, Wyoming, and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands.

WRGP tuition-reciprocity is available to all incoming students who qualify. Those wishing to apply for WRGP status must complete the WRGP application and submit it to the Program Administrator upon admission to the program.

Questions about the WRGP program and application process can be directed to the program administrator at palliativecareamc@cuanschutz.edu.

An individual must have been domiciled in Colorado for one calendar year before he or she is entitled to in-state tuition. A domicile is a person's true, fixed, and permanent home. Having a domicile in Colorado involves more than mere physical presence or "residence" in the state. In order to establish a domicile for tuition purposes, there must be 1) physical presence for at least 12 months within the state along with 2) demonstrated intent to make Colorado one’s permanent home. Intent is demonstrated by several kinds of connections with the state dated one year prior to the beginning of classes. Please contact the program administrator for more details.

Admissions Information

A list of required application materials is available through CU Anschutz Palliative Care Admissions.

International Applicants: Please visit the international graduate student admissions page for more information.

Palliative Care Information Sessions

Gather all the information you need to take your next steps in one of our information sessions offered each month tailored to your profession:

  • Nurses and nurse practitioners
  • Physicians and physician assistants
  • Allied health professionals (psychologists, social workers, spiritual care providers)

Each session will give you the opportunity to ask questions about the format, curriculum, outcomes, and more. This is an excellent, no-pressure way to see if the palliative care graduate programs are right for you and learn how continuing your education could fit into your life. 

Your application fee will be waived if you register for an information session! Currently, the application fee is $50 for domestic applicants and $75 for international applicants.

Register now for the next session.

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Take the Next Step

Find the support and flexibility you need to earn your Interprofessional Palliative Care Graduate Certificate at the University of Colorado. Our team is here to help you take the next steps and see the possibilities in yourself, your future, and your education.
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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

No, the IPCC program is offered online. The program includes one three-day weekend intensive completed virtually on the third weekend in September. The intensive is synchronous, which means it is offered live.

CU Anschutz was the first to offer a master’s degree in palliative care in the United States. Our palliative care programs are facilitated and taught by faculty with real-world experience in palliative care, including physicians, physician assistants, nurses, social workers, psychologists, spiritual care providers, and pharmacists.

Our program is truly interdisciplinary, meaning you’ll learn alongside students in other professions with their own unique perspectives on palliative care. Learning online also gives you the flexibility to balance other commitments with your studies and immediately begin integrating what you learn into your current workplace.

Students complete the first 12 credit hours of the MSPC program in the graduate certificate program. Upon completing the IPCC, students may choose to continue their study in the MSPC program. Students who want to continue should contact the program director and administrator for additional details.

Palliative care is available for patients at any stage of a chronic, serious, or life-threatening illness, whereas hospice is offered to patients in the final months of life. Palliative care providers find themselves treating patients across their lifespan. Our palliative care programs will teach you to manage long-term symptoms and pain by integrating both clinical and a psycho-social-spiritual approaches and perspectives.

This program can help you transition to a master's degree, which can help prepare you to take a certification exam. Nurses, social workers, spiritual care providers can take a certification exam through their respective organizations:

  • CHPN/ACHPN through HPNA
  • APHSW-C through SWHPN
  • BCC-PCHAC through BCCI

This program is excellent preparation but not required. Physicians may use the MSPC with the Community-Based Hospice & Palliative Medicine Fellowship program to become board eligible.  The fellowship must be applied to separately from the MSPC.

Typically, information sessions for each professional group are offered once a month. It is free to register for an information session and can give you an opportunity to learn about faculty, ask questions, and investigate whether the program is right for you. If you register for an information session, your application fee will be waived.