Palliative Care Certificate

Empower yourself to make a meaningful difference in the lives of patients and families facing serious acute, chronic, or life-threatening illnesses.

About the Program

As the demand and recognition for palliative care increases, healthcare employers are placing growing value on crucial skills such as evidence-based pain and symptom management, goals of care communication, advance care planning, care coordination, delivering goal-concordant care, and addressing the social, emotional, and spiritual care needs of patients and their families. Prominent professional bodies, such as the American Nurses Association acknowledges the integral role of palliative care in the practice of all nurses working with patients facing serious illness, and the American Academy of Nursing urges nurses to assume leadership roles in delivering high-quality palliative care and improving access to care for underserved populations and communities, and the American Association of Colleges of Nursing emphasize the integration of palliative care throughout the continuum of care and lifespan. Thus, essential palliative care training holds relevance for nurses across diverse healthcare settings, including acute, ambulatory, home, hospice, community, and long-term care settings.

Program Information


Program Length

12 months

Financial aid available?


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Learning Format

In-person *

Although this program is in-person, to accommodate the busy schedules of our students some courses will be offered in an online or hybrid format.

Program Details


Our Palliative Care Certificate program is both rigorous and flexible, keeping in mind the demands of balancing professional and personal lives. For example, the program is fully online, and the core courses are offered in the evening in an online synchronous format to maintain a highly interactive learning environment (e.g. goals of care communication workshop and interactive interfaith spirituality panel).

To obtain the certification, students will complete three course units, which consist of two required core courses and one elective course. The core courses are Principles of Palliative Care and An Evidence-based Approach to Managing Symptoms in Advanced Illness. These two core courses cover all eight domains of the National Consensus Project Guidelines for Quality Palliative Care.

A list of approved suggested electives is provided. Students can also submit a request for permission to elect a course from Penn Nursing not on this list but will need the program director’s approval.

Click the links below to view the curriculum and plans of study for this program.

View curriculum


Minimum qualifications for the program

BSN and MSN with a minimum GPA of 3.0



International Applicants

Click here for additional requirements

Application Deadlines

2025 Enrollment Deadlines: 

Spring Start: October 15, 2024

Decision Notification: mid-December

Summer Start: March 15, 2025

Decision Notification: mid-April

Fall Start: April 1, 2025

Decision Notification: early-May

*Dates subject to change without notice.

Costs & Tuition

Your program costs will depend on how many course units (CU) you take per semester.

Every student’s living situation and personal expenses are different, but below are the projected academic year Summer and Fall/Spring costs per CU. These can be multiplied by the total number of CUs in your part-time plan of study to estimate the total cost of a program:

School of Nursing certificate programs are not eligible for federal aid. However, some tuition assistance may be available to you via alternative loan programs, please follow this link to find out more: Students can always apply for personal loans through their bank.

Students can also sign up for a payment plan if they do not have tuition reimbursement from their employer or if they can’t pay their bill in full. The link for the Penn Payment Plan is: Penn Payment Plan | Penn Student Registration & Financial Services| Penn SRFS (

Program Outcomes

Our program alumni frequently work in palliative care or incorporate primary palliative care skills in their practice. Several notable alumni of the program have been recognized as Emerging Leaders in Palliative Care by the Hospice and Palliative Nurses Foundation (HPNF).

Briana Morgan

“Because of the high-quality content in the program, I had a strong grasp of the key issues and topics in palliative care that were relevant to nursing practice and the field broadly. These skills were immediately relevant in my clinical practice and also prepared me to get involved in professional organizations and support practice change initiatives on a local and national level.”

Frequently Asked Questions


    When Segregation of Opioid Use Disorder Treatment Threatens Care for People with Coexisting Conditions

    Life becomes very complex for patients who need to manage pain due to cancer or other illness while still receiving methadone treatment for opioid use disorder (OUD). Methadone is a highly effective medication for treating OUD, however, the current U.S. regulatory framework mandates that methadone for OUD is exclusively accessible through federally approved Opioid Treatment Programs, with many individuals required to make daily visits for supervised dosing. This requirement places a significant burden on those with competing health needs, limited access to transportation, living in rural areas or in regions with few or no treatment programs.

Penn Nursing is leading to healthier, more equitable future.

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