What Are You Inspired to Do?


Master of Science in Thanatology

Providing inspired care and support to families in need.

Dealing with issues related to death, dying, loss and bereavement is something that touches everyone. It takes a special kind of person to dedicate his or her life to supporting and assisting those confronting end-of-life and loss issues. It takes compassion and empathy. And it takes an in-depth knowledge of the many processes, psychological and social issues involved with death and grieving. Marian’s Master of Science in Thanatology is designed to deliver that in-depth knowledge and comprehensive training so that you’ll be ready to positively impact lives.

J. McCord ADEC video
Inspired to serve, professor Janet McCord describes how Marian's thanatology program prepares students to help others through grief and loss. Click here to learn more.

The Program
The Master of Science in Thanatology offers an interdisciplinary and scientific study of the dying and grieving process; social attitudes towards death and loss; suicide prevention education; and the social, psychological and medical aspects of death and bereavement. You’ll gain powerful preparation to work with nurses, social workers, chaplains, funeral directors, counselors, law enforcement officers and educators. Our curriculum is aligned with the Association for Death Education and Counseling's (ADEC) Body of Knowledge, which prepares you to take the ADEC Certification exam.

The Convenience
The program is designed for working professionals who are looking to earn their degree without sacrificing their current position or other obligations. You’ll complete the program entirely online, and can take advantage of three different program start times throughout the year. We offer a flexible course sequence, and the program can be completed in two years or less.

The Marian Reputation
A hallmark of the Thanatology program is an accomplished faculty of nationally recognized experts. Our faculty are leaders in the field, regularly publish in significant journals and trade books, are invited to speak at national conferences and bring years of experience working in professional settings. You’ll benefit from their personalized instruction and guidance, and be positioned to form connections with hospitals, hospices, nonprofit organizations and other employers.

Program Information

Degree requirements

To receive the Master of Science in Thanatology, students must meet the following criteria:

  • Completion of coursework with a minimum GPA of 3.00 (on a 4.00 scale)
  • Submission and approval of the final capstone project

36 credits as follows:
18 credits:
THA 605 Foundations of Thanatology, 3 cr.
THA 615 Bereavement Theory and Practice, 3 cr.
THA 625 Theological Perspectives in Thanatology, 3 cr.
THA 630 Thanatology Research Methods, 3 cr.
THA 640 Applied Ethics and the End of Life, 3 cr.
THA 795 Applied Thanatology Capstone, 3 cr.

18 credits from the following:
THA 705 Death in the Lives of Children and Teens, 3 cr.
THA 710 Understanding Suicide, 3 cr.
THA 715 Bereavement after Unnatural Death, 3 cr.
THA 720 Children, Teens, and Suicide, 3 cr.
THA 725 Bereavement Program Development, 3 cr.
THA 730 Suicide Prevention and Postvention, 3 cr.
THA 735 Palliative and Hospice Care, 3 cr.
THA 745 Spiritual Formation and Thanatology, 3 cr.
THA 755 Death and the Literary Imagination, 3 cr.

Tracy Qualmann
Director of Enrollment Partnerships
Adult and Graduate Admission
920-923-7159 OFFICE

Admission Requirements:

To be considered for admission into the Master of Science in Thanatology, the applicant must submit the following:

  • A completed Marian University application form
  • A $50 non-refundable application fee or apply online for free at www.marianuniversity.edu/apply/
  • An official transcript from each college or university attended; Applicants must have an undergraduate degree from a regionally accredited institution.
  • Cumulative GPA of 2.75 on a 4.0 scale. Students may be considered for admission on a probationary status with less than a 2.75 GPA
  • Two confidential recommendation forms or letters of recommendation
  • Career goal statement

Transfer of Credit Policy
Students can transfer up to 9 credits into the graduate program; each possible transferrable course is reviewed individually. Each course must be less than 7 years old.

To apply for the Masters of Science in Thanatology, use the Admissions Checklist. This document will guide you through the process and ensure that you have submitted all of the necessary materials.

The Thanatology Recommendation form is for your use.

Pencil (UG and Grad students)

Fun Fact

Marian enrolls more than 1,600 undergraduate students and 500 graduate students (Source: Marian University Office of Institutional Research, June 2014).

Campus Info

Marian University - Main Campus
45 S. National Ave.
Fond du Lac, WI 54935-4699

CALL: 1-800-2-MARIAN (1-800-262-7426)
EMAIL: admission@marianuniversity.edu  

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