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Health Care Ethics (Master’s and Certificate Program)


We provide the programs and resources for the study of human values, including ethics, spirituality, death and dying.

We prepare you for careers in health care ethics and clinical chaplaincy. We are the home of Chaplaincy Services and the Ethics Consultation Service.

The Department of Religion, Health and Human Values is a practitioner-educator department. We are a part of both RUSH University Medical Center and RUSH University.

We are not currently accepting applications for the MA in Health Care Ethics or the Certificate of Graduate Study in Health Care Ethics.

If you would like to apply in the future, please reach out to us.

Our Approach

As practitioner-educators, our faculty and staff are engaged in both the clinical delivery of care and the education of health care professionals.

Program in Ethics

The Program in Ethics coordinates ethics education in the University, in a number of residency programs and in Ethics Grand Rounds.

It offers courses in research ethics and clinical ethics, which are taught by highly qualified faculty, most of whom are clinically experienced ethicists.

Through the program, the department offers a Master of Art in Health Care Ethics and a Certificate of Graduate Study in Health Care Ethics.

The Program in Ethics is coordinated with the Ethics Consultation Service in the Medical Center, which is available at all times to provide ethics consultations for RUSH clinicians, patients and families.

A hospital chaplain blesses the hands of health care providersClinical programs

The Department of Religion, Health and Human Values provides three levels of training in clinical pastoral education (CPE). This includes a quarterly internship program, a yearlong residency and training in supervision.

Students are involved in a clinically focused program aimed at developing comprehensive knowledge and skills in pastoral care within large health care environments.

Through didactic, clinical and integrative seminars, students explore the relationship between religious faith, meaning and purpose, and the behavioral sciences in the interpretation of the human condition. The CPE program is accredited by the Association for Clinical Pastoral Education.

Chaplaincy services

Faculty, residents and interns provide 24-hour-a-day, 365-days-a-year chaplaincy services to patients, families/partners and staff of the Medical Center.

Research in Religion, Health & Human Values

Our research has been supported by departmental and university funds.

We have also received more than $500,000 in grants from other agencies, including the National Institute on Aging, the Fetzer Institute, and the E. Rhodes and Leona B. Carpenter Foundation.

Our research has been recognized with awards from the Association for Clinical Pastoral Education, the Council on Ministry in Specialized Settings, and the Joint Council on Research in Pastoral Care and Counseling.

Collaboration is a hallmark of our research program. Some of our research partners are colleagues in other departments at RUSH, including Behavioral Medicine, Psychiatry, Preventive Medicine, and Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation.

We also work with colleagues from other medical centers, such as Northwestern Medicine and the UChicago Medicine. Some of our recent research partners are the American Cancer Society and the Hastings Center.

Our research is focused in the following areas:

Religious and Spiritual Coping with Illness

Many patients turn to religious or spiritual beliefs and practices for consolation and assistance in response to a crisis. Some individuals are able to find the solace and support they seek in their faith, but others are not. A time of religious/spiritual struggle may follow.

In many cases, this period of religious/spiritual struggle is brief; however, there are some for whom the struggle endures.

Our research seeks to improve our understanding of religion in coping with illness, both its positive and negative elements. We seek to inform spiritual interventions by chaplains and other health care providers.

Race/Ethnicity Related to Religion and Spirituality

There are racial/ethnic differences in religion and spirituality. We seek to understand how these differences influence the relationship between religion/spirituality and health.

Religion, Spirituality and Wellness

There is growing evidence that religion/spirituality can be a protective factor against disease. We are also engaged in research in this area.

Health Care Chaplaincy and Clinical Pastoral Education

Our research examines the work of health care chaplains. We have developed and tested curricula designed to help health care chaplains become research literate.

We have also examined Clinical Pastoral Education programs, including evidence leading to their effectiveness.

Spiritual Assessment

Our department has long been recognized, nationally and internationally, as a leader in the explicit assessment of spiritual needs and resources.

We have played a leading role in developing models for spiritual screening and spiritual assessment.

Measurement of Religion and Spirituality

Research about the relationship between religion/spirituality and health depends on good measures of religion and spirituality.

Our research includes psychometric studies of several of the key instruments used in measuring religion/spirituality.


Some of our research investigates factors that may influence health beyond religion and spirituality.

Health Care Ethics (Master’s and Certificate) Faculty
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Admissions Contact Information

(312) 942-5571

Learn More About the Program

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