Health Care Ethics (Master’s & Certificate Program)

The Department of Religion, Health and Human Values is currently not accepting applications for the Master of Arts in Health Care Ethics program or the Certificate of Graduate Study in Health Care Ethics program at this time.

If you would like to apply in the future, please contact the College of Health Sciences at

The Department of Religion, Health and Human Values is a practitioner-educator department and is a part of both the hospital and the university. As practitioner-educators, members of the faculty and staff are engaged in both the clinical delivery of care and the education of health care professionals. We provide the programs and resources for the study of human values, including ethics, spirituality, death and dying, as well as pastoral counseling and preparation for careers in health care ethics and clinical chaplaincy at Rush University. We are the home of Chaplaincy Services and the Ethics Consultation Service.

About 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 University Medical Center including Behavioral Medicine, Psychiatry, Preventive Medicine, and Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation. We also work with colleagues from other medical centers such as Northwestern University Medical Center and the University of Chicago Medical Center. 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, and 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, in order 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.

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