Master’s in Mental Health and Wellness: Grief and Bereavement Emphasis

Master of Science in Mental Health and Wellness with an Emphasis in Grief and Bereavement

Offered By: College of Humanities and Social Sciences

Provide Support During Times of Grief and Loss

The loss of a loved one is an incomparable event that can give rise to a number of mental, emotional and spiritual challenges. During these difficult times, the comfort of a grief and bereavement specialist can make a world of difference for individuals and families.

If you feel called to serve those in need, you could earn your Master of Science in Mental Health and Wellness at Grand Canyon University (GCU). The grief and bereavement training courses blend together the studies of human nature, human development and psychopathology as they pertain to loss.

Offered by the College of Humanities and Social Sciences, this degree program teaches graduates how to serve with compassion and understanding across a variety of settings. As a student, you will have the opportunity to closely examine the nature of grief and bereavement, understand its many effects on human wellness and learn how to promote healthy behaviors and responses to loss.

The grief and bereavement emphasis is designed for the working professional who wants to advance their education and career in the mental health field. The program requires 34 credits to completion and the online courses allow you the flexibility to pursue a graduate degree while remaining available for your other commitments.

As a GCU student, you have access to knowledgeable faculty and online learning resources to help you succeed in your academic journey.

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Pursue Grief and Bereavement Training

The MS in Mental Health and Wellness teaches foundational knowledge in human nature, human resiliency and the recovery process. Students are encouraged to contemplate their Christian worldview as they study professional ethics, servant leadership, cultural sensitivity and ethical decision-making. In the online courses, you will have the opportunity to acquire the following knowledge and skills:

  • Understand mental health and wellness practices and approaches, including basic treatment modalities
  • Explore the typical biopsychosocial responses to grief and loss, examine healthy and unhealthy responses to loss and explore grief from the shared perspective of family and community
  • Examine the cultural, spiritual and societal influences of the human experience and understanding of death and dying
  • Explore research, theories and case studies on the sociocultural dimensions of death and dying, with a focus on end of life issues

In addition, you will complete the Mental Health and Wellness Capstone, which is a practical exploration of careers within the grief and bereavement field.

Career Opportunities for Graduates

Specialists in the grief and bereavement field need to be emotionally resilient individuals who possess a high level of empathy and compassion for those who are suffering. As an aspiring mental health professional, you could dedicate your career to nurturing the emotional resiliency of your clients who are struggling to come to terms with the loss of their loved ones, as well as those who are facing their own terminal illnesses.

As a career path, grief and bereavement services are needed nationwide. While the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) does not report specific data for mental health administrators, it does have data for medical and health service managers, which is a related occupation. According to the BLS, 56,600 jobs are projected to open each year, on average, for medical and health services managers from 2021 to 2031.1 Mental health professionals can work in a variety of settings, including:

  • Hospice facilities and in-home programs
  • Churches and other Christian organizations
  • Hospitals
  • Schools
  • Social service agencies
  • Community-based health and social service groups

Receive Accredited Grief and Bereavement Training

GCU and its degree programs are accredited by the Higher Learning Commission. This master’s-level program is a non-licensure program geared toward individuals who are currently working in or plan to work in an administrative position, in a leadership role or in a mental health specialist position that does not require counseling or psychology licensure.

Master of Science in Mental Health and Wellness: Grief and Bereavement Emphasis FAQs

For those looking to specialize in grief and bereavement, please review our answers to these frequently asked questions.

If you have a passion for helping people and feel called to serve those who are struggling with loss and the grieving process, then earning a degree with a focus in grief and bereavement is worth your consideration. This graduate degree is ideal for those who want to pursue an administrative or leadership role within the mental health field.

In order to practice as a grief counselor, you will first want to earn a bachelor’s degree in psychology, counseling or a related field. Next, you will need to earn a master’s degree in counseling, psychology or social work and gain some work experience, preferably in a mental health setting. Then you’ll need to apply for licensure in your state. The master’s in mental health and wellness at GCU does not lead to licensure, but supports those looking for leadership or specialist positions in the grief and bereavement field.

While grief and bereavement can overlap and act in similar ways, they are different. Grief is described as an emotional response to any type of loss. Bereavement is the time period when a person experiences grief after the loss of a loved one.2

If you feel called to offer support and encouragement to those impacted by grief and loss, complete the form on this page to speak with a university counselor about your next steps.

1 COVID-19 has adversely affected the global economy and data from 2020 and 2021 may be atypical compared to prior years. The pandemic may impact the predicted future workforce outcomes indicated by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics as well. Accordingly, data shown is effective September 2022, which can be found here: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Medical and Health Services Managers, retrieved June 15, 2023.

2 Pathways Home Health and Hospice. (n.d.). Are Grief and Bereavement the Same Thing? Retrieved on July 11, 2023.

Total Credits: 34
Online: 8 weeks
[More Info]
Up to 12 credits or 1/3 of the total program requirements in transfer (whichever is less)
Online: $590 per credit
[Tuition, Fees and Financial Aid]

Cost of Attendance

Course List

34 credits
Degree Requirements:
34 credits

Core Courses

Course Description

This course is designed to prepare students for the graduate learning experience at Grand Canyon University. Students have opportunities to develop and strengthen the skills necessary to succeed as graduate students in the liberal arts. Emphasis is placed on utilizing the tools for graduate success.

Course Description

This course is an introductory course in mental health and wellness practices. The purpose of the course is to develop a basic understanding of mental health and wellness practices and wellness approaches. An overview of mental health disorders, basic overview of treatment practices, and the Dimensions of Wellness are covered.

Course Description

This course covers ethics and cultural diversity as it relates to mental health and wellness. The history of ethics is addressed, including how early ethical models evolved into modern ethical codes in the mental health and wellness professions. How ethics relates to legal standards and issues such as records and billing are addressed. Cultural diversity, sensitivity, and competence are covered.

Course Description

This course covers the history of grief theory research. It investigates common experiences of individuals experiencing a loss. The various forms of loss and the unique characteristics of grievers are examined. Resources for grief and bereavement are covered.

Course Description

This course reviews typical biopsychosocial responses to grief and loss. It Identifies and eliminates myths surrounding the grief process and thoroughly examines healthy and unhealthy ways of coping with loss. The course looks at grief from the shared experience of family and community.

Course Description

This course introduces the concept of death in society. Students examine research, theories, and case studies on the sociocultural dimensions of death and dying with a focus on end of life issues and grief management.

Course Description

This course explores how culture, spirituality, and society shape our understanding and experience of death and dying. While grief and loss are universal, how they are conceptualized and practiced around the world are largely determined by the confluence of these factors. Students become aware of how each of these overlapping areas have influenced their own views of death and dying as well as grasp a deeper understanding of others who are grieving.

Course Description

This course provides a comprehensive understanding of mental health, wellness, and health care, including the integration of these three fields. The course covers common mental health disorders, treatments, and supportive services, as well as an integrated focus on the mind and the body. The course examines the health challenges often faced by individuals with behavioral or mental health disorders, and it reviews appropriate services, interventions, preventative services, and treatments to achieve and maintain health and wellness.

Course Description

This course provides a practical, real-world exploration of the mental health and wellness field. Special focus is given to careers in mental health and wellness. The common duties and tasks performed by workers in the mental health and wellness field are investigated. Concepts covered throughout the program are examined through practical application. This course is the last course in the program of study; all other course work must be completed before this course.


GCU Online Student

Pursue a next-generation education with an online degree from Grand Canyon University. Earn your degree with convenience and flexibility with online courses that let you study anytime, anywhere.

* Please note that this list may contain programs and courses not presently offered, as availability may vary depending on class size, enrollment and other contributing factors. If you are interested in a program or course listed herein please first contact your University Counselor for the most current information regarding availability.

* Please refer to the Academic Catalog for more information. Programs or courses subject to change.