Master of Science (MS) Grief and Bereavement Degree

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

Offered By: College of Humanities and Social Sciences

Focus Your Master of Science in Mental Health on Grief and Bereavement

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 with an Emphasis in Grief and Bereavement at Grand Canyon University. This interdisciplinary grief and bereavement training program blends 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 grief and bereavement degree program prepares graduates to serve with compassion and understanding across a variety of settings that may include hospice care agencies, churches, hospitals and community-based organizations. Students will 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.

Gain a Psychosocial View of Grief and Bereavement

The mental health and wellness MS degree with a focus in grief and bereavement provides 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 courses such as Death and Dying: The Influences of Cultural, Spiritual and Sociological Factors, Journey of the Bereaved and Introduction to Mental Health and Wellness, students will 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, all students will complete the Mental Health and Wellness Capstone, which is a practical, real-world exploration of careers within this field.

Promote Wellness in the Face of Loss as a Bereavement Counselor

Grief and bereavement specialists are 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 is in high demand. According to the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization, 1.43 million Medicare beneficiaries were enrolled in hospice care during 2016. Grief and bereavement services are needed in multiple settings, including the following:

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

The innovative Master of Science in mental health and wellness - grief and bereavement training program at GCU prepares graduates to effectively support and assist those who are at the end of life and those who have suffered or will soon suffer the loss of a loved one.

This degree does not lead to counseling or psychology licensure. This degree is 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 licensure.

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Total Credits: 34
Online: 8 weeks
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Up to 12 credits or 1/3 of the total program requirements in transfer (whichever is less)
Online: $565 per credit [More Info]

Course List

34 credits
Total 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.

GCU Evening Student

Grand Canyon University’s evening programs cater to the demands of working professionals who prefer an in-person learning environment. Our night classes meet just once per week and offer the interaction and discussion of a typical college classroom.

* 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.

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