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The Certificate in Theology and Health Care (CTHC) can be completed in a flexible hybrid format combining two weeks in person and eight months of online learning.

Combining deep formation in Christian thought with practical spiritual disciplines, mentorship, seminars, retreats, and partnership with health-related ministries, the Fellowship equips participants for a lifetime of wise and faithful healing work.  The Fellowship is open to current and future students and practitioners in any of the health professions, as well as to others whose vocations involve full-time work in health-related contexts (e.g., public health workers, chaplains, and hospital administrators). One- and two-year tracks are available for students completing the full-time residential fellowship.

TMC Fellows on the one-year track receive 50% tuition grants. TMC Fellows on the two-year track also receive 50% tuition grants. A limited number of 75% to 100% full-tuition scholarships are available for MTS students.

Be Equipped

For centuries Christians have thought of attending to those who are sick as work that can and should be engaged as Christian vocation. But what does it look like to faithfully live into a vocation in health care today? How do Christians wisely navigate and faithfully confront the moral and spiritual challenges that fill American healthcare? How can they bear witness to and participate in the healing ministry of Christ in these confusing times?

Be equipped to wisely and faithfully respond to these questions as you participate in formal academic study, spiritual formation, mentoring, weekly seminars, church and community-based practicums, and semi-annual retreats.

Join a Community of Health Care Practitioners

Join like-minded colleagues on a journey to discover the resources of Christian tradition that will help you to reimagine and reengage your work Christianly, with clarity and joy.

Immerse Yourself in Study and Formation

Savor the chance to spend one or two years away to read, listen, think, and rest, with all of the resources of a world-class Christian divinity school at your fingertips.

Be Part of the Healing

Engage questions of suffering, illness, healing, and the place of health care in a faithful life, while developing the knowledge and skills you will need to encourage and teach others wherever your work in health care takes you.

Learn More About Applying

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“This program has been the most personally and professionally enriching experience of my life. I’m more aware of offering up my practice as worship to God – both my medical practice and my practice of daily life. The ability to do something in an online format has been the only thing that’s allowed me to study [at Duke University].”

The Certificate in Theology and Health Care is designed for those who have vocations in health care and who seek theological training that equips them to do their work with clarity, faith, and joy.

  • The Health Care Track is designed for those who are working in general medical contexts (e.g., trainees or practitioners of medicine, nursing, occupational and physical therapy, and other health care professions).
  • The Mental Health Track is designed for those working in mental health contexts (e.g., trainees or practitioners in social work, clinical psychology, marriage & family therapy, psychiatric nursing, counseling, psychiatry, and licensed addiction counseling). This track can be completed in the Hybrid Online Certificate program.

The CTHC can be completed in-residence, but most participants will complete the program through a hybrid flexible format that includes two separate weeks in residence at Duke University and eight months of synchronous content (meeting with others at set class times) and asynchronous content (working on your own time using an online platform).

Curriculum

The course curriculum involves three primary components, parts of which are shared by all CTHC students and parts of which are track-specific.

In addition to coursework, all CTHC students are invited to participate in (1) the bimonthly public TMC Seminar Series; (2) a series of virtual Trauma, Theology, and Care seminars held during the academic year (limited to Duke Divinity students and faculty), and (3) a series of virtual professional writing and networking seminars held during the academic year (limited to Hybrid CTHC students and residential TMC fellows).


Learn more about graduation requirements, program costs, and financial aid.

  • Cultivating Christian Imagination, a two-semester course that combines scripture, history, and theology in a sweeping tour of Christian tradition and the practices of Christian communities
  • Health Care in Theological Context I, a fall survey course that engages health, healing, illness, suffering, and disability by focusing on Jesus’ healing ministry, the history of Christian innovation in health care and mental health care, Christian engagement with suffering and biotechnology, Christian approaches to public health and mental health care, and the relationship between health and land. 
  • Health Care in Theological Context II, a spring survey course that engages health, healing, illness, disability, and suffering by focusing on Christian commitments at the beginning and end of life, the meaning of health and the scope of medicine, equity and justice in health care, and the ethics of the clinician-patient relationship.
  • Spiritual Formation and Vocation in Health Care, a two-semester course that combines best practices of scripture reflection, Christian spiritual formation and disciplines, and mentoring as students discern what faithful practices look like in their own contexts. Students in the Health Care and Mental Health tracks participate together in the fall and separate – by track – in the spring.

Please note that Cultivating Christian Imagination and Health Care in Theological Context both participate in the broader Duke community. Students from different degree programs at Duke Divinity School will also be in these classes.

  • Cultivating Christian Imagination, a two-semester course that combines scripture, history, and theology in a sweeping tour of Christian tradition and the practices of Christian communities
  • Health Care in Theological Context I, a fall survey course that engages health, healing, illness, suffering, and disability by focusing on Jesus’ healing ministry, the history of Christian innovation in health care and mental health care, Christian engagement with suffering and biotechnology, Christian approaches to public health and mental health care, and the relationship between health and land. 
  • Christian Approaches to Mental Health Care, a spring survey course that engages Christian approaches to mind, body, creatureliness, and personhood; the history of Christian innovation in mental health care; the relationship of Christian thought to modern psychology, psychiatry, and psychotherapy; and a holistic Christian theology of mental health and mental health problems.
  • Spiritual Formation and Vocation in Health Care, a two-semester course that combines best practices of scripture reflection, Christian spiritual formation and disciplines, and mentoring as students discern what faithful practices look like in their own contexts. Students in the Mental Health Track study along with Health Care Track students in the fall and meet only with Mental Health Track students in the spring.
  • Mental health track students will also be matched with a mental health clinician mentor for regular meetings during the academic year.

Please note that Cultivating Christian Imagination and Health Care in Theological Context both participate in the broader Duke community. Students from different degree programs at Duke Divinity School will also be in these classes.

Participants who complete the program will receive the Certificate in Theology and Health Care as well as academic credit (six courses) that can be applied toward any master’s degree at Duke Divinity School. More importantly, you will gain skills as you reflect on how your Christian faith matters for your work in health care and mental health care, discerning practical steps you can take to bring greater alignment between what you genuinely value and what you do each day.

The Certificate will help you to cultivate several specific skills and practices:

  • Attention: Health care is often so rushed and pressured that it is hard to pay attention to ourselves, to those around us, to the institutions and structures that govern our work, and especially to God. This program will help you to gain practices for noticing and responding to the presence of God and the movement of the Holy Spirit in the midst of health care practice.
  • Articulacy: Modern health care disciplines are at most 200 years old. But Christians have inherited thousands of years of profound reflection on what it means to be human and what it means to confront illness and death in a world that God loves. In this program you will cultivate what the philosopher Charles Taylor calls articulacy, finding language within the Bible and Christian tradition to describe what modern health care is for, how and why modern health care is broken, and what is good and beautiful about everyday practices of caring for those who are sick and suffering.
  • Agency: Far too many clinicians feel burned out and unable to act with purpose and integrity in the complex world of health care. In this program you will practice discerning what is genuinely worthwhile and then to act toward that purpose with clarity, courage, and joy.  

When do classes meet?

  • This program and its schedule is designed to work for health care practitioners, both practicing clinicians and those in training. Synchronous online sessions for the health care track occur in the evenings between 6:45pm and 9:30pm ET. Synchronous online sessions for the mental health track occur in the evenings between 6:45pm and 9:30pm ET with the exception of the spring Christian Approaches to Mental Health Care course, which will meet weekly for 1 hour during the business day.

How often do classes meet?

  • After the on-campus immersive weeks in August and January, Health Care in Theological Context and Cultivating Christian Imagination each meet for 60 to 75 minutes once weekly for 8 weeks, with two reading weeks over the course of the semester. Typically these classes will be offered back-to-back on Tuesday evenings. Spiritual Formation and Vocation in Health Care will meet primarily during the two immersive weeks on Duke’s campus (including a half day retreat each time), with 4-6 additional online meetings over the course of each semester. After the spring immersive week, Christian Approaches to Mental Health Care will meet for 8 weeks for 1 hour during the business day.

I will be in a clinical training program while completing the Hybrid CTHC. My schedule may be unpredictable or may, at times, prevent me from attending every synchronous class meeting. Is there flexibility for me to miss classes?

  • All synchronous courses are recorded and subsequently available to all students for viewing. We recognize that students will occasionally have to miss a class session. The program is designed, however, in a way that expects students to participate in synchronous sessions, and we have found that with enough advance notice, clinical trainees often can adjust their schedules in order to attend evening sessions. If you anticipate that regular attendance will prove difficult, please contact us about this in advance of applying.

Can I complete the Hybrid CTHC at a slower pace, taking perhaps one or two classes per semester rather than the normal three-course load?

  • Because one of the key benefits of the program is building community with other practitioners in your cohort, the Hybrid CTHC program is designed to be completed over the course of one academic year. We strongly recommend that participants make the adjustments that will enable them to complete the program requirements in one year. That said, we welcome individual conversation with you to determine if an alternate course schedule may be feasible. Contact us if this is a question for you.

Can I take electives as a Hybrid CTHC student?

  • Yes! While there are no elective requirements for the completion of the Hybrid CTHC program, students may take in-person or hybrid electives at Duke Divinity School. Completing an elective will come at additional cost.

Is there any financial assistance available to cover the cost of the Flexible CTHC?

  • An education from Duke Divinity School is worth your investment and you do not have to figure out the finances alone. For the 2023-2024 academic year, tuition and fees for the hybrid CTHC are $18,800. All accepted students are granted a 25% Emerging Leaders Scholarship, which makes the total cost $14,100. Due to generous donor support, a select number of additional 25% scholarships will be awarded to students accepted into the Mental Health Track of the Hybrid Certificate in Theology and Health Care. Other internal and/or external scholarships, as well as federal financial aid in the form of loans, make it possible for students to afford Duke Divinity. Individuals who are working while completing the CTHC may find sources of support (i.e. Employee Tuition Assistance Programs or continuing education funds) from their home institutions. FAFSA should be completed for external aid. More information can be found in our Financial Aid section

Learn More About the Program

Watch to learn more about our flexible program, and how it can strengthen your vocation and theological grounding.
Duke Divinity School offers a new track for the Certificate in Theology and Health Care. Learn about the newest track available to students with a vocation in health care.
Karen Frush, MD, flexible Certificate in Theology and Health Care student, shares about her experience of discovering theological resources and a community of like-minded colleagues to nourish her vocation during her time at Duke Divinity School.
Georgina Keene, physician assistant and Certificate and Theology and Health Care alumna, shares about being equipped not just for a job, but for a way of being--the way of Jesus.

Recommend a Prospective Student

Recommend a prospective student for our TMC Fellowship or Certificate program. Contact us with the name and short description, including current position and institution, for the student you are recommending.