Christian theological training for any healthcare practitioner

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

The Certificate in Theology and Health Care (CTHC) offers robust and practical theological formation for clinicians seeking to inhabit contemporary medicine and healthcare faithfully and creatively.


Forge relationships with other clinicians as you together seek to reimagine and reengage your work Christianly.

Engage Christian tradition and the practices of Christian communities while studying the church’s best thinkers regarding the intersection of theology and health care.  

Work with professors, spiritual directors, mentors, and fellow clinicians to discern what faithful practices look like in your context.

Complete the program in a format that is adaptable to your work schedule and local context, combining two weeks in person at Duke University with eight months of live online (synchronous and asynchronous) learning.

Engage questions of suffering, illness, healing, and the place of health care in a faithful life with particular attention to your own institution and with your own communities in mind.

The Certificate in Theology and Health Care is designed for those who have vocations in health care (e.g., trainees or practitioners of medicine, nursing, occupational and physical therapy, and other health care professions), and who seek theological training that equips them to do their work with clarity, faith, and joy.

The CTHC can be completed in-residence, but most participants will complete the program through a flexible format that includes two separate weeks in residence at Duke University, and eight months of synchronous and asynchronous work using an online platform.

The course curriculum involves three primary components: 1) 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; 2) Health Care in Theological Context, a two-semester course on the intersection of theology and medicine; and 3) 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. 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.

Certificate Description and Requirements (pdf)

To learn more about graduation requirements, program costs, and financial aid, click here.

Benefits of the Program

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, 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.
  • 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. To accommodate participants from different time zones, synchronous online sessions occur in the evenings between 6:45pm and 9:30pm ET.

How often do classes meet?

  • After the on-campus intensive weeks in August and January, Health Care in Theological Context and Cultivating Christian Imagination each meet for 60 to 75 minutes once weekly for 9 weeks. 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.

I will be in a clinical training program while completing the Flexible 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 Flexible 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 Flexible 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 2021-2022 academic year, tuition is $17,200 for tuition and fees. All accepted students are granted a 25% Emerging Leaders Scholarship, which makes the total cost $12,900. Many other internal and external scholarships, as well as federal financial aid in the form of loans, make it possible for students to afford Duke Divinity. FAFSA should be completed for external aid. More information can be found in our Financial Aid section

All applicants must apply for admission to Duke Divinity School through the online ChooseDuke portal.  Once in the portal select the “Divinity non-degree” pathway.   Please visit the divinity admissions page for more information on application requirements and deadlines.

Admission to the program is by application and is not available to students currently enrolled in a degree program of the Divinity School.

For admission to both certificate and degree-seeking programs, Duke Divinity School Admissions reviews only Duke Divinity School applications. If you are applying to complete the full-time residential version of the CTHC as a TMC Fellow, please indicate this in your statement of purpose.

Application Timelines:

“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].”

Read more about Dr. Amanda Lucashu’s experience in the flexible hybrid CTHC program here.

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