Grief Support Specialist Certificate

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For registration assistance: 608-262-2451


The 40-hour, fully online Grief Support Specialist Certificate provides a uniquely designed interactive and experiential educational experience. Drawing from a multitude of resources, the course will provide learners with a thorough understanding of grief, while also enhancing and building skills to be able to apply grief support in their personal and professional lives.

How You Will Learn

The course is asynchronous, with weekly deadlines for discussion assignments, but no set meeting times, allowing students to work at their own pace within each week. There is ample time to reflect on course learning and to complete discussion assignments, while also providing a helpful framework to stay on track to complete the certificate and to make the most out of the learning experience.

Learners will have the opportunity to integrate their learning by completing a final project involving a brief (2-3 page) reflection on personal and/or professional learning, including how they might use newly gained tools and content.


A Note from the Instructor

"As the lead instructor for the course, I want to share that one goal behind the certificate is to create more awareness and tools for providing support for loss and grief on both personal and professional levels. I care deeply about having an open and safe atmosphere for exploring and discussing grief and loss."
— Dr. Erica Srinivasan, Lead Instructor of the Grief Support Specialist Certificate

About this Program

The program includes seven weeks of instruction. The fully online format provides a flexible schedule making it possible to earn the certificate without traveling or taking time off work.

Course Learning Objectives

  • Differentiate between various types of losses and types of grief
  • Apply grief theories and concepts to loss experiences
  • Identify how personal and societal factors influence the grieving experience
  • Apply therapeutic grief activities for use in personal and professional life
  • Explain the importance of cultural humility in providing grief support
  • Explain how grief support is a social justice issue
  • Differentiate between vicarious grief and compassion fatigue
  • Develop self-care approaches
  • Clarify skills and values for professional or personal goals related to grief support work
  • Identify tools for exploring and assessing grief, cultural humility, compassion fatigue and self-care
  • Analyze how course content and course materials relate to professional or personal goals related to grief support work
  • Integrate course content to apply to and/or enhance grief support work


Beginner to Advanced

CEUs and Prerequisites

The Grief Support Specialist Certificate provides 4.0 Continuing Education Units (40 hours of professional continuing education) for people in a variety of professions including, but not limited to, psychology, social work, counseling, and marriage and family therapy.

To enroll, we encourage you to have a bachelor's degree and/or at least 3-5 years of experience in social services, non-profit, business, school, health care or counseling settings.

Learn more about CEUs and CE-approved hours.

Program Delivery and Time Commitment

This course is fully online with no real-time requirements. While the course is completely online, it is instructor-facilitated with significant interaction between instructor and student and between students. Participants are able to adjust their involvement in listening to the lectures and doing the assignments according to their personal and professional schedules.

Participants should expect about 5 hours of coursework per week (the lectures and assignments portion); with a final project (2-3 page reflection paper), all of which is included in the 40 hours of instruction. Participants will upload weekly reflections and interact with other participants via discussion boards as well as interaction with the instructor.

It is possible to complete this course successfully while working full-time and caring for a family.

Is Now the Right Time?

If you have had a significant loss within the past year, you may want to consider delaying participation in this program. The content may be difficult to process so soon after your own loss. If this applies to you and you would like to discuss further, please contact Meghan Wilhelmi at meghan.wilhelmi@wisc.edu.

Past Certificate Recipient's Testimonial

"Dr. Srinivasan was my professor in the Grief Support Specialist certification program at the University of Wisconsin. Her course was extremely enriching for me, both professionally and personally. Since completing the certification, I've been able to apply the skills and knowledge I gained in her course to my work as an End-of-Life Doula in supporting the dying and their families. Grief and loss are both understudied, and I feel very lucky to have found a program and a teacher who is not only an expert in the field, but also a kind and personable teacher."
— Emma B., Fall 2023 Grief Certificate

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Course Outline

Intro Week; Oct. 16–Oct. 20

Week 1; Oct. 21–27

Week 2; Oct. 28–Nov. 3

Week 3; Nov. 4–10

Week 4; Nov. 11–17

Week 5; Nov. 18–24

Week 6; Nov. 25–Dec. 1

Week 7; Dec. 2–6

Certificates and documentation of continuing education hours are granted upon satisfactory completion of the program and project and will be sent within four weeks of course completion.

Earn Continuing Education Hours

By participating in this class you will earn:

Instructional Hours 40
University of Wisconsin Continuing Education Units 4
American Psychological Association - Continuing Education Credit 40
Wisconsin Department of Safety and Professional Services - Substance Abuse Counselors - Continuing Education Credit Hours 40
Wisconsin Department of Safety and Professional Services - Marriage and Family Therapists - Continuing Education Credit Hours 40
Wisconsin Department of Safety and Professional Services - Social Workers - Continuing Education Credit Hours 40
Wisconsin Department of Safety and Professional Services - Licensed Professional Counselors 40

Explanation of Continuing Education Hours

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Program Questions?

Contact Meghan Wilhelmi at meghan.wilhelmi@wisc.edu or 608-263-2829

Registration Questions?

Email registrations@pyle.wisc.edu or call 608-262-2451.

Continuing Studies FAQs

Meet your instructor

Erica Srinivasan


(PhD) is an assistant professor of psychology at UW-La Crosse, where she also serves as the director for the Center for Grief and Death Education. She is co-chair for the gerontology emphasis.