Master “Leadership in Palliative Care”

Welcome to the information page of the Master “Leadership in Palliative Care”. Here you can find first information about our international Master’s programme, which is planned to start in the near future For more detailed information on the programme, please click on the links provided below.

Semester structure
1 2 3 4

Change Leadership


Evidence Based Leadership


Leadership for Practice


Leadership in Teams


Advocacy in Leadership



until March 

Master thesis

Service Development

Blended Learning by St. Christopher’s Hospice


  • The overall aim of the programme is to equip leaders with necessary competencies to advance palliative care internationally and to address future challenges in the field.

The qualification goals

A. Scientific qualification. Graduates will be able to…

      1. … apply current research methods for evaluating the quality of palliative care supply in order to further extend the evidence base.
      2. … critically evaluate national and international palliative care policies using appropriate research designs in order to extend the evidence base concerning cross cultural perspectives.
      3. … critically apply principles of service development within a personal practice project in order to implement positive change in palliative care delivery.
      4. … develop evidence-based leadership competencies for practice in a changing health care environment where palliative care is evolving to meet the demands of a global society.

B. Qualification for skilled employment. Graduates will be able to…

      1. … interact effectively, confidently and strategically with a range of professions, health care authorities and agencies both nationally and internationally, in order to advocate for the development of palliative care.
      2. …consider a wide array of project management methods and apply them appropriately in complex and unpredictable situations.
      3. … affect positive change of palliative care policy through strategic development and implementation of an innovative personal practice project on local, national or international level.
      4. … critically evaluate the effect of change interventions using current research methods in order to improve palliative care services.
      5. … build, develop and lead multidisciplinary teams in diverse settings and in the context of complex medical challenges in palliative care.
      6. … demonstrate ability to apply written and oral (academic) English language skills through the whole programme, increasing their ability move in the international job market and enter international research projects.

C. Personality development. Graduates will be able to…

      1. … confidently and competently develop an individual leadership style and engage in continuing professional development.
      2. … enhance the capacity and confidence for strategic decision making in complex situations while taking into account scientific, social-cultural and ethical aspects.
      3. … apply learning, reflect on personal and professional growth and strive to continuously improve through engagement in the programme and beyond.
      4. … demonstrate a solution-focused approach to self-management and care and the management of resources in order to confidently provide high-quality leadership to project team members.

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Module descriptions:

Change Leadership

The Change Leadership module aims to describe and appraise comprehensive, detailed, specialist methods to plan, implement and evaluate a project. Besides classical project management tools like defining goals, setting milestones, estimating and steering necessary resources (qualification, time, money, etc.), documentation and controlling tools, high emphasis within this module is placed on agile methods like specific communication structures and tools, facilitation etc. Thus, the module provides students with specialist knowledge and understanding to conduct sustainable projects. The acquisition of the different methods of agile and classical project management allows students to develop and deliver high quality PC in their respective home countries and with doing so, affect positive change both nationally and internationally.

The Change Leadership module contains a) the personal project module to ensure the practical application of the project management knowledge, b) time to conduct a personal project and c) the Observation Week for refining this project. The project should require a personal effort of 200 hours.


This module aims to apply research knowledge towards implementing change in multidisciplinary PC clinical practice. Critical thinking is encouraged through a debate on the levels of evidence considered best to inform practice. From this perspective, we develop and apply specialised knowledge on the complex nature of PC to evaluate “best” evidence in specific complex situations. This promotes the leadership competence for reflecting on appropriate research questions and designs targeted to PC. We distinguish both quantitative and qualitative methodologies for data collection, analysis, evaluation and implementation through interactive knowledge exchange. Specialised knowledge that can discriminate objective versus subjective methods and interpret the quality of methods is achieved through critical appraisal. These concepts are applied through examples covering cross-cultural influences on, or barriers to, research questions and designs to answer what influences PC development according to the individual, situation, setting, culture, or organisation. Overall, the aim is to promote leaders that apply and extend the evidence base to solve current and future problems for PC at local, national and international levels.

Leadership for Practice

Leadership is critical to achieving positive outcomes for those in receipt of PC. The evolving nature of PC and its delivery have prompted consideration of how a more effective and efficient PC service can be delivered. This module focuses on developing leadership for practice, providing students with an opportunity to develop their competence in leadership. To capture the essence of leadership in PC and speak to the actions and practices of leadership, a blended learning approach is utilised and supported by a facilitated workshop, readings and reflection to enable further development of leadership for practice. The module also focusses on the personal development of the students in order to further enhance their leadership skills.

Leadership in Teams

This module focuses on the importance of effective teamwork. Prior to the sessions week, students learn the theory of teamwork and its broad aspects in palliative setting in pre-modular assignments. Within the sessions, the focus lies on the practical application of these theories and experience exchange regarding leadership in teams.

The sessions focus on teambuilding and team development, effective diversity management (in terms of different cultures as well as different professions), motivation, and communication in PC teams. Students learn the stages of team building and development as well as how to adjust different leadership approaches to different circumstances and team situations. They also gain leadership competencies in adaptive motivation and increasing team effectiveness. Therefore, they learn effective and sensitive communication skills. Challenges in PC are also covered in the sessions, for example ethical issues, interprofessional cooperation, cooperation within the team and within broader contexts (e. g. volunteers or social units), working in an open space, and integrating PC in a broader network. Another focus lies on extending good practice of the palliative approach towards patients (with dignity) to find inspiration how to apply it to team members – as a way of raising co-workers’ wellbeing, sense of appreciation and burnout prevention. 

Advocacy in Leadership

The 5th week of the programme is entirely dedicated to Advocacy and empowers students with knowledge and skill that enable them to become active leaders of change in the PC field in their local and national environment. The first sessions focus on defining the advocacy concept and on stating its important place in the students’ role as leaders. The following sessions combine theoretical aspects of the advocacy cycle and advocacy techniques, with practical exercises in which students work on the advocacy aspects of their projects. The sessions present specialized, theoretical knowledge on each advocacy stage (analyse situations, identify problem, set advocacy aim and objectives, analyse laws and policies, identify targets and build alliances, develop an advocacy message and implement an action plan). Several sessions are dedicated to building specific skills needed in the advocacy process, such as organizing and preparing face-to-face meetings, analysing laws and policies and writing position papers, working with the media and producing press releases or carrying out media interviews, using social media as a means to advance advocacy messages to various audiences.

A tuition fee is charged for the Master’s degree and depends on the country of residence. This is graded according to countries in accordance with the OECD definition of high and low income countries.
The tuition includes all services within the master as well as the supervision of the personal project and of the master thesis. Costs for travel, meals and accommodation are not included. The concrete fee is still being calculated and will be published with the announcement.