BSc (Hons) Degree in Palliative Care



Regulations for the BSc Honours Degree in Palliative Care shall apply, subject to provisions of both the University and Faculty General Academic Regulations. University and Faculty regulations take precedence over programme regulations. Palliative care is a specialised approach in health service delivery that improves the quality of life of patients and their families facing the problem associated with life-threatening illness, through the reduction and relief of suffering. This is done through early identification and correct systematic assessment and treatment of pain and other problems that may be physical, psychosocial and spiritual[1] by a collaborative team of health workers each with their own specialty. 

Palliative care is a specialised approach in health service delivery that improves the quality of life of patients and their families facing the problem associated with life-threatening illness, through the reduction and relief of suffering. This is done through early identification and correct systematic assessment and treatment of pain and other problems that may be physical, psychosocial and spiritual by a collaborative team of health workers each with their own specialty. Palliative care is applied early in the course of illness and in conjunction with other therapies and investigations that enable better understanding of how to manage a condition, hence it requires a multidisciplinary approach.[2] It confirms life and accepts dying as a normal process and neither intends to stop nor quicken death and as such advocates for improvement of the quality of life during the end times.

The programme will train multidisciplinary teams whose participants include general nurses, psychologists, social workers, and other health cadres who possess diplomas in their fields of health practice. Having multidisciplinary personnel especially from the same health institution has the benefits of enabling mutual support and continued learning and team work amongst them. An interdisciplinary approach also aims at helping patients and their families achieve the optimum quality of life throughout the course of a life-threatening illness. Offers a support system to help patients live as actively as possible until death.

The BSc Honours Degree in Palliative Care Programme is designed to deepen the health professional’s knowledge and improve practice in palliative care. The programme encourages reflection and critical awareness on the experience of illness and end of life care. Learners will be encouraged to consider and reflect on the issues and challenges arising when managing palliative care services and when caring for palliative care patients.


The Women’s University in Africa is partnering with the Hospice Association of Zimbabwe (HOSPAZ) and Island Hospice Health Care Zimbabwe, is offering the BSc Honours Degree in Palliative Care to students who have experience in their professional fields.


[1] WHO 2013

[2] WHO 2002


Entry Requirements

Subject to provisions of the University and Faculty General Academic Regulations for admission, the following entry requirements shall apply:

A minimum of 5 ‘O’ Level passes including English Language and Mathematics at grade C or better

Two (2) ‘A’ Level passes in biological science-related subjects is an added advantage.


  • A diploma in a health-related discipline. The health-related Professions may include: Clinical Officers, Clinical Ophthalmic Nurses, Psychiatry Nurses, Pharmacy Technicians, Physiotherapists, Occupational Therapists, General Nurses and Registered Midwives.
  • A Diploma in Oncology and Palliative Care Nursing
  • A Diploma in Psychology and Social Work.
  • Mature entry and working experience of at least one year in those related fields


Duration of Programme

The Degree in Palliative Care shall take three (3) years to complete. It shall be offered over a period of 6 semesters on a part time basis (during weekends and /or by block releases) to provide expert palliative care training to diverse practitioners.  Each academic year shall consist of two (2) semesters There is an option of qualifying with a Diploma after successful completion of core palliative care courses and requisite practical attachment and research project after 18 months of study.

Objectives of the Programme

The programme is specifically designed to:

  1. Impart in-depth knowledge and skills in the use of palliative care principles and theories.
  2. Provide skills to identify different types of pain (somatic, visceral, neuropathic) and be able to manage them effectively.
  3. Transfer knowledge of management of pain in people with life threatening illnesses.
  4. Explore ethical and cross-cultural issues in palliative care practice as provided by laws and regulations governing the activities of palliative care practice.
  5. Develop critical reflective skills and self-evaluation of the palliative care practitioner’s professional practice in each discipline.
  6. Promote appreciation of the value of a multi-disciplinary approach to symptom management.
  7. Critically appraise palliative care theory, ethics and professional literature to promote new knowledge and skills in this area through research.

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of the programme the graduate of the Palliative Care Degree should be able to:

  1. Apply the Palliative Care approach to all patients with terminal illnesses (not just cancer patients).
  2. Implement relevant interventions for optimal symptom and pain control in the final stages of life both at home and in institutions.
  3. Respect the importance of utilising the patient's autonomy and integrity in palliative care and accept the patient’s wishes and requests for management and treatment.
  4. Utilise a team-based approach, through participation of other related disciplines, and community agencies, according to the patient’s needs.
  5. Discuss end-of life wishes with patient and family and understand a patient’s fear and anxieties about end-of-life issues
  6. Address spiritual and social issues relating to end of life in liaison with relevant teams.
  7. Analyse and synthesise the impact that the dying process has on members of the terminally ill person’s family or peer group through research.
  8. Comply with human rights, legal and ethical requirements of Palliative care during practice
  9. Demonstrate awareness of practitioner’s own beliefs and attitudes that can influence their practice during patient care
  10. Appraise current research and other evidence to underpin interventions and formulate suggestions for changes in the practice of palliative care.
  11. Critically analyse personal effectiveness in developing a therapeutic relationship, and effective communication with patients and their families.


Programme Structure

The Programme will be delivered through a combination of learning methods including lecturers at WUA, tutorials and clinical attachment at hospitals and at Island Hospice and Hospice Association of Zimbabwe. Clinical and practical skills will also be obtained during and within the students’ work settings, using case studies of actual patients cared for. Mentoring visits to institutions of practice will be arranged. Zimbabwe and Hospice Association of Zimbabwe (HOSPAZ) and the Ministry of Health and Child Care.  

To meet the above requirements, students will undertake course work and examinations in each course per semester.

The programme is designed to impart knowledge in the following courses:


Year 1 Semester 1

Historical and Fundamental Principles and Standards of Palliative Care


Principles of Pharmacology and Therapeutics


Pain Management and Control in Palliative care

Symptom Management and Control in Palliative care (Palliative Care 1).

Communication Skills  

Basic Computer Literacy  

Year 1 Semester 2

Introduction to Gender studies

History, Examination and Differential Diagnosis

Communicable Diseases and Infection Prevention and Control

Ethical, Legal Issues and Palliative Care Policy

Working in Multidisciplinary Teams 

Children’s Palliative (Palliative Care 2)

Year 2 Semester 1

Palliative Care Motivational Interviewing

Palliative Care Emergencies (Palliative Care 3)

Communication with Families and Psychological Issues in Palliative Care 

Spirituality and Culture in Palliative Care

End-of-Life Issues

Year 2 Semester 2

Palliative Care for Special Populations (palliative Care 4)

Self-awareness, Self-Care and Resilience

Research Methods1

Leadership and Management in Palliative Care

Teaching Palliative Care, Mentorship, Support and Supervision

Entrepreneurial Skills

Year 3 Semester 1

Clinical Attachment/Internship (2 months)

Research Methods11

Year 3 Semester 2

Palliative Care in Disease Specific Conditions (Palliative Care 5)

Advocacy and Policy in Palliative Care

Monitoring and Evaluation of Palliative Care Interventions

Research Project

Non-Core Courses

Basic Computer Literacy

Introduction to Gender Studies

Communication Skills 

Entrepreneurial Skills



Instructions on how prospective students should process their e-application
  • Scan the completed application form and relevant certificates (certified copies of national ID card,birth certificates and national certificates) and proof of payment of application fee
  • Attach your particulars and submit them to the Mrs. Sithole from the Admissions Department on the following email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
  •  Please label your email correctly on the Subject. ie : Jane Doe’s Application for Post Grad Dipl in Palliative Care
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