Caring for the Underserved Certificate

The Caring for the Underserved Certificate allows you to focus your required coursework and clinical training on mastering the skills needed to become a patient care advocate for vulnerable and marginalized populations.

Offered by the University of Cincinnati College of Nursing and College of Pharmacy, the certificate provides students in PharmD and advanced-practice nursing degree programs the opportunity to focus their required coursework, professional development and real-world learning experiences on acquiring the evidence-based skills needed to expertly care for underserved populations and advance health care equality.

Students gain specialized training through a combination of:

  • Team-based interprofessional coursework
  • Mentorship from faculty who work with underserved populations
  • Experiential learning with community partners who serve underserved populations


Students complete a minimum of 11 credit hours through online elective courses and experiential learning. Students also focus projects and professional development assignments, required as part of their master's or doctorate degree, on underserved populations.

Coursework explores the environmental and societal factors that influence the health of underserved populations, fosters collaboration among health professionals in developing strategies for caring for these patients and helps students contribute new knowledge to improve care plans and delivery.

Once completed, the certificate is included on students' official transcripts.

Caring for the Underserved Certificate Curriculum
Course No.
Course Title
NURS 7002 Health Issues of Vulnerable & Marginalized Populations 3
Health Care, Public Health & the Underserved
PHRX 9041/
NURS 8099 or Seminar III*
Independent Study Research (Pharmacy)/Evidence-Based Practice or Seminar III (Nursing) 2
Professional Experience Rotation/clinical experience in an organization that serves underserved populations 4-8

*College of Nursing students can satisfy this requirement with one of the following Seminar III courses: ANNP 8024, ANNP 8054, ANNP 8084 or ANPC 8034.

Application & Admissions Process

Admissions Timeline for Fall 2021
Application Due Personal Interviews Admission Decision
June 11

The colleges are accepting applications through the UC Graduate School now through June 11. To apply, visit the UC Graduate School Application Management page and log in or create a new account.

The application and admissions process requires:

  • A current resume or curriculum vitae (CV) with program GPA
  • Letter of intent
  • Single one-to-two-page paper that answers the following prompts:
    1. How will the skills I obtain in this certificate program benefit my professional career?
    2. What skills do I hope to obtain as part of my completion of the certificate program?
    3. Describe an adversity you have overcome in your past.
  • Letter of recommendation from an individual who can speak to the applicant's character and desire to help those less fortunate (e.g. a manager, volunteer coordinator or spiritual leader)
  • Personal interview

Note: Though the application gives the option to record a personal video statement, video submissions will not be considered.

Frequently Asked Questions

Current UC College of Pharmacy students in PY2 of the PharmD program, or UC College of Nursing students in a community-focused advanced-practice specialty program, i.e. an MSN or DNP in adult-gerontology primary care, family nurse practitioner, nurse midwifery or women’s health. Note: PharmD students must apply in PY2 to start in PY3 in order to complete their degree on time.

For students in the College of Pharmacy the certificate fit within students' program of study and does not require additional credit hours to complete. For students in the College of Nursing, it depends on the graduate-degree program in which students are enrolled. Nursing students should talk to an advisor to find out whether the certificate would add additional credit hours and time to their degree.

Applicants must pay a $25 fee to submit their application through the UC Graduate School. For College of Pharmacy students the program does not add to tuition totals. For students in the College of Nursing, it depends on the graduate-degree program in which students are enrolled. Nursing students should talk to an advisor to confirm how much the program would add to their tuition.

The College of Pharmacy and College of Nursing have longstanding relationships with primary care sites in the Greater Cincinnati region where students can complete their practicum or rotation. Alternatively, these experiences could be integrated into practica or rotations already in progress. Faculty will work individually with students to assess these opportunities.

More Information

For more information, contact Corey Bjarnson, Associate Director of Pharmacy M.S./PhD Education for the College of Pharmacy, at