Jun 18, 2024  
2022-2023 University Catalog 
2022-2023 University Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Respiratory Care - Professional Phase, Two-Year Track (MS)

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Respiratory Care: Program Overview

The Division of Respiratory Care in the College of Health Sciences at Rush University is dedicated to clinical and academic excellence in teaching, research, service and patient care. The Respiratory Care program is designed to provide students with an outstanding education in preparation for a satisfying professional career as advanced respiratory care practitioners, as well as to provide a foundation for leadership in management and supervision, research and clinical specialization.

The Respiratory Care program involves motivation, curiosity, professional fulfillment and personal satisfaction. The work is both hard and rewarding. 

Interaction with faculty, therapists, physicians and nurses is essential and is the key to the program. Students engage in seminars, intensive classes and laboratories, and clinical training in hospitals. The result is an outstanding education in respiratory care, but it is more than that: There is a sense of personal growth and a real commitment to serving people. 

The overall purpose of the program is to provide a high‑quality education that is relevant and professionally sound to meet the respiratory care leadership needs in the health care community. Inherent in this purpose is the goal to prepare respiratory therapists who can demonstrate the attitudes, skills and knowledge required to meet the changing needs in the community. 

It will be necessary for the respiratory therapist to collaborate with all members of the health care team to identify and solving the problems that relate to respiratory diseases and disorders of the cardiopulmonary system. The respiratory therapist must be able to think critically, communicate effectively, demonstrate judgment and provide self‑direction. It is a primary objective of the program to educate well‑qualified, competent respiratory therapists who demonstrate leadership ability. 

As an academic medical center program, the Respiratory Care program must also make an appropriate contribution in the areas of research, service and patient care. With respect to research and scholarship, the division conducts and publishes original research studies, participates in the publication of textbooks and chapters, abstracts and invited presentations based on original research. Service activities include participation on local, state and national professional boards and committees, community service, university service activities and continuing education. Patient care is integral to the division’s teaching, research and service activities. The faculty embrace the practitioner-teacher model and are passionate about students achieving academic excellence and professional competence.

The Respiratory Care program is dedicated to the mission, vision and values of the College of Health Sciences, University and Medical Center.

Master of Science Program

The Master of Science degree in respiratory care requires a minimum of 92 semester hours of credit for graduation. This is an integrated program, requiring 29 semester hours of program preprofessional prerequisite requirements prior to admission to Rush University for the professional phase (24 months). The preprofessional phase requirements may be completed at any accredited college or university and include the successful completion of a baccalaureate degree.  Dedicated to clinical and academic excellence, the professional phase includes over 1000 hours of clinical practice.   

As a leadership program in respiratory care, this course of study aspires to provide graduates with the foundation needed to assume professional leadership roles in clinical practice, clinical specialty areas, research, education and management. Upon completion of the program, graduates are eligible for the national board examinations in respiratory care, as well as state licensure.

Respiratory Care (MS): Admission Requirements

Admission to the program is on a competitive basis. Student selection is based on several factors, including overall grade-point average, prerequisite grade-point average, consistency of academic performance, coursework completed prior to application, Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores and interpersonal abilities. The program is rigorous, and applicants are required to arrange an orientation visit to a respiratory care department at a hospital prior to acceptance to the program if the applicant has no previous experience in the field of respiratory care.

Requirements for admission to the professional phase of the program in respiratory care include the following:

  • A minimum overall GPA of 2.5 in undergraduate coursework
  • Completion of all professional prerequisite required courses with a grade of C or better
  • Completion of a bachelor’s degree
  • Senior standing at the time of application and the ability to complete all preprofessional coursework by the beginning of the fall term of the first year
  • Submission of the GRE graduate school entry exam scores is encouraged but not required (from an examination taken within five years of the date of application to the program)
  • A personal interview with division faculty
  • Completed application to the program and submission of official transcripts for all college coursework completed

Program Prerequisites

All program prerequisite courses must be taken prior to entry into the first-year of the regular professional program (alterations in the student’s planned program require written approval by the department chairperson/program director). Registration for the first sequence of professional courses in the program requires the following:

  • Admission into the program
  • Completion of human anatomy and physiology, chemistry, physics, microbiology, psychology, mathematics (college algebra or higher) and statistics with a grade of C or better
  • Consent of the Committee on Progress and Promotions for Respiratory Care

Please note: Individuals holding the RRT credential may be admitted to the program prior to completion of all program prerequisites.

Respiratory Care Technical Standards

Rush University is committed to diversity and to attracting and educating students who will make the population of health care professionals representative of the national population.

Our core values-I CARE (innovation, collaboration, accountability, respect and excellence)-translate into our work with all students, including those with disabilities. Rush actively collaborates with students to develop innovative ways to ensure accessibility and creates a respectful, accountable culture through our confidential and specialized disability support.

Rush is committed to excellence in accessibility. We encourage students with disabilities to disclose and seek accommodations.

The following technical functions are required of all students enrolled in the Respiratory Care program:

Acquire Information

  • Acquire information from demonstrations and experiences in courses, such as lecture, group and physical demonstrations
  • Acquire information from written documents and computer systems (e.g., literature searches and data retrieval)
  • Identify information presented in accessible images from paper, slides, videos with audio description and transparencies
  •  Recognize and assess patient changes in mood, activity, cognition, verbal and non-verbal communication

Use and Interpret

  • Use and interpret information from assessment techniques/maneuvers
  • Use and interpret information related to physiologic phenomena generated from diagnostic tools


  • Possess psychomotor skills necessary to provide or assist in holistic respiratory care and perform or assist with procedures and treatments
  • Practice in a safe manner and appropriately provide respiratory care and assessment in emergencies and life support procedures, and perform universal precautions against contamination


  • Communicate effectively and sensitively with patients and families
  • Communicate effectively with faculty, preceptors and all members of the health care team during practicum and other learning experiences
  • Accurately elicit information, including a medical history and other information, to adequately and effectively evaluate a population’s, client’s or patient’s condition

Intellectual Ability

  • Measure, calculate, reason, analyze and synthesize data related to the diagnosis and treatment of patients and populations
  • Exercise proper judgment and complete responsibilities in a timely and accurate manner according to the respiratory care role
  • Synthesize information, problem-solve and think critically to judge the most appropriate theory, assessment or treatment strategy


  • Maintain mature, sensitive, effective relationships with clients/patients, families, students, faculty, staff, preceptors and other professionals under all circumstances
  • Exercise skills of diplomacy to advocate for patients in need
  • Possess emotional stability to function under stress and adapt to rapidly changing environments inherent to the classroom and practice settings


  • Demonstrate concern for others
  • Integrity, accountability, interest and motivation are necessary personal qualities
  • Demonstrate intent and desire to follow the Rush University and Respiratory Care code of ethics

The technical standards delineated above must be met with or without accommodation. Students who, after review of the technical standards, determine they require reasonable accommodation to fully engage in the program, should contact the Office of Student Accessibility Services to confidentially discuss their accommodations needs.

Given the clinical nature of our programs, time may be needed to implement the accommodations. Accommodations are never retroactive; therefore, timely requests are essential and encouraged. Contact the Office of Student Accessibility Services to learn more about accommodations at Rush University:

Marie Lusk, MBA, MSW, LSW
Director, Office of Student Accessibility Services
Rush University
600 S. Paulina St., Suite 901
Chicago, IL 60612
(312) 942-5237

Respiratory Care: Academic Policies

Master of Science

All professional courses (RCP prefix) in the program are taught in a sequential manner. Each professional course in the program serves as the prerequisite for the subsequent course. Consequently, professional courses must be taken in sequence.

Withdrawing or failure to successfully complete a professional course with a letter grade of C or better may result in the student being placed on a three-year track, given a leave of absence, or LOA, and academic probation or dismissed from the program after review by the Committee on Progress and Promotions. Students readmitted to the program at times other than the fall term of the second year will pick up the course sequence as prescribed by the chairperson/program director or Committee on Progress and Promotions for Respiratory Care.

Standards of Performance for Respiratory Care and Major Field-Related Courses

90-100 = A

80-89 = B

75-79 = C

70-74 = D

Below 70 = F

Unless otherwise described in a given course syllabus, the minimum satisfactory grade for course credit is a letter grade of C, and all stipulated segments of a course must be passed by this standard. Students must demonstrate proficiency in all clinical skills presented to pass clinical courses. For all clinical courses, the final exam must be passed at the designated cut score and a grade of C or better must be maintained to successfully complete each clinical course to continue in the program. 

Students are expected to maintain an overall GPA in the program of at least 3.0.

Failure to maintain a cumulative GPA of at least 3.0 will subject the student to a review and may result in the student being placed on probation, given an LOA or dismissed from the program after review by the Committee on Progress and Promotions.

If a student is dismissed and wishes to re-enter the program, they must reapply and will be considered on the same basis as any new applicant. Students who voluntarily withdraw from the program, either passing or failing, have no guarantee of reinstatement to the program. Students requesting readmission to the program should submit a letter to that effect to the Committee on Progress and Promotion for Respiratory Care. Students readmitted to the program will pick up the course sequence as prescribed by the chairperson/program director or Committee on Progress and Promotions for Respiratory Care.

Clinical Final Examinations

All students are required to pass the clinical final examination after completing clinical courses to continue in the program. In the event a student fails the clinical final examination, the student is allowed to make one more attempt to pass. In the event the student passes the clinical final exam on the second attempt, the student will continue in the program. The grade earned on the first attempt will be used to calculate the final clinical grade.

In the event the student does not pass the clinical final exam on the second attempt, the student will be placed in remediation. The student will be given a third attempt to pass the final exam by the end of the next term. In the event the student does not pass on the third attempt, the student will earn an F in the clinical course and may be suspended or released from the program.

Comprehensive End-of-Program Competency Assessment Examination

Before graduating, the student will complete comprehensive end-of-program examination assessments (NBRC secure Therapist Multiple Choice, or TMC, and clinical simulation examinations, or CSE). The TMC examination will be taken at the end of the spring term of the second year as a part of RCP 575, Clinical Practice III. The CSE will be given at the beginning of the summer term of the second year as part of RCP 585, Clinical Practice IV. A passing score is required to successfully complete RCP 575 and RCP 585, as well as to meet graduation and program course completion requirements.

Students who do not successfully complete the comprehensive self-assessment examinations will receive an incomplete grade of “I for RCP 575 and/or RCP 585. Those students failing and receiving an I grade will be required to attend remediation over the following term. Those failing the examination after multiple attempts or failing to attend remediation may be subject to dismissal from the program. Those students may reapply to the program (see Procedures for Readmission).

Conduct and Ethics

Each student is expected to conduct oneself in a dignified manner at all times. This manner conforms to the ethics of the profession and instills patient confidence in one’s abilities as a health care practitioner. Each student is expected to conform to the professional code of ethics as outlined in this handbook and the policies outlined in the University catalog.

Irresponsible, unprofessional or unethical behavior as determined by the instructor, or failure to follow the instructions of a clinical instructor during clinical practice, may result in dismissal from the program. Falsification on any clinical documents will be treated as scholastic dishonesty. All hospital regulations are to be followed by students when undergoing clinical training in a facility.

If employed by a clinical site in which the student is assigned a clinical rotation, the student must not complete clinical coursework while in an employee status.

Scholastic Dishonesty and Cheating

The division will not condone cheating in any form. Plagiarizing or copying others writing or work is considered cheating. Any allegations of cheating will be reviewed by the Committee on Progress and Promotions for Respiratory Care and, if merited, dealt with in a strict manner, including immediate dismissal from the program.

Any student found to be cheating on an examination, test, quiz or assignment will automatically receive a grade of 0 and will be subject to dismissal from the program at the discretion of the Committee on Progress and Promotions for Respiratory Care. Plagiarism on drafts of assignments may result in a grade of 0 for the entire assignment. Failure to report incidents involving scholastic dishonesty on the part of another student will be considered unprofessional conduct on the part of the student and may result in disciplinary action.

Examination Review

At the discretion of the course instructor, during review of any examination given within the curriculum, no other papers or books will be allowed on the student’s desk. No writing implements of any kind will be allowed. NO note-taking or recording of any kind will be permitted. This includes written note-taking and/or any form of mechanical, electronic, audio, or video recording. Violation of this policy will constitute academic dishonesty and will be referred to the Committee on Progress and Promotions for review and possible disciplinary action.

Examination Administration

All examinations given by the division will be monitored by faculty or staff at all times. Students will be seated in such a manner as to minimize the opportunity for observation of other students’ examination papers. No breaks will be allowed once an examination period has begun, and students may not leave the room during an exam until they are finished taking the examination, except in the event of an emergency, which will be judged by the faculty or staff monitoring the exam on a case by case basis.

If a student turns in an examination without answering all questions, he or she will NOT be given an opportunity to finish the examination after leaving the room.

Only marks made on the Scantron sheet will be used to compute a grade on all Scantron-graded examinations. Even if a student marks the answer correctly on his or her examination, but does not mark it correctly on the Scantron, only the Scantron answer will be used to compute the grade, not the answer marked on the examination.

Calculators will be provided to students for examinations, thus personal calculators will not be allowed during examinations.

Policy for Transfer Students

Students who have completed coursework at other approved respiratory care programs may petition to have these courses transfer in lieu of specific coursework in the Rush University program. Students must submit a transcript of their courses from the program and a copy of the course syllabus for each course in which they desire transfer credit. The syllabus must contain the following: course objectives, lecture outlines, course content, evaluation procedures and related information. These courses will be evaluated on an individual basis for content and total contact hours and credit hours.

The division reserves the right to test the proficiency of any student in coursework transferred from other respiratory care programs and the right to disallow such transfer credit in such coursework in cases where the student cannot demonstrate acceptable proficiency. All transfer credit is subject to the approval of the Committee on Progress and Promotions for Respiratory Care. The student must also have a minimum grade of B (3.0) for each course being transferred.

A student cannot receive transfer credit for any respiratory care coursework if they left the previous program due to academic probation, suspension or exclusion. All University policies regarding transfer credit must be satisfied.

Respiratory Care (MS): Graduation Requirements

  • Completion of all required coursework with a grade-point average of 3.0 or better
  • Completion of each required respiratory care professional course with a grade of C or better
  • Basic Life Support (BLS), Advanced Cardiac Life Support (ACLS), Pediatric Advanced Life Support (PALS) and Neonatal Resuscitation Provider (NRP) course completion
  • Successfully complete a division research project
  • Completion of all University requirements for graduation

Respiratory Care (MS): Curriculum

Preprofessional Phase - Program Prerequisites

The preprofessional phase (lower-division, college-level coursework) requires a minimum of 29 term hours of prescribed study as outlined below.


Professional Prerequisites

Credit Hours

Human Anatomy and Physiology (or 4 Hours Anatomy and 4 Hours Physiology)


Chemistry (With Lab)


Physics (With Lab)


Microbiology (With Lab)


Psychology (Courses With Prefixes PSYC)


Mathematics (College Algebra or Higher)






Professional Phase: Respiratory Care Professional Courses

Two-Year Track: MS Degree

Students accepted into the professional phase begin coursework in the fall term of the first year of the program. Coursework in the professional phase is taken on a full-time basis in the following sequence:

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