May 27, 2024  
2023-2024 University Catalog 
2023-2024 University Catalog

Cardiovascular Perfusion (MS)

Return to {$returnto_text} Return to: Degree and Certificate Programs

Program Overview

The Master of Science degree is intended for those whose baccalaureate degree is in a field other than cardiovascular perfusion. The Cardiovascular Perfusion program curriculum provides the knowledge, clinical experiences and opportunity for our students to achieve competence in the practice of cardiovascular perfusion.

This medical specialty has become increasingly important in the health care field. The perfusionist serves primarily as part of the cardiovascular surgical team, operating the heart-lung machine during open-heart surgery. The perfusionist is also responsible for other life-support equipment, such as intra-aortic balloon pumps, ventricular assist devices and extracorporeal membrane oxygenation. In addition to cardiovascular surgery, additional professional practice may include veno-venous bypass for liver transplantation, isolated limb or organ chemotherapy perfusion, cardiopulmonary bypass supported cardiac catheterization procedures and blood salvaging for orthopedic or general surgery procedures.

Students in the Cardiovascular Perfusion program will benefit from the teaching and research expertise of established scholars and practitioners. The program is committed to providing increased opportunities for experiential learning at nationally ranked cardiac centers across the country.

Cardiovascular Perfusion: Admission Requirements

  • A baccalaureate degree from an accredited college or university.
  • Receipt of official transcripts from each institution of higher education attended.
    • If a college or university outside the United States conferred the baccalaureate degree, the Educational Credentials Evaluators (ECE) or World Education Services (WES) must evaluate international transcripts. A detailed course-by-course report is required.  Contact ECE at (414) 289-3400 or, or WES at (800) 361-3106 or
  • Cumulative and science GPA of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale.
  • Receipt of three letters of recommendation.
  • Applicants who did not complete high school in the United States must submit TOEFL scores.
  • The following courses must be completed with a grade of C or better prior to enrolling. Required courses must be taken for a letter grade rather than a pass-fail option. 

Natural and Biological Sciences

16 semester hours or 24 quarter hours
Science courses must include the following:

  • One semester of inorganic chemistry
  • One semester of physics
  • One semester of a human anatomy course AND
  • One semester of a human physiology course OR
  • Two semesters of a combined anatomy and physiology course with a laboratory component

Some community college introductory science classes may not be comprehensive enough to satisfy the prerequisite requirements. For any questions about courses, please contact the Office of College Admission Services at (312) 942-7100 to speak with an admissions counselor.

Mathematics and Statistics

Two college-level mathematics courses, which must include an introductory course in statistics.

English Composition

Two courses or documented proficiency at composition II level. Although not required, applicants are encouraged to take additional courses focusing on written communication, because writing skills are essential for the successful completion of the Cardiovascular Perfusion Program.

Social Sciences

14 semester hours or 20 quarter hours
 Course work must include the following:

  • Introduction to psychology
  • Introduction to sociology
  • Other social science courses (may include psychology, sociology, economics, history and anthropology)


Eight semester hours or 12 quarter hours

  • Humanities courses include the following: religion, philosophy, foreign languages, literature, or the history of art, music, theater, film or dance. Studio art classes, instrumental music classes, and speech classes are not acceptable.
  • Medical Terminology

Applicants must complete all the required prerequisite coursework with a grade of C or better prior to enrolling at RUSH. 

Additional Recommendation

In addition, it is highly recommended that prospective students talk to a clinical perfusionist and, if possible, observe a procedure requiring the use of cardiopulmonary bypass.

Cardiovascular Perfusion Technical Standards

RUSH University is committed to diversity and to attracting and educating students who will serve diverse communities locally and nationally.

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 Cardiovascular Perfusion 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 cardiovascular perfusion care and perform or assist with procedures and treatments
  • Practice in a safe manner and appropriately provide cardiovascular perfusion 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 diagnosis and treatment of patients and populations
  • Exercise proper judgment and complete responsibilities in a timely and accurate manner according to the cardiovascular perfusion 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 Cardiovascular Perfusion 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. To learn more about accommodations at RUSH University please contact the Office of Student Accessibility Services:

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

Cardiovascular Perfusion: Educational Activities

The faculty of the department is responsible for providing both the didactic coursework and the clinical experiences necessary for the completion of the Master of Science degree in Cardiovascular Perfusion. The program is accredited by the Accreditation Committee-Perfusion Education of the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs.

Cardiovascular Perfusion: Service Activities

Faculty members are licensed perfusion technologists actively involved in the daily activities of the Department of Extracorporeal Services.

Cardiovascular Perfusion (MS): Graduation Requirements

  • Completion of all required coursework with a grade-point average of 3.0 or better
  • Completion of each required cardiovascular perfusion course with a grade of B or better
  • Completion of all University requirements for graduation

Cardiovascular Perfusion (MS): Curriculum

Central themes of evidence-based practice, leadership, cultural competence, technology integration and scholarship are addressed throughout the program and recognized by the professional commitments of our graduates and faculty.    

The Cardiovascular Perfusion program curriculum provides the knowledge, clinical experiences and opportunity for our students to gain competence in the practice of cardiovascular perfusion.

Students in the Cardiovascular Perfusion program benefit from the teaching and research expertise of established scholars and practitioners. The program is committed to providing increased opportunities for experiential learning at nationally ranked cardiac centers across the country.

Graduates of the program will be qualified to sit for the certification examination of the American Board of Cardiovascular Perfusion.

Return to {$returnto_text} Return to: Degree and Certificate Programs