A student examines a sheep heart during an anatomy demonstration

Earn an accelerated Bachelor's and Master's degree

Combine a liberal arts education with hands-on clinical experience in this accelerated program. You will work toward your Bachelor of Science in Biology, completing clinical experience in your senior year and moving on to apply to the Master of Science in Cardiovascular Perfusion program. You can earn both degrees in four years-plus a summer and fall semester-making it one of the fastest accelerated options at Carlow.

In this dual-degree program, you will join a diverse community of learners as you pursue biology within the tradition of the liberal arts. You'll accumulate the technical proficiency and professional skills required of healthcare professionals, setting you up for success after graduation.

With a MS in Cardiovascular Perfusion, your career opportunities span outside working as a perfusionist; leaders within the profession are needed to be compassionate, responsible educators and managers within departments of perfusion throughout the country.

*Please note that admission to the MS in Cardiovascular Perfusion program is not guaranteed. Admission is on a competitive basis; up to 20 students are accepted per year.

What is Cardiovascular Perfusion?

Cardiovascular perfusion is a health sciences field specializing in the operation of the heart-lung machine during surgery. Perfusionists are responsible for overseeing the function of the heart and/or lungs during operations such as open-heart surgery, coronary artery bypass surgery, heart and lung transplantation, congenital defect repair surgery, and valve replacements. Perfusionists are an integral part of monitoring cardio and pulmonary functions.


Program Highlights

Complete your BS in Biology directly through Carlow University; the MS in Cardiovascular Perfusion is offered in coordination with the UPMC School of Perfusion, one of the only ones of its kind in western Pennsylvania. In this program, you will enjoy a learning experience that includes:

  • 18 months of clinical training at UPMC Shadyside;
  • Ability to earn a BS and an MS in under five years;
  • Studying in the oldest program of its kind in North America.

Ready to take the next step and further your education at Carlow University? Apply for free online.


What You'll Learn

The BS in Cardiovascular Perfusion covers the pre-requisites needed to apply for entrance to the MS program. These pre-requisites include General Biology I and II, Anatomy and Physiology I and II, General Chemistry I and II, Organic Chemistry I and II, Physics I and II, Microbiology, Pharmacology, Calculus, and Medical Ethics.

BS-to-MS Perfusion Courses

Bio 250 Genetics

Dig into the maintenance, inheritance, transfer, and expression of genetic information at the molecular, cellular, organismal, and population levels. This course covers Mendelian genetics, bacterial genetics, the structure and function of chromosomes and genes, recombination and mutation, the control of gene expression, and population genetics. This course also covers a brief introduction to genetic engineering and biotechnology.

Bio 739 Pharmacology

This is a one-semester graduate-level online course designed to provide you with an overview of the pharmacological sciences and an understanding of the pharmacologic principles regarding common medical issues. You'll learn about special populations and drug therapy across the lifespan in addition to covering the mechanisms of action of drugs classified as autonomic, central nervous system, cardiovascular, endocrine, contraceptives, and chemotherapeutic agents. Lastly, you'll study drug side effects and adverse reactions, with attention given to receptor mechanisms as they relate to the therapeutic application of drugs.

PRT 750 Introduction to Clinical Perfusion

Gain an overview of both the theory and practice of clinical perfusion. This serves as an orientation to the surgical environment of the cardiovascular perfusionist prior to beginning the clinical portion of the perfusion program.

This is just a  small sample  of the variety of classes you'll be taking. For more details about these classes, and more, please visit the  Course Catalog  section of our website or  request more information  to hear from an Admissions Counselor. 

students in the undergraduate portion will complete 20% of their coursework at UPMC Shadyside, Pittsburgh, PA. 

graduate students complete the entirety of the program as Carlow University students through UPMC Shadyside, Pittsburgh, PA. 

Accreditation and Professional Licensure

The American Board of Cardiovascular Perfusion (ABCP) is the organization that confers the professional perfusion credential of "Certified Clinical Perfusionist" (CCP). Upon completion of the Carlow/UPMC Master of Science in Cardiovascular Perfusion program, students are eligible to sit for the ABCP Perfusion Basic Science Examination (PBSE), which is the first of two exams that lead to professional certification. Upon completion of fifty clinical perfusion cases after graduation, you can become eligible to sit for part two of the ABCP's CCP examination process, the Clinical Applications in Perfusion Exam (CAPE). A candidate must pass both sections of the ABCP boards to practice perfusion. The ABCP officially recognizes perfusion schools that are accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP). CAAHEP accredits programs based on the recommendation of the Accreditation Committee-Perfusion Education (AC-PE). The UPMC School of Perfusion is and has always been in good standing with the CAAHEP. Carlow University and the Master of Science in Cardiovascular Perfusion program are also accredited by the Middle State Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE).