About the Gerontology Program

tree next to duck pondThe Gerontology Program is housed within the School of Social Sciences. The School of Social Sciences offers knowledge and skills that prepare our graduates to live richly rewarding personal, professional, and social lives while understanding and appreciating human complexity in a global society.

Why Minor or earn a Certificate in Gerontology?

Gerontology prepares students for working directly with elders in program development (health promotion, intergenerational activities, social service centers, community agencies, and retirement communities); direct care (care to frail, ill, or impaired elders in hospitals, clinics, nursing homes, adult day care, or home care programs); counseling elders and their families about caregiving issues, employment, death and dying, or mental health; and advising elders about estate planning and investments, financing long-term care, or housing options. It also prepares students for working on behalf of elders, by analyzing issues related to elders such as retirement opportunities, income maintenance, health care and housing; planning, administering, and evaluating
community-based services and service delivery systems for older persons; advocating with or on behalf of elders; designing products to meet the special interests and needs of elders; and advising business, industry, and labor regarding older workers and consumers. Many students continue their education through graduate work in social work, nursing, psychology, and kinesiology. The gerontology program focuses primarily upon the experience of aging in the United States, although comparative analyses of other societies are developed. By applying an integrated liberal arts perspective to the issues, problems, and dilemmas posed by a longer life span and a dramatically increased population of older persons, students develop their critical faculties and problem-solving abilities.

The field of gerontology offers students opportunities to engage in firsthand research, to develop conceptual analyses, and to plan community projects, as well as to develop a strong background for career development. Those who already work as volunteers or staff in agencies serving the elderly will find the gerontology program valuable in updating their training. Students who plan to pursue professional degrees in psychotherapy, medicine, dentistry, nursing, or social work will find that participation in the gerontology program will assist them in understanding the problems of their future clients.

Those who already work in the field will find that coursework in the Program stimulates their interests in new ways as well as providing them with a strong foundation in the theories, ideas and research findings in Gerontology. The Program has opportunities for combining the insights and experiences students gain in work settings with their academic work.