Jun 15, 2024  
2013-2015 Undergraduate Catalog 
2013-2015 Undergraduate Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Gerontology Major, BA

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Program Description

The gerontology program is an Association for Gerontology in Higher Education (AGHE) Program of Merit. Gerontology is the multi-disciplinary study of the aging processes (biological, psychological, and sociological), and of individuals as they age from middle adulthood through later adulthood. It includes the study of mental, physical and social changes in older adults as they age, and the impact of social programs and social policies on their well-being. Since older adults, especially those 85 years of age and above, constitute the fastest growing segment of the population; the focus of gerontologists has been on the acquisition of specialized knowledge and skills to meet the needs of this rapidly expanding population.

Program Goals

The gerontology program is a multidisciplinary, four-year curriculum designated as a Program of Merit by the Association for Gerontology in Higher Education. The program focuses on teaching students to think analytically, use resources, and make informed decisions about aging issues. Human service skills, an integral part of the program, are intended to assist the student in obtaining jobs in a variety of aging-related settings. The purpose of the gerontology program is two-fold. First, it offers educational opportunities to students throughout the university to gain information, knowledge and skills relevant to living and working in an aging society. Second, the program offers a broad-based, multidisciplinary course of study that prepares students for beginning careers in the field of aging and for graduate study in aging-related fields.

Student Learning Outcomes

Upon completion of the gerontology program, the students should possess the following:

  1. An understanding of the societal issues, concerns, and challenges brought about by an aging society;
  2. Knowledge of the social and cultural contexts in which aging occurs;
  3. An understanding of the physical, psychological, and social process of aging;
  4. An understanding of the characteristics of older persons and the issues and concerns associated with differing experiences of aging;
  5. The ability to identify and utilize community resources and support systems for older persons and their families; and
  6. Skills in planning and implementing aging programs and services.

 Major Requirements

The major requires 61 semester hours (SH) of courses and 13 SH in pre-requisite courses. Of these, 61 SHs are  in upper division (3000/4000 level) courses; 30 SHs in gerontology courses which include a nine-hour internship; 18 SHs in aging related or supportive courses from other disciplines; and 12 SHs of electives taken from among a list of pre-determined courses in the student’s area of focus.

Gerontology majors are strongly encouraged to take electives, which will enhance their knowledge of gerontology and prepare them for employment and graduate study. Students must have at least 60 documented contact hours of volunteer experiences with older persons prior to the junior year; a minimum grade point average of 2.0 overall for admission to the program; and a grade of C or better in all required upper division courses. 

Pre-Requisite Courses (16 semester hours) 

POS 2311 – American Government (GE)

PSY 2301 - General Psychology (GE)

SOC 2301 – General Sociology (GE)

GER 2301 General Gerontology: The Ups and Downs of Aging

GER 2326 or PSY 2326 or SOC 2326 Statistics for Social and Behavioral Sciences (Develop as GE with Quantitative Literacy Theme)

GER 2101 – General Gerontology Practicum

POS 2311 – American Government (GE)

PSY 2301 - General Psychology (GE)

SOC 2301 - General Sociology (GE)

GER 2301 - General Gerontology

GER 2401 - The Aging Experience or (GER 2301 (GE) and GER 2101 taken concurrently)

Major Courses

Gerontology (30 semester hours)

GER 3301 - Aspects of Aging in Diverse Groups

GER 3302 - Principles and Practices of Gerontology

GER 3303 - Health-Related Functional Aspects of Gerontology

GER 3304 - Public Policy of Aging

GER 4301 - Research Methods and Evaluation in Gerontology

GER 4302 - Dying, Death, and Bereavement

GER 4303 - Senior Capstone Seminar

GER 4901 - Internship in Gerontology


Related/Support Required Courses (18 semester hours)

BIO 3310 - Biology of Aging

POS 3310 - Legal, Political and Economic Aspects of Aging

PSY 3303 - Psychology of Aging

PSY 3336- Develop. Psychology

SOC 3304 - Social Gerontology

TRC 3301 - Leisure and Aging

 Recommended Focus Area Courses (12 semester hours)

MGT 1304 - Introduction to Business

ACC 2316 - Principles of Financial Accounting

ACC 2317 - Principles of Managerial Accounting

ECO 2311 - Principles of Microeconomics

ECO 2312 - Principles of Macroeconomics

ECO 3317 - Health Care Economics

TRC 2312 - Introduction to Therapeutic Recreation

TRC 2313 - Environmental Issues, Education, and Ethics

TRC 3240 - Terminology and Documentation in Therapeutic Recreation

PED 2322 - Aging of the Movement Systems

PED 4319 - Physical Assessment and Exercise Programming for Older Adults

PSY 3308 - The Psychology of Cognition

PSY 3306 - Abnormal Psychology

NUR 2302 - Pharmacological Aspects of Nursing

NUR 3203 - Gerontological Nursing

SOC 2356 - Sociology of the Family

SOC 3307 - Social Psychology

SOC 3315 - Medical Sociology

SOC 4324 - Social Organization

SOW 3363 - Introduction to Social Work


Minor Requirements
A minor in gerontology consists of the courses listed below.


  • GER    2301   General Gerontology: The Ups and Downs of Aging         3
  • GER    2101  General Gerontology Practicum                                          1
  • SOC    3304   Social Gerontology                                                            3
  • PSY     3303   Psychology of Aging                                                          3
  • BIO     3310   Biology of Aging or
  • GER    3303   Health Related Functional Aspects of Gerontology            3
  • Selected Electives                                                                                   6
  • GER*   4304 Gerontology Practicum for Minors                                       3                                    Total Required Semester Hours                       22

*The practicum will have a gerontology focus or it will be in the student’s major discipline or a related, approved internship course.

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