May 24, 2024  
2017-2019 Undergraduate Catalog 
2017-2019 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 49 semester hours (SH) of courses, with 15 SH in pre-requisite courses taken among the GE core in preparation of upper level major courses. Of these, 49 SHs  in the major area include 10 SHs in foundational gerontology courses which includes a field practicums experience; 15 SHs in breadth courses that will allow exposure to diverse areas in the field of aging; 15 SHs in depth courses that allow majors to more deeply demonstrate expertise in the field of aging and a six credit hour internship; 9 SHs in specific discipline content elective courses related to an area of interest and selected in consultation with a student’s faculty advisor. Electives must be approved by the major faculty advisor of record.  

As a Program of Merit (POM), students must have at least 60 documented contact hours through an assigned practicum experience with older persons prior to the beginning of the junior year; a minimum grade point average of 2.0 in major courses; with a grade C- or better in all required upper division courses.


Pre-Requisite Courses (15 semester hours)

GER 2301 General Gerontology

GER 2326  Statistics for Social & Behavioral  Sciences

BIO 1301  Biological Concepts

PSY 2301  Intro. to Psychological Sciences

SOC 2301 General Sociology

POS 2311  American Government


Foundational Courses Gerontology (10 semester hours)

GER 2101  General Gerontology Practicum (60 hour placement, by end of sophomore year)

GER/BIO 3310  Biology of Aging

SOC 3304  Social Gerontology

PSY 3303  Aging; OR PSY 3308 Cognitive; OR PSY 3336 Lifespan Development; OR

PSY 3346 Principles of Learning; OR PSY 3348 Sensation & Perception


Breadth Courses (15 semester hours)

GER 3301  Diversity and Aging

GER 3303  Health, Society  & Aging

GER 3304  Public Policy, Aging and Society

GER 4302 Death, Dying, & Bereavement

TRC 3301  Leisure & Aging OR TRC 2305 Living Well


Depth Courses (15 semester hours)

GER 3302  Gerontological Theory to Practice 

GER 4301 Research Methods in Gerontology 

GER 4303  Senior Capstone Seminar

GER 4901  Internship in Gerontology (360 hour placement, senior year)


Specific Discipline Content Area/Elective Courses (9 semester hours)

Choose 3 courses from 1 of the specific Discipline Content Areas listed below (courses which have not previously been taken):

I. Discipline Content Area: Social Psychology                              

Sociology: SOC 2356 Sociology of the Family; SOC  3307 Social Psychology; SOC 3315 Medical Sociology; SOC 3354 Sociology of Mental Illness;

Psychology:  PSY 3305 Motivation & Emotion; PSY 3307 Social Psychology; PSY 3308 Cognitive Psychology; PSY 3310 Drugs, Addiction and Behavior; PSY 3336 Lifespan Development; PSY 3346 Principles of Learning; PSY 3348 Sensation & Perception; PSY 3310 Drugs, Addiction & Behavior; PSY 4310 Health Psychology


II. Discipline Content Area: Health, Wellness, & Physical Function

Therapeutic Recreation: TRC 2305 Living Well! Benefits of Leisure for People with Disabilities; TRC 2311 Introduction to Community Recreation; TRC 2312 Foundations of Therapeutic Recreation; TRC 2313 Environmental Issues, Education, & Ethics; TRC 3301 Leisure & Aging; TRC 3302 Recreational Activities: Analysis & Application; TRC 4306 Organization & Management in Recreation;

Physical Education: PED 2321 Physiological Basis for Human Movement

Healthcare Management: HCM 2301 Health Law & Ethics; HCM 2302 Research Methods in Health Sciences; HCM 2304 Virtual Gaming to Address Health Disparities 

III. Discipline Content Area: Business, Finance, & Administration

Accounting: ACC 2316 Principles of Financial Accounting;  ACC 3321 Accounting for Governmental, Health Care, & Other Not-for-Profit Organizations; ACC 3101 Fundamentals of Nonprofit Accounting

Economics: ECO 2310 Concepts of Health Economics; ECO 2311 Principles of Microeconomics; ECO 2312 Principles of Macroeconomics; ECO 3317 Health Care Economics

Management: MGT 1304 Introduction to Business















































NOTE:  Additional elective hours may be required to bring the total credits earned to at least 120 semester hours; the university requirement for graduation.


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