May 26, 2024  
2022-2023 Supplemental Undergraduate Catalog 
2022-2023 Supplemental Undergraduate Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Gerontology Major, BA

Program Description

The gerontology program is an Academy for Geronotology in 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 Academy 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 aging, especially minority aging, within the context of societal issues, concerns and challenges introduced by differing experiences and a growing older adult population.
  2. A holistic understanding of aging as a combination of biological, psychological and social processes.
  3. The ability to communicate effectively with older adults and professionals, while also demonstrating an understanding of program implementation and community resource availability.
  4. Knowledge of research methods, demonstrating an ability to evaluate and interpret research findings and develop relevant questions designed to address age-related issues.

Major Requirements

The major requires 40 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, 40 SHs in the major area include 10 SHs in foundational gerontology courses, which includes a field practicum 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.  

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 beginning the six credit hour internship; 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

Course Number/ Course Title Credit Hours
GER 2301 - General Gerontology   3

GER 2326 - Statistics for Social and Behavior Sciences /

SOC 2326 - Statistics for the Social and Behavioral Sciences  

BIO 1301 - Biological Concepts   3
PSY 1301 - Introduction to the Psychological Sciences   3
SOC 2301 - Introduction to Sociology   3

Foundational Courses

Course Number/ Course Title Credit Hours
GER 2101 - General Gerontology Practicum   1
BIO 3310 - Biology of Aging   3
SOC 3304 - Social Gerontology   3
PSY 3303 - Aging    or PSY 2336 - Lifespan Development    3

Breadth Courses

Course Number/ Course Title Credit Hours
GER 3302 - Gerontological Theory to Practice   3
GER 4301 - Research Methods and Evaluation in Gerontology   3
GER 4303 - Senior Capstone Seminar   3
GER 4601 - Internship in Gerontology   6