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Gerontology, Certificate

Department: Family and Human Services

Coordinator: Deborah Altus, Professor


This certificate is constructed around the premise that a broader understanding of Gerontology is critical to meet the needs of an aging society. The certificate is also based on the premise that Gerontology is, by its nature, an interdisciplinary course of study requiring education in bio-psycho-social issues. Expanded career opportunities in gerontology are forecast in many areas, including healthcare, the helping professions, public policy, and more. As a result, this certificate is open to all students across the university and includes courses from several disciplines. This certificate will prepare students to meet increasing workforce needs of an aging society and/or to pursue graduate study in Gerontology or related fields.

Student Learning Outcomes

Students obtaining the Gerontology Certificate, upon graduation, will be able to:

  • Describe physiological, psychological, and social changes that are associated with aging.
  • Identify societal changes that are associated with an aging population.
  • Identify ways in which aging is intersected by race, ethnicity, gender, socio-economic status, and other important social variables.
  • Use evidence-based information, effective logic and accurate vocabulary to communicate about Gerontology.

Study Plan

To obtain the certificate, students will complete 18 credit hours of coursework. In addition to 15 credit hours of required coursework, students must complete three credit hours of elective coursework. Some courses may require completion of prerequisites. The list of electives may be modified as new courses with Gerontology content become available. Students wishing to obtain elective credit for a directed study or internship course must obtain prior approval from the coordinator.

Certificate Requirements

HS 131Human Development3
HS 372Death & Dying3
HS 378Issues in Aging3
BI 260Biology of Aging3
PY 212Psychology of Adulthood and Aging 13
or PY 326 Health Psychology
Elective Course (Select one course from the list below)3
Total Hours18

Prerequisite: PY 100

Elective Courses

AL 101Foundations of Healthcare3
AL 366Legal & Regulatory Issues for the Health Care Professional3
AL 420Current Issues in Health Care3
AN 312Medical Anthropology 13
AR 291/391Art Therapy 23
CN 306Health Communication3
CN 351Interpersonal Communication3
HS 301Working with Trauma3
HS 371Mental Health and Aging3
HS 390Special Topics (Strategies in Lifespan Resilience)1-6
HS 390Special Topics (Disability Studies)1-6
HS 411Family Issues3
LG 220Wills & Estate Administration 33
LG 320Elder Law 33
KN 248Wellness Concepts and Applications3
NU 335Special Topics/Nursing ( Interdisciplinary Community Health) 43
NU 335Special Topics/Nursing (Palliative Care) 43
PO 305Public Policy3
PY 326Health Psychology 23
SO 326Aging and Society 53
SW 360Geriatric Social Work Practice3
An internship or practicum in a setting approved by the coordinator3
A directed study course approved by the coordinator3

Prerequisite: AN 112 or AN 116


Prerequisite: PY 100


Prerequisite: LG 100 or LG 200 or consent


Prerequisite: Requires Consent


Prerequisite: SO 100