Gerontology deals with issues that face the growing population of older adults. As a professional in this field, you’ll use sociological and scientific knowledge, interpersonal skills and public resources to improve the quality of life and security of the elderly.

Program Overview

Our interdisciplinary program equips you with the expertise to investigate and respond to the unique social and biological issues facing aging populations and their families. You’ll work privately with seniors, or in elder care facilities, retirement homes and hospitals to ensure that their physical and emotional needs are met. The gerontology major also paves the way to graduate study in such fields as social work, nursing or other health-related occupations, law and public health.

Gerontology majors choose careers as activity directors, counselors and care managers, or assist seniors and their families in finding social service programs and other resources. Your research could affect public opinion and persuade legislators to effectively address the needs of the elderly. At times, genuine companionship is the greatest service you’ll provide.

Two semester-long internships allow you to work directly with seniors in settings such as retirement complexes, assisted-living facilities, hospitals and nursing homes. This experience positions you for employment upon graduation in an environment that matches your career goals.

Catherine Solomon writes at a white board.
“We need to resist the urge to view ordinary aging events as negative. Getting old — and the age-related changes that come with it like wrinkles, age spots or hearing aids — doesn't diminish who we are as people and shouldn't hinder how we go about our lives. Reframing age can empower people so that they can be agents of change in their own lives.”
Catherine Richards Solomon
Professor of Sociology, Chair of Sociology, Criminal Justice & Anthropology

Curriculum and Requirements

Gerontology Curriculum

In addition to the University Curriculum and the College of Arts and Sciences Curriculum requirements, students majoring in Gerontology must meet the following requirements for graduation:

Gerontology Core Requirements
Required courses for the major in gerontology:
SO 101Introduction to Sociology 13
PS 101Introduction to Psychology 13
GT 205From College to Career (SO/CJ 205)1
GT 263Sociology of Aging (SO 263)3
PS 234Adult Development & Aging (GT 234)3
GT 290Research Methods (SO 290)3
BMS 200Biology and Experience of Human Aging 13
GT 382Studying Social Issues with Statistics (SO 382)3
GT 385Senior Seminar (SO 385)3
Two internships in the community:
GT 392Internship in the Community (SO 392)3
GT 394Advanced Internship in the Community3
Select two of the following:6
SO 241
Sociology of Race and Ethnicity 1
SO 244
Social Stratification 1
SO 255
Sociology of Families (WS 255) 1
SO 264
Social Welfare Institutions
SO 266
Population and Society 1
SO 280
Illness and Disability 1
SO 305
Death, Grief and Bereavement (GT 305)
PL 220
Ethics and Human Values 1
PL 234
Philosophies of Health, Healing and Medicine 1
PL 368
Philosophy of Death and Dying
PS 325
Health Psychology
Any PT or OT course
Select two of the following:6
GT 270
Program Planning and Administration (SO 270)
GT 305
Death, Grief and Bereavement (SO 305)
GT 311
Introduction to Social Work (SO 311)
GT 315
Case Management (SO 315)
Total Credits43

These courses also satisfy University Curriculum requirements.

Additional course details
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