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

Students majoring in gerontology must meet the following requirements for graduation:

University Curriculum 146
College of Arts and Sciences Curriculum 221-24
Gerontology Core Requirements
SO 101Introduction to Sociology 33
PS 101Introduction to Psychology 33
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 200Biomedical Basis and Experience of Human Aging 33
GT 382Studying Social Issues with Statistics (SO 382)3
GT 400Senior Seminar (SO 400)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 3
SO 244
Race, Class and Gender The Invisible Ladder: Social Inequalities 3
SO 255
Sociology of Families (WS 255) 3
SO 264
Power and Social Institutions
SO 266
Population and Society 3
SO 280
Sociology of Health and Illness 3
SO 305
Sociology of Death and Dying (GT 305)
PL 368
Philosophy of Death and Dying
PS 325
Health Psychology
Any PT or OT course
Select two of the following:6
GT 270
Community Program Development (SO 270)
GT 305
Sociology of Death and Dying (SO 305)
GT 311
Introduction to Social Work (SO 311)
GT 315
Case Management (SO 315)
Free Electives10-13
Total Credits120-126

All students must complete the University Curriculum requirements.


Students must complete the College of Arts and Sciences Curriculum requirements specific to their major. See details below.


These courses also satisfy University Curriculum requirements.

College of Arts and Sciences Curriculum

The College of Arts and Sciences offers bachelor of arts and bachelor of science degrees. Students earning either degree must complete one foreign language through the 102-level, and all students are encouraged to pursue a balanced program of study.

In addition, students earning a bachelor of arts degree must fulfill separate requirements for breadth and depth of study.

For the breadth requirement, students must complete at least 3 credits in each of the four CAS disciplinary areas other than the area of the student’s major. These areas are fine arts, humanities, natural sciences and social sciences. A course taken to fulfill the CAS breadth requirement may not also be used to fulfill a UC requirement.

For the depth requirement, students must complete at least 9 credits within a single subject area other than that of the major. (A “subject area” is identified with a catalog subject code, such as PL, CJ, WS, MA, etc.) 

A student enrolled in the Accelerated Dual-Degree BA/JD or BS/JD (3+3) program is exempt from these College of Arts and Sciences requirements, with the exception of the foreign language requirement. A student pursuing a double major is likewise exempt from these College of Arts and Sciences requirements, with the exception of the foreign language requirement.

Additional course details
Explore descriptions, schedule and instructor information using the Course Finder tool.