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At a Glance

Graduate Courses

Core/Required Courses

Core courses are designed to help students build a solid multidisciplinary foundation in aging studies.

The GERO 501 course provides the student with an introduction and overview of the multi-disciplinary field of gerontology including terminology, theoretical perspectives, research and demography, public policy, ageism, history of the study of aging, cross-cultural study of aging, end-of-life issues, spirituality, career exploration and professional ethics.  Course investigations and projects will require students to explore personal value systems and perceptions of aging.

The GERO 505 course will study the effects of aging on body systems and the influence of such changes on health and function. It will include opportunities for designing strategies that facilitate healthy aging. Learning experiences will be connected to real world situations and are designed to facilitate reflection, critical thinking and application of principles learned.
The GERO 510 course will examine aging from both macro and micro perspectives to explore how the aging individual is affected by social and cultural forces, and in turn, how the aging population affects the greater society. Students will draw upon sociological perspectives to increase our understanding of applied and theoretical issues in aging, examine the social aspects of aging through roles and relationships, and explore aging as it is related to social institutions and the concept of "community."
The GERO 520 course examines psychological aging in terms of change processes. Psychological theories of aging will be covered as well as the content areas of cognition, personality, and mental health. Students will examine normal and pathological psychological development in these domains, and some of the factors that may influence variations in aging trajectories, including interventions. Several issues in the psychology of aging will be addressed such as suicide and recognizing the difference between dementia, delirium, and depression.
The GERO 586 course is an introductory overview from both the quantitative approach and the qualitative approach. The purpose is to prepare students with the skills necessary to complete a literature search, critique the findings of a research study, write a mini-literature review, and determine the applicability of research findings.
*Required for the M.S. degree and Certificate

Concentration Courses/Specialty Track 

Concentration/Specialty Track courses are designed to help students build expertise in either Aging in Place or Applied Public Policy.

The GERO 541 course examines the concept of “aging in place”, strategies that provide options for living in a community environment, policy trends & emerging issues affecting aging in place.

(required for Aging in Place concentration track)
The GERO 550 course is designed to introduce students to the science of health promotion, wellness and prevention as it applies to older adults.
The GERO 555 course is designed to prepare the learner to apply current public policy to the spectrum of social and clinical settings.

(required for the Applied Public Policy concentration track)
The GERO 556 course will provide an overview of philosophical understandings of old age, general notions about ethics & specific case-based analysis of everyday and urgent ethical issues.
The GERO 560 course will focus on the economic issues created by demographic trends, examine the potential impact on individuals, families, and the private & the public sectors.
The GERO 582 course is designed to explore the impact of the environment on the processes that affect a person’s ability to continue to be an active participant in the community.

Skills Courses 

Skills courses are designed to help students develop and refine professional skills that will be useful regardless of where they work.

The GERO 557 course provides students with the knowledge and basic skills necessary for undertaking project development, planning, and scheduling. Students will work on project scenarios in which they will learn strategies that will ensure solid project outcomes through optimizing project selection approaches related to organizational culture, developing work plans and scopes, undertaking project risk assessment, facilitating effective project communication plans, managing schedules and maximizing available resources through industry standard procedures.
The GERO 558 course provides students with the knowledge and basic skills necessary for undertaking project execution, monitoring, and closure. Students will work on project scenarios in which they will learn strategies that will ensure quality project outcomes through enhanced understanding of leadership styles, optimization of building the right project team, utilization of progress monitoring, and effective communication of results through operational and visual reporting methods.
The GERO 571 course is designed to guide those who consume evaluation information as well as those who want to serve as evaluators.
The GERO 585 course provides students with the background, tools and ability necessary to secure competitive grant funds from private and public grant makers for nonprofit agencies.

Applied Courses

Applied Courses allow students to demonstrate their understanding and further application of theories and practices learned throughout their course of study.

The Practicum is required for students that have not had previous experience working or volunteering with the older adult population. Students choose a work site in a setting with older adults and work in collaboration with a mentor or site coordinator who is considered to be an expert in the activity undertaken.  By permission of the Academic Program Director.
The Capstone Course reflects the student’s cumulative experience and skills gained throughout their graduate academic program with the Center for Aging & Community.  The student will develop a project that demonstrates the ability to synthesize gerontological knowledge gleaned through academic and practical experience, reflects the interdisciplinary nature and theoretical perspectives of gerontology, and will deliver a professional presentation of capstone findings/methodology to faculty, peers, and community professionals.
The independent study option provides a means for students to pursue academic interests beyond the scope of course work in the program.  A proposal must be submitted to the Curriculum Director outlining the specifics of the project.  It may be research-oriented; may involve development of an educational program; or may be a one-on-one in-depth study of a topic with a faculty member.  The project must result in a product or paper to be graded by the faculty advisor, who will be assigned upon approval of the submitted proposal. Students may register for this course after their proposal has been assigned to a faculty member and number of credit hours has been established. 1-3 credit hours and includes additional fees.


Elective courses provide students a broad offering of content in specialty topics related to aging populations.

This course examines dementia and dementia syndromes including Alzheimer’s disease. The primary course objective is to develop an understanding of the complexity and diversity of behaviors, cognitive and psychiatric, that define dementia.
End of Life Issues - This course will engage students in exploring the complex issues of end of life care from the perspectives of both the individual person at end of life and the social systems that influence end of life care. Students will discover how legal, ethical, economic, and competing personal considerations within families all shape end of life decisions.
This course is designed for current and future advocates and practitioners to develop necessary knowledge and skills in order to assist older adults who have experienced abuse. Course learning activities include case studies and discussions to determine the dynamics involved in abuse and how to address them with effective measures of prevention and intervention. (1.5 credits)
This course will provide an overview of fundamental issues related to public health and aging. This includes the role of public health in an aging society, social/behavioral factors, and health disparities. (1.5 credits)
The GERO 581 course explores the unique role of spirituality in the process of aging and in the development of services to, with, and by older persons.
The GERO 584 course provides instruction regarding nutrition needs of individuals as they age with an emphasis on disease prevention and the central role of nutrition in maintaining health.

Note: The courses in the applied, concentration and skills categories may also be taken as electives.

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