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Gerontology Program

Gerontology is the study of human aging in all of its forms. Gerontologists need to have a broad understanding of aging in order to work with and for older adults. We emphasize "generalist" training in our undergraduate and graduate degree programs. Our goal is to equip students with the theoretical and evidence-based knowledge in order to succeed in just about any context: social services, health, hospice, long-term care, public policy, aging services administration, business, etc.

As a field of study and professional practice, Gerontology is inherently multi- and interdisplinary in nature. Many health, policy, business and social service professionals focus their careers on aging. You can train as a social worker, for example, but still also market yourself as a gerontologist, too. In fact, many social work students at UMSL pursue a concurrent degree (minor, certificate) in aging to accomplish this. It is easy to do. Cross-disciplinary knowledge is critical for success in this field, and our degree programs emphasize this fact. Gerontologists play critical roles on professional teams and in the coordination care and other services for seniors. Is this a career path for you? Contact the Program Director, Dr. Tom Meuser, for a chat by phone or in-person meeting to find out!

Our Master of Science in Gerontology (MSG) is our ultimate professional degree for aging-related practice. The MSG pairs well with just about any undergraduate major or even another Masters degree. For example, a graduate with a degree in marketing may pursue the MSG in order to better communicate about products and services with seniors. Business opportunities are aging are skyrocketing, in fact, especially in the areas of technologies to support health, function and positive quality of life. A psychology or nursing graduate might pursue the MSG in order to work in research or with respect to a specific disease, such as Alzheimer disease. In fact, a number of our graduates in recent years have obtained research-related positions with Washington University School of Medicine. The MSG is also an excellent foundation to pursue doctoral studies. Three of our recent graduates are doing just this at UMSL (clinical psychology) and Saint Louis University (social work, neuroscience).

We have degree options to fit just about any learning need or career goal in aging, including direct service, program coordination, and research. Our graduates work for major employers in St. Louis and elsewhere, including the Alzheimer's Association, Lutheran Senior Services, Alexian Brothers, the Mid East Area Agency on Aging, Washington University School of Medicine, etc. Our classes also make wonderful electives for students to develop a personal competency in aging without pursuing a formal degree. Knowledge of human aging can enrich any plan of study and career path!

VIEW Our Course & Degree Advising Guide

Openness and collaboration are keys to our Program's success. While small relative to other degree programs at UMSL, the Gerontology Program holds a unique position in education and outreach that defies disciplinary boundaries. We all need to know about health, function and success in aging - if not professionally, then certainly for ourselves and family members. Our vision for UMSL Gerontology is simple, that we are the preeminent source for academic and professional training in gerontology for our City and Region! Are you ready to make your career in aging? If so, consider what UMSL has to offer!

Mission Statement

The Gerontology Program is committed to producing graduates who have an appreciation for the rewards and challenges of gerontological practice, and who are equipped with the knowledge to shape positive attitudes concerning aging, and who have the skills necessary to build meaningful structures for care and support of older adults in our community and beyond.