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Degree Options

The Gerontology Program offers two undergraduate academic options for professional service work with and for senior adults and their families:

The 15-credit hour Minor in Gerontology is our most flexible program and students tailor a plan of study to meet personal interests. Our Undergraduate Certificate is more focused than the Minor and is designed to prepare students for entry level positions in aging services. Current undergraduate students in good standing may enroll in one of these programs at any time by contacting the Program Director, Dr. Tom Meuser, for an interview.

The brief descriptions below are for overview purposes only, and each program of study may be tailored for individual student needs and interests. The Program Director, Tom Meuser, PhD, advises prospective and current students about their degree options and specific courses. Contact him by email (meusert@umsl.edu) or phone (314-516-5421) to set up an advising appointment.

Minor in Gerontology (15 credits)

Opportunities and challenges of human aging intersect with most academic and professional disciplines. Whether you seek a career in health care, social services, policy, business, criminology, etc., aging will impact your efforts. The 15 credit hour Minor in Gerontology is designed with breadth and flexibility in mind.

This Minor adds a tangible credential for future work with and for older adults, and it can be pursued with any major area of study with proper planning. Contact the Director of the Gerontology Program to learn more and for an advising appointment.

Students have many courses to choose from to create a personalized plan of study. All students must take a 3-credit introductory course – Aging in America: Concepts & Controversies (GERON 2170). At least 6 of the remaining 12 credits must be from courses at the 4000 level. A number of our 4000 level courses can also serve a “capstone” function to meet other major or program requirements. Sufficient online courses are now available for a fully online Minor!

Undergraduate Certificate in Gerontological Studies (18 Credit Hours)

Opportunities and challenges of human aging intersect with most academic and professional disciplines. Seniors receive a range of health, social, economic and other support services (e.g. through government programs, medical centers, senior centers, long-term care facilities, not-for-profit agencies) in order to age successfully at home or elsewhere.

The proportion of older adults in the US population will grow substantially in coming decades. The 18 credit hour Undergraduate Certificate in Gerontological Studies (UCGS) is designed to prepare students for entry level, service-oriented positions in this growing marketplace.

The UCGS adds a tangible credential for future work with and for older adults, and it can be pursued with any major area of study with proper planning. The curriculum involves a combination of required courses and choices for specific learning needs and career interests. All students must take a 3-credit introductory course – Aging in America: Concepts & Controversies (GERON 2170) – and a 3-credit service learning course – Social & Community Services for an Aging Population (GERON 2300). The remaining 12 credits are chosen from a select list of courses at the 3000-4000 levels.  Contact the Director of the Gerontology Program to learn more and for an advising appointment.

Through both programs of study, students will gain:

  1. A detailed appreciation for the aging process with respect to successful aging, health status, physical functioning, cognition and capacity, psychosocial involvement, diversity, cultural influences and competence, and public policy.
  2. An ability to integrate theoretical perspectives on aging with the practical needs and concerns of individuals in various living environments.
  3. An ability to interpret and appropriately utilize research findings to inform daily practice, especially with respect to screening, assessment, intervention, and referral activities.
  4. Professional competence in the areas of ethical practice, participation in multidisciplinary teams, communication with clients and families, and approaches to assessment and intervention.

 

The Gerontology Program does not maintain a separate student manual. This website is the student manual. In addition to details on this site, paper advising guides for these programs are available in Clark Hall, Suite 574, by Office A. While many undergraduate courses are offered in both the daytime and evening, many courses are also offered online such that a student can now earn a fully online minor.  Some instructors may schedule weekend sessions (e.g., for a class assigment at a retirement community). 


Program-wide Learning Objectives
rachel

"I had an excellent opportunity with work one-on-one, I feel, very closely with a lot of my professors.  I had a great opportunity to be a graduate research assistant to Dr. Margo Hurwicz, which fit nicely……It was a beautiful blend or marriage of hands-on, like actually getting to do primary and secondary research with Alzheimer’s Disease."  Rachel Lugge, MSG (2007 Graduate)

 

torrey

"What I found in being a graduate student at UMSL was that I had the freedom to dream as big as I wanted to dream.  My main point that I really stress about my education at UMSL is that I felt that I mattered and I felt that someone was going to be to help guide me down that path, to point me in that direction."  Torrey Johnson, MSG (2010 Graduate)