VIEW an interview with the Program Director.

The Gerontology Program offers two primary degree options (i.e., applicable to most students) and one secondary degree option to address specific student interests at graduate and undergraduate levels.

Courses are offered mainly at night to accomodate the schedules of working students. Classes start at 4:00 PM or later in most instances. Some instructors will schedule Saturday sessions (e.g., for a class assignment at a retirement community) with weeknights off to compensate. Some flexibility in work schedules is helpful for practicum placements which usually require 8-5 weekday commitments.

Most courses are offered live in the classroom, but also facilitated by various on-line tools and resources. A number of courses will be offered on-line in the coming years, but we do not anticipate that our degrees will be offered 100% on-line. Gerontology is a very personal, hands-on field of study and is best taught through live instruction, discussion, role playing, and service learning activities.

The 36-credit hour MSG can be completed in as few as four consecutive semesters, and the 18-credit hour Graduate Certificate can be completed in as few as two semesters. A full course load at the graduate level is 9 credit hours. Students may take as few as one 3-credit course in each of the Fall and Winter-Spring semesters and remain enrolled in good standing. Those with student loans usually need to take at least 6 credits each term.

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 e-mail ( or phone (314-516-5421) to set up an advising appointment.

Primary Options:

Master of Science in Gerontology - MSG (36 Credit Hours)

The Master of Science degree in Gerontology (MSG) is a multi-disciplinary program of study designed to prepare students for management or direct service positions working with older adults and their families in various service, government and/or research settings. The program of study includes courses from a variety of departments including anthropology, nursing, psychology, sociology, social work, public policy administration, and optometry. Courses are offered primarily in the evening to accommodate part-­time, as well as full-­time students.

The current MSG Curriculum was approved by the UMSL Faculty Senate in March, 2012, and now applies to all students in the program. This curriculum includes a 15-credit core curriculum of courses which expose the student to issues of policy, health, sociocultural, clinical and psychosocial aspects of aging. At least two course choices are available in each area.

Students may choose one of two tracks which define their remaining course options:

TRACK 1 (Service & Care). This is the default track for those entering the program. Students who want to work directly with older adults in various programmatic and/or service settings benefit from the broad, practice-emphasis of this track. Students complete two 200-hour practicum placements linked with their career and learning goals. Track 1 students must complete 6 credits in statistics, research methods, and/or program evaluation courses. Nine elective credits are also part of the plan of study for this track.

TRACK 2 (Program Administration). This is an optional track for students pursuing an administrative career path in aging. For example, this would be an appropriate track for someone interested in becoming a Licensed Nursing Home Administrator. We partner with the Certificate in Nonprofit Management & Leadership (CNML) to make this track possible. Students declare their interest in Track 2 during their first semester in the MSG Program. Those doing so must meet with the CNML Director for an interview. If approved to proceed, the Track 2 student must devote all of his or her electives to taking courses in the CNML Program. Both 200-hour practicum placements usually emphasize program administration, although some exposure to direct service is possible.

CLICK HERE to view the MSG Planning & Course Rotation Guide.

Graduate Certificate in Gerontology - GCG (18 Credit Hours)

The Graduate Certificate in Gerontology is designed for students who wish to receive post-baccalaureate training in gerontology. The certificate can be taken by itself or in conjunction with a graduate degree in another field, such as social work, nursing, counseling, psychology, etc.

The certificate represents a specialization in the aging process and in working with and for older adults. An MSW student, for example, who pursues the GCE concurrently (or enrolls later having worked in the field) can rightfully call him or herself a "Gerontological Social Worker" upon graduation. 

The GCG utilizes the same core curriculum described under the MSG Degree above. Students also complete one 200-hour practicum at a community agency, government office, research facility, or other like organization.

MSW students at UMSL may declare to become part of the GCG Program at any time. Admission is automatic. This declaration must be in writing. Click here to view and print the declaration form.  Click here to view the MSW+GCG Advising Guide.

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Undergraduate Certificate in Gerontological Studies (15 Credit Hours)

A certificate in gerontological studies, a multidisciplinary course of study, is available at the University of Missouri ­ St. Louis. This program provides an opportunity for students to obtain a focused specialty in gerontology in addition to their majors. It utilizes offerings in the College of Arts and Sciences, College of Nursing, the College of Business, and the College of Education. It is appropriate for students in any of the colleges of the University. Those wishing to pursue this certificate option should meet with Dr. Meuser as early in their undergraduate career as possible to ensure that an appropriate plan of study can be developed. See the Gerontology Bulletin for a full description of this certificate option.