"Real world" learning experiences are a critical component of our degree programs in Gerontology. Practicum training fosters linkage of theory with practice, while providing the student with a basis for making career-related decisions and contacts for the future.

Graduate Certificate (GCG) students are required to take one 200-hour Practicum (GER 6495). Those completing the Master of Science (MSG) must take an additional 200-hour Advanced Practicum (GER 6496). The Advanced Practicum is considered a “capstone” experience, usually involving a specific project, product or professional role, and should be completed during the last semester before graduation.

MSG students with a strong interest in research and/or a desire to go on to seek doctoral level training in aging may substitute the Practicum in Gerontological Research (GER 6500) for GER 6495. This decision is made in consultation with the Program Director, Dr. Meuser. Practicum requirements are summarized in the Advising Guide, and discussed in depth below and through the links at the bottom of this page.

Students with a significant work experience in the service of older adults (or in some instances family care experience) may petition for waiver of GER 6495. Such petitions must be made in writing to the Program Director with supporting information. Those receiving a waiver take a 3-credit elective course in place of 6495. 

All students receive detailed advising from the Program Director during each semester in the program. Advising sessions include discussion of practicum options and tasks. Students pursuing the MSG on a full-time basis usually complete their practicum experiences during Semesters 2 and 5 in the program. Those attending on a part-time basis may delay the first practicum until after 9-12 credit hours of coursework have been completed.


*** WITHOUT EXCEPTION, all students must be certified through the Family Care Safety Registry, Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services, and receive a clean background check before being allowed to accrue any practicum hours. Registration is required by Week 6 of the first enrolled semester. Documentation should be provided to Dr. Meuser or Debra Garcia. Depending on the circumstances, those who do not obtain a clean background check and certification may still be able to pursue a practicum. These details are worked out with and by the Program Director. Students with a legal history, particularly past felony conviction(s), should discuss this with Dr. Meuser at the soonest possible opportunity before or during the first enrolled semester. Recent or serious past offenses may prevent completion of program requirements, and hence prevent graduation. Address all questions to Dr. Meuser or the Interim Program Director as appropriate.


Important Practicum Documents:

Step by Step Practicum Guide

Advanced Practicum 6496 Project Guide

Preferred Practicum Sites

Practicum Declaration Form (Submit prior to practicum-related advising for the next semeser.)

The following two documents are MS Word files. To view and print, right click on the link, choose "save as" and save to your hard drive or desktop. Open with MS Word (or compatible program), type in your information, and then print. Be sure to save your typed version for later reference or revision.

Learning Agreement Form (To be completed/typed with site supervisor during first 20 hours on site.) 

Time Sheet (Record all hours and have site supervisor sign off. Submit to Program Director at end.)