The Gerontology Program is a multidisciplinary, four-year curriculum designated as a Program of Merit by the Association for Gerontology in Higher Education. The program focuses on teaching students to think analytically, use resources, and make informed decisions about aging issues. Human service skills, an integral part of the program, are intended to assist the student in obtaining jobs in a variety of aging-related settings. The purpose of the gerontology program is two-fold. First, it offers educational opportunities to students throughout the university to gain information, knowledge and skills relevant to living and working in an aging society. Second, the program offers a broad-based, multidisciplinary course of study that prepares students for beginning careers in the field of aging and for graduate study in aging-related fields.
Upon completion of the gerontology program, the students should possess the following:
- An understanding of the societal issues, concerns, and challenges brought about by an aging society;
- Knowledge of the social and cultural contexts in which aging occurs;
- An understanding of the physical, psychological, and social process of aging;
- An understanding of the characteristics of older persons and the issues and concerns associated with differing experiences of aging;
- The ability to identify and utilize community resources and support systems for older persons and their families; and
- Skills in planning and implementing aging programs and services.
The curriculum for a Bachelor of Arts degree in gerontology requires a minimum of 123 semester hours. The curriculum includes 63 semester hours of lower division courses (41 semester hours in general education core courses, 18 semester hours in support courses, and 4 semester hours in lower division gerontology courses). There are 60 semester hours in upper division courses (30 semester hours in gerontology courses which include a nine-hour internship; 12 semester hours in aging courses in psychology, sociology, political science and biology; 6 semester hours in support courses in human performance and sport sciences, and psychology; and 12 semester hours of electives with course offerings in the College of Arts and Sciences, School of Business and Economics, School of Education and Human Performance, and the School of Health Sciences). Gerontology majors are strongly encouraged to take electives, which will enhance their knowledge of gerontology and prepare them for employment and graduate study. Students must have at least 60 documented contact hours of volunteer experiences with older persons prior to the junior year; a minimum grade point average of 2.5 overall for admission to the program; a grade of C or better in all required upper division courses; and a grade point average of 2.5 or better in the major.