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Social Sciences and Professional Studies

Program Offered:
Certificate - Gerontology

Certificate in Gerontology:

Gerontology is the study of the process of aging from diverse perspectives. The study of gerontology provides us with an understanding of the biological, psychological, and social influences on people as they age. In addition, the study of gerontology examines the impact of social, political, economic, and health-care policies on the welfare of the elderly.

A certificate in gerontology verifies that a student has taken courses that directly relate to the needs of aging populations and is motivated and prepared to work in this field. The certificate indicates that the student has received college credit for work and that the performance meets the standards of a program offered through the University of Wisconsin-Parkside.

Career Opportunities

As the population of the United States ages, the number of elderly requiring support will increase greatly. Students seeking careers in gerontology will find new opportunities in the public, private, and nonprofit sectors. Entry-level positions are available in programs for the elderly that specialize in housing and long- term residential care, health care, recreation and fitness, and administration of community-based programs that serve older adult populations.

Requirements for Gerontology Certificate (15 credits)

The certificate in gerontology will require the successful completion of 15 credits among the required and elective courses described below. Students must achieve a 2.5 GPA or better in this program to receive a certificate

  1. Required Courses (12 credits)
    BIOS 109 Biology of Aging (no prerequisite) 3 cr
    PSYC 241 Psychology of Aging
    (prerequisite: PSYC 101)
    3 cr
    SOCA 326 Social Gerontology
    (prerequisite: SOCA 101; junior standing)
    3 cr
    Department Specific Internship in Gerontology* 3 cr

    *Students who already have experience in the field of gerontology may receive credit for an internship through written agreement with a faculty member of this program.

  2. Elective Courses (3 credits)
    Choose one course:  
    BIOS 190 Fundamentals in Human Nutrition** 2 cr
    HESM 340 Aging and Wellness 3 cr
    SOCA 319 Death and Dying 3 cr
    SOCA 499 Independent Study 3 cr
    **Students seeking a certificate in gerontology must complete an additional credit of course work. Students may choose a topic of interest to explore in depth as part of a 1-credit independent study. This independent study may be in any of the departments that are part of the Gerontology Certificate Program and must be with the consent of the instructor.

Internships in Gerontology

Students in the gerontology certificate program are required to complete an internship at an area agency that serves the elderly. Such internships are designed to provide experiential learning opportunities as well as introduce students to community expectations with regard to service needs of the elderly. In addition, this is an excellent way of networking with people currently working in this area and learning about possible job opportunities. Internships will be provided through the certificate program, but students who are connected with area aging agencies who wish to complete the internship at a pre- arranged site can do so. Students will receive 3 credits for their participation.

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