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Gerontology Department

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Aging Studies Department

Since 1974, hundreds of professionals have been trained to be experts in the aging process, later adulthood, community programs and services, long-term care and public policy issues. Courses are offered for credit or for noncredit certificates of attendance.

GerontologyPrepare to address the growing and evolving concerns of an aging population and to promote the potential of people in their later years, through courses that address the physical, social, psychological and spiritual aspects of growing older. Learn how to plan ahead and engage in positive practices that will result in a healthier and more satisfying senescence for yourself and others.

In our aging studies programs, you’ll also gain skills in ethics, professionalism, problem solving, oral and written communication, interpersonal skills, critical thinking, capacity building, and organizational savvy. Develop leadership skills through the AGerS student association and Sigma Phi Omega, the gerontology honorary society. Internship opportunities and job search strategies and techniques practiced during your senior year can result in employment even before graduation.

As people live longer and the older population continues to grow, there is an increased need for informed professionals to help negotiate the maze of services and benefits for older adults. The number of interesting jobs in the field is on the rise, providing opportunities to pursue a new career, start a business, or enhance your current career with expertise in aging.

In the community
We believe it’s important that you learn from experience, as well as from textbooks and classroom activities, so we expect you to be involved in the community. You are required to invest time in learning about the different settings and locations that serve older adults through community visits we call professional contacts. As a student, you also are encouraged to join alumni, internship supervisors and former and current faculty in contributing to the department’s educational blog, at “Aging is Serious Business.”

An internship experience is part of many credentials, so you can get hands-on exposure to your career of choice, begin to develop your professional network, and gain confidence in your knowledge, skills and abilities. The internship entails a minimum of 225 clock hours of service in a relevant setting, depending on the student’s career aim, accompanied by a two-credit seminar, in which internship experiences are discussed, professionalism is explored, and job search skills are refined. We encourage you to volunteer in non-profit settings or work part-time in long-term care or community programs. As a consequence, you will graduate with a robust résumé and be better prepared to produce an immediate return on investment for your employer.


Undergraduate Majors


Aging Studies, B.S., A.S.
This major deals with the study of the aging process and the growth of adults from middle age to advanced old age. Aging Studies majors will be able to advocate for older adults, understand and know how to work within different environments with elders, and access appropriate community resources. Courses within the department cover a broad variety of subjects, such as spirituality and its role in the aging process, Alzheimer’s and other dementias, public policy, legal issues, and physical aspects of aging. The Bachelor of Science in Aging Studies requires 33 credits, while the Associate of Science requires 28 credits. Students frequently combine their major with a certificate of completion or achievement in order to enhance their marketability.

Plan of Study - Gerontology Department          Career Opportunities - Gerontology Department


Long Term Care Administration Major, B.S., A.S.
This program focuses primarily on the support, assistance and care of older adults experiencing functional limitations, as well as on ways to promote their autonomy and quality of life. The 52 credit curriculum is comprised of approximately one-third business courses and two-thirds aging courses. Department classes cover subjects such as legal issues for older adults, public policy, programs and services, as well as an internship experience. Choose from two concentrations for the bachelor’s degree: Nursing Home Administration, which prepares you for the two licensure exams offered by the state of Michigan; and Care Management, which aims to equip you to be care coordinators within your community. The Associate of Science in Long Term Care Administration requires 29 credits plus nine credits of required support courses. This degree has a concentration only in nursing home administration.

Plan of Study - Gerontology Department          Career Opportunities - Gerontology Department


Minor and Certificates


Aging Studies Minor
As a minor aging studies is good addition to a major in social sciences, business, health sciences or pastoral care. This minor is not appropriate if you are majoring in long term administration. It requires 20 credits of course work in aging studies. You need to take Introduction to the Aging Experience, and then select an additional 17 credits in Aging Studies Department courses. General Psychology is a required prerequisite.

Plan of Study - Gerontology Department


Aging Studies Certificate of Achievement
Comprised of 31 credits plus the general psychology course of 3 credits, this certificate provides a broad foundation in the multifaceted aspect of human aging. If you are a professional or student in a discipline which relates to older adults, such as healthcare, social work, pastoral care, or elder law, then this certificate will help you effectively serve and advocate with and for older adults.

Plan of Study - Gerontology Department


Activity and Program Planning Certificate of Achievement
This certificate prepares you to develop and implement engaging and meaningful activities for older adults. You can take it as a free-standing credential or in combination with a major, such as aging studies, long term care administration, family and consumer science or sociology. The certificate requires 31 credits plus the general psychology course of three semester hours.

Plan of Study - Gerontology Department


Care Management Certificate of Achievement
This 33 credit credential, with a three credit general psychology prerequisite, is intended for those who wish to acquire the knowledge and skills to coordinate care for vulnerable populations. These courses will prepare you to assess the needs and develop care plans for older adults. You also will develop a broad background in aging, so you can effectively intervene on behalf of elders and their family members who need assistance with managing life challenges.

Plan of Study - Gerontology Department


Eldercare Practice Certificate of Completion
This certificate is 13 credits and provides the core care management methodology. It is beneficial for professionals with experience in their discipline who wish to add skills to coordinate care for their older clients, or for students in aging studies/gerontology, social work, nursing or a related practice area who wish to add the care management methodology to their skill set.

Plan of Study - Gerontology Department


Dementia Care Certificate of Completion
This credential is 11 credits and it offers you knowledge and develops your ability to provide optimal quality of life for persons with cognitive impairment. You can take it in combination with another major or to enhance your skills for working with persons and families affected by dementia.

Plan of Study - Gerontology Department


Aging and Older Adults Certificate of Completion
A 9 credit certificate that offers a basic foundation in aging studies for those who recognize that during their career they will be involved significantly with older adults. Each of the three courses is available online at some point during the academic year. You will find this credential beneficial if you work in criminal justice, human resources, political science, merchandising, hospitality and other fields.

Plan of Study - Gerontology Department


Nursing Home Administration Certificate of Completion
This 9 credit credential will prepare you for entry-level positions in nursing home administration and to take the state and federal licensure examinations. Courses will familiarize you with laws and regulations relevant to nursing home administration, best practices for quality of care, and the principles of management in the long term care setting. If you currently work in, or desire a career in, long term care, you would benefit from these courses.

Plan of Study - Gerontology Department