Certificate in Gerontology Overview

General Information

Marygrove College offers a multidisciplinary certificate program in gerontology. This certificate is intended for people who have completed at least two years of undergraduate course work. It is also designed for professional practitioners with baccalaureate or advanced degrees, who want to deepen their understanding of aging and are interested in developing skills to become leaders in the provision and development of services that empower older adults.

To receive a certificate in gerontology, you must complete a minimum of 16 credit hours at Marygrove College. This includes 14 credit hours of required courses and two credit hours of elective courses.

The three credit hour field experience in gerontology may be waived if you are presently participating in a supervised work experience with the elderly‚ or if the field practicum experience for your major is in a gerontological setting. In such cases, you would take another three credit elective course in the program.


The aging population is increasing rapidly and will continue to expand. Presently, every eighth American is elderly. By the year 2020 every fourth American will be over 65 years of age. As the elderly population expands, so does the need for trained professionals with an understanding of the needs of this population. If you are currently working or interested in gaining employment with one of the many programs for the elderly that receive Medicaid and/or Medicare reimbursement, you are now required to have at least a bachelor’s degree with some training in gerontology.

In addition to professional preparation, Marygrove’s gerontology program will provide you with increased understanding of your older relatives, and it will help you prepare for your own retirement and older adult years.

If your major is social work, psychology, sociology, business or education of the adult learner, you can enhance and combine your career preparation with a certificate in gerontology.


The total credit hour requirement for the certificate is 16 hours, including:

A. Required Courses

SW 237/537   Physical Aspects of Aging 2 hours
SW 299*        Pre-professional Practicum 3 hours
SW 200 A      Special Topics: Substance Abuse 2 hours
SW 378/578   Policies and Services for Older Persons 2 hours
SW 410/610   Working with Older Adults 2 hours
PSY 346/546 Aging Individual in Society 3 hours

*To be arranged with approval of the director of the gerontology program.

B. Elective Courses

Select a minimum of two credit hours from the following courses:

BIO 141            Nutrition Through the Life Cycle 3 hours
EDU 390/590  The Adult Learner 3 hours
PSY 348          Death and Dying 3 hours
RS 384            Faith and Human Development 3 hours
SOC 306         Ethnic and Racial Diversity 3 hours
SOC 307         Introduction to Ethnic and Cultural Studies 3 hours
SW 325           Professional Communication 3 hours
SW 200C        Working with Mental Illness 2 hours


Students pursuing a bachelor’s degree may elect a minor in gerontology. The minor consists of 24 credit hours including the six courses listed as “required” for the certificate program. The remainder of courses will be chosen from the “electives” listed above.

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