Gerontology (MA)

Volume 1: 2022.2023

Effective 1 June 2022 through 31 May 2023

Please see the Graduate Catalog Archives for PDF versions of past catalogs.

This program is offered by the College of Science and Health and is only available online.

Program Description

The curriculum is designed to provide students with the skills and knowledge necessary for careers related to gerontology, which is the study of aging, in all aspects, from a behavioral and social sciences point of view. The courses in the program draw upon a variety of disciplines such as management, the behavioral and social sciences, economics, political science and the natural sciences. Within this multidisciplinary framework, students are provided with a broad educational base concerning the impact of aging on individuals and cultures. The gerontology core courses as well as the program electives are concerned with maximizing the application of gerontological knowledge particularly in areas of direct service, consulting, program development, management and administration.

As the population of the United States and other parts of the world ages, the need for individuals in all aspects of society and business with knowledge of aging will only increase. Those who prepare for this change in demographics by developing an expertise relative to gerontological issues and concerns will be quite marketable as professionals. The gerontology curriculum is designed to provide students with the requisite core knowledge regarding aging individuals and the impact of this “age wave” on social, economic and political structures. A degree in gerontology prepares you to understand and provide vital services for the older adult population, including: policy development; case management; community-based services; product design and advertising; administration; health services; human resources; and direct services such as counseling, medical and financial planning.

Gerontology courses may be taken as electives in conjunction with other graduate programs.

Learning Outcomes

Upon completion of the program, students will be able to:

  • Demonstrate their knowledge of concepts related to healthy aging in terms of physical, psychological, economic and social science domains.
  • Demonstrate an integration and synthesis of theoretical approaches to healthy aging in the physical, psychological, economic and social science domains.
  • Apply scientific research to specific, real world issues.

Program Curriculum

The 36 credit hours required for the master of arts (MA) in gerontology must include the following courses:

  • GERN 5000 Gerontology (Requisite Course) (3 hours)
  • GERN 5600 Economic Issues for Older Adults (3 hours)
  • GERN 5620 Physiology of Aging (3 hours)
  • GERN 5630 Psychology of Aging (3 hours)
  • GERN 5640 Management of Programs for Older Adults (3 hours)
  • GERN 5660 Research and Assessment in Gerontology (3 hours)
  • GERN 5670 Social Science Perspectives in Gerontology (3 hours)
  • GERN 6000 Integrated Studies in Gerontology (3 hours)

In addition, the student chooses the remaining required credit hours from elective courses offered in this major and/or from the program curricula of other majors.

If the requisite course is waived, the student must choose an elective course from this major or from the program curriculum of another major. Students pursuing dual majors who have the requisite course(s) waived will complete only the remaining required courses for the dual majors.

The required courses and electives listed in this core may be taken as directed studies, subject to the conditions stated in the Directed Studies section listed under Academic Policies.


See the Admission section of this catalog for general admission requirements. Students interested in applying must submit their application online at Transcripts should be sent from your institution electronically to If this service is not available, send transcripts to:

Office of Admission
Webster University
470 E. Lockwood Ave.
St. Louis, MO 63119 

Advancement to Candidacy

Students are admitted to their graduate program upon completion of all admission requirements. Students are advanced to candidacy status after successfully completing 12 credit hours with a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher. In specialized programs, courses required as prerequisites to the program do not count toward the 12 credit hours required for advancement.