Leadership in an Aging World:
Creating Futures through Innovation, Integration, and Impact
What is gerontology?
Gerontology is a multidisciplinary field made up of social scientists, biologists, healthcare professionals, economists, and others who focus on aging. Students in gerontology are typically those pursuing skills and credentials to advance in their careers and businesses, although some students pursue a more academic approach to this exciting field of study. Gerontology includes:
- The study of physical, mental and social changes in people as they age.
- The investigation of the changes in society resulting from our aging population.
- The application of this knowledge to policies and programs.
Our society is aging rapidly. This demographic trend contributes to the importance of our work as gerontologists, as well as opportunities for students with graduate degrees in gerontology.
What can I do with a degree in gerontology?
Gerontologists work directly with older persons in a wide variety of programs and services in the community. Others work on behalf of older persons in areas such as advocacy and teaching about aging. Some professionals find that their advanced understanding of aging allows them to tap into broader market segments with more success and provide better services to an older clientele.
"I am not exaggerating when I say that while my undergraduate degree in recreation therapy gave me a solid yet narrow base in the field of aging, my graduate degree in gerontology allowed me to truly start a productive and engaging career."
Jenna Kilawee, Manager of the Terrace, Episcopal Homes, St. Paul, MN
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An advanced degree in the field of gerontology can benefit newcomers as well as advanced professionals in a wide variety of programs and services:
For more information on career opportunities and options in the field of gerontology, visit Careers in Aging.
Will the skills I learn help me advance in my career?
The Great Plains IDEA Gerontology program endeavors to graduate leaders in gerontology. In fact, our mission statement is “Leadership in an Aging World: Creating Futures Through Innovation, Integration, and Impact.” Our degree will give you a broad range of skills essential for leadership in gerontology. No matter what field you are currently in, our curriculum will teach you to:
- Identify the needs associated with aging through all levels from the micro (individual) to the macro (society).
- Advocate for elders by working globally at the policy level or working one-on-one with older adults.
- Demonstrate how to relate course materials to real-world experiences.
- Navigate the complicated world of money management, retirement options, the cost of health care and more.
- Understand design principles that allow older adults to continue living in their own homes.
- Identify and utilize health systems to afford elders the highest level of quality of life.
- Motivate older adults to take personal responsibility for their own health and wellness.
Explore the interactive Course Planner to learn more about our courses.
Am I right for this program?
This program is perfect for those who:
- Enjoy working with and for older adults.
- Recognize the needs of a population that is more heavily balanced toward the aging side.
- Are currently working in an aging service field but would like to enhance skills, knowledge and credentials.
- Are passionate about improving the quality of life for people as they age.
How do I choose a home university?
Through Great Plains IDEA, seven universities work together to offer a master's degree and graduate certificate in the field of gerontology. The university you choose to be your home university is where you will enroll, pay tuition and receive your diploma. Each university has slightly different requirements.
As you consider which university to call home, consult each university about these potential differences:
- The number of required courses varies by institution, which may result in fewer electives.
- Degree and certificate titles vary by university.
- Admissions timelines and requirements may vary.
A master's degree in the field of gerontology will equip you with skills to improve the lives of older adults and their families.
A graduate certificate is perfect for continuing education credits or to advance in your career.