Gerontology is the multidisciplinary study of the aging processes and individuals as they grow from middle age through later life. It includes:

  • The study of physical, mental and social changes in older 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.

We live in an aging society, one in which the older population is growing both in absolute numbers and in proportion to all other age groups. Businesses, government agencies, service organizations, educational institutions, and self-employed professionals from every economic sector are recognizing the need for specialized knowledge and skills to meet the needs of this changing demography.

alt=" "alt=" "

The Great Plains IDEA sponsors both master's degree and a graduate certificate programs in the field of gerontology. The number of required courses varies by institution which may result in fewer electives. Consult your home institution for exact requirements.

Some 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. For more information on career opportunities and options in the field of gerontology, visit Careers in Aging.

A degree in the field of gerontology equips the student with a broad range of skills, essential for improving the lives of others. People who are interested in gerontology come from many disciplines, professions, and clinical areas.

An advanced degree in the field of gerontology can benefit the professional in:
  • Social work
  • Nursing
  • Counseling
  • Recreation
  • Public policy
  • Long-term care administration
  • Medicine
  • Architecture
  • Interior design
  • Psychology
  • Adult education
  • Rehabilitation therapy


Great Plains IDEA Student Handbook

Degree and certificate titles vary by university.  Consult each university for the title as it will appear on the diploma or certificate.

Generally, students earning a master's degree can demand a higher wage than those holding a graduate certificate.

Curriculum for Master's Degree

Some persons use the certificate for continuing education credits or a career ladder opportunity. A graduate certificate can also be used to supplement a master's degree in another field.

Curriculum for Graduate Certificate

Program Summary
Cost per credit hour:

2017-2018: $565
2018-2019: $580

36 Hours

15 Hours

University Contact
These campus coordinators can help you navigate Great Plains IDEA. Click on the university name to learn more about how Great Plains IDEA works at that campus. Karen Smidt
Rachel Ohmes
Karen Murie
Susan Malec
Leslie McClure Myatt
Kristin Seals
University of Missouri
Hannah Portwood
University Members
Members of the Great Plains IDEA are universities accredited by a regional accrediting agency recognized by the U.S. Department of Education. Member universities recruit, admit and graduate students, teach in an academic program and contribute to the leadership and maintenance of the alliance. Membership in the alliance is a selective process that engages institutional leadership at all levels.

– – Jacy Phillips, Early Care for a Mobile Society Graduate