By the year 2030, the US Census Bureau estimates one in five Americans will live past the age of 65. Moreover, there will be an astounding 350% increase in people over the age of 85 by the year 2050.
In essence, this means the country's population will be primarily made up of older people. It is entirely possible children will be in the minority for the first time in United States history. Such facts essentially represent a massive need for trained professionals in the field of gerontology.
What exactly is gerontology? The field of gerontology integrates several academic disciplines: the social sciences, biology, health administration, and the humanities. For anyone who feels passionately about honoring elders, protecting their rights, and ensuring they have access to the resources they need, gerontology is the perfect career.
Perhaps you are fascinated by how art and music can positively impact cognitive processes among older adults– or you feel strongly about policy development in regards to assisted living facilities. There is a broad spectrum of co-existing disciplines within gerontology. Careers for students with a Master's Degree in Gerontology include nursing home administration, adult day program coordination, or lifelong learning specializations.
You'll find how the following Top 10 Masters in Gerontology often provide areas of specialization or a particular topic of concentration. These concentrations can act as a pipeline into specific regions of gerontology– from social work to adult education. The field is supported by several peer organizations, such as The Gerontological Society of America and the Academy for Gerontology in Higher Education. These organizations offer further information on pursuing a rewarding career in this field. Our 10 Best Online Master's in Gerontology can give you a head start on earning a graduate degree inline with your long-term career goals.
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Here are the 10 Best Online Master's in Gerontology for 2020!
#10. University of Indianapolis
Master of Science in Gerontology
The Master of Science in Gerontology at the University of Indianapolis is a 36-credit program. Students can complete the MSG in less than two years and may take up to five years to earn all the degree requirements. For students who have not worked with elder populations, a three-credit practicum is required. All students must complete a three-credit capstone project, and core studies such as Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Aging, Psychology of Aging, and quantitative and qualitative research in gerontology.
UI's MSG also offers two concentration or specialty tracks in Applied Public Policy or Aging in Place. Elective classes in the program include subjects on Alzheimer's and dementia, elder abuse, and spirituality. The MA in Gerontology has start times for new students in August, January, or May. Prospective students can find out more about the program in a Department of Health and Aging studies webinar, hosted by Director Tamara Wolske. The University of Indianapolis is home to the Center for Aging and Community, which provides several consulting services to area organizations. The Academy of Gerontology in Higher Education has awarded this MSG as a Program of Merit.
Graduate Tuition: $21,510
#9. University of Louisiana at Monroe
Master of Arts in Gerontology
At the University of Louisiana-Monroe, the Master of Arts in Gerontology provides students with six different areas to specialize in, such as Grief Care Management, Long-Term Care Administration, Aging studies, Program Administration, Small Business Management, or Mental Health. The University's MAG is a total of 36 credit hours with core curriculum covering topics such as biology, aging; programs and public policy, and social gerontology. A required capstone project is necessary for graduation.
Depending on the student's area of specialization, an internship or additional three-hour elective course is required. The MS in Gerontology offers prior-learning assessment credit. Regular admission to the MAG requires applicants to have a 2.75 GPA and a Bachelor's degree. Applicants who have under a 2.75 may be considered for conditional acceptance if they have a minimum 622.6 GRE score or work experience in a related gerontology field of at least five years. ULM also provides many graduate assistantships, work-study, and scholarships.
Graduate Tuition: $10,787
#8. National University
La Jolla, CA
Master of Arts in Gerontology
The Master of Arts in Gerontology at National University is designed for current professionals working in the field or looking to redirect their career path. Nationals's MAG program is 54-credits in length. The majority of credits are core requirements, where students gain an in-depth understanding of the foundations of gerontology through seven courses. Students will then complete elective classes on topics in aging such as wellness, psychology, and public policy. At the end of the MAG, all students engage in an integrative project totaling nine quarter units.
To gain admission to the MAG, applicants must submit proof of their Bachelor's degree with a GPA of at least 2.5. Applicants with a GPA below 2.5 can submit GMAT, GRE, or MAT scores to supplement their application. The MA in Gerontology accepts up to 13.5 credits towards the degree upon approval. National University has been a higher education institution since 1971 and is a designated Yellow-Ribbon school in service to members of the military and veterans.
Graduate Tuition: $22,232
#7. Webster University
St. Louis, MO
Master of Arts in Gerontology
The Master of Arts in Gerontology at Webster University integrates a broad spectrum of academic fields into its degree program. From business management to the social sciences, and economics to political science, this MAG exposes its graduates to the many facets of the gerontological study. The University's MAG is a total of 36 credit hours. Students take classes such as economic issues for older adults, the psychology of aging, and social science perspectives in gerontology. Students at Webster also complete a variety of elective courses in other programs to round-out their degree.
Overall, Webster's MAG is intended to prepare its graduates to work with aging people in a variety of contexts. Real-world applications to best meet the needs of seniors in services such as health care administration and financial planning is at the center of Webster's MA in Gerontology program.
Webster also offers generous scholarships to members of the military, federal employees, and their spouses and dependents. Students who have graduated from Webster University with a BA are eligible for a $2,000 scholarship as a graduate student. Webster further supports active-duty members of the military and veterans through discounted tuition rates, acceptance of military and academic credits, and tailored advising. These services are all available to online students.
Graduate Tuition: $23,835
#6. McDaniel College
Master of Arts in Gerontology
Students in the Baltimore and Washington DC area have the option of earning their Master of Arts in Gerontology at McDaniel College either online or residentially. The 30-36 credit MAG aims to integrate every aspect of aging: psychological, spiritual, biological, and social. McDaniel College is also home to the Center for the Study of Aging, where students can take advantage of regular seminars, workshops, and research opportunities. The MAG's curriculum includes putting together a research and teaching portfolio, as well as presenting a master's thesis or final capstone project. Examples of elective topics in the program include Death, Dying, and Bereavement, Geriatric Pharmacology, and Sexuality and Aging.
To apply to the MAG, candidates must submit official transcripts from all previous institutions, a statement of career goals, and three reference forms. McDaniel College requires graduate students to have a minimum of 2.5 GPA. The program allows the waiver of some introductory gerontology courses if the student has an undergraduate degree in the field. As a member of the Academy for Gerontology in Higher education, McDaniel College follows the educational standards to produce well-rounded gerontologists.
Graduate Tuition: $22,652
#5. University of Nebraska at Omaha
Master of Arts in Social Gerontology
The Master of Arts in Social Gerontology at the University of Nebraska-Omaha provides two graduate-level tracks for studying Gerontology. One path is geared towards graduate students who wish to pursue advanced research in the field of gerontology or a Ph.D. in the area (thesis track). The other track is for students who are preparing to move forward in their careers working with aging populations (non-thesis track). Both options require students to finish 18 core courses. Thesis option students take a minimum of six credits in research studies, whereas non-thesis track students complete 15 hours of coursework in subjects such as counseling, education, and administration.
Applicants to the University's MAG must submit transcripts from all previous institutions, a sample of their writing, and two letters of reference. UNO also provides a dual degree Master's degree in Social Gerontology and Legal Studies. The Department of Gerontology at UNO has offered courses in gerontological studies since 1972. Associate Professor Dr. Jolie Boron was recently named a Fellow in the Gerontological Society of America, and Professor Lyn Holley was named a Fellow in the Academy for Gerontology in Higher Education.
Graduate Tuition: $11,727
#4. Kansas State University
Master's in Gerontology
The Master's in Gerontology at Kansas State University is a 36 credit program. The curriculum follows the core competencies in gerontology as a field established by the Association for Gerontology in Higher Education. The MAG is a joint effort between the Center on Aging and KSU's College of Human Ecology. Students in the program take 24 required credits in classes such as Adult Development and Aging, Aging in the Family, and Physical Health and Nutrition in Aging. Independent study and practicum credits may be completed as electives for the remaining credits. Other elective courses cover topics involving creativity and aging, sexuality and aging, and mental health and aging.
The University's MAG offers admission on a rolling basis, with new start dates in late August and late January. Admission requirements include a statement of academic and career goals, a resume, transcripts from all previous institutions, and three academic references. A Bachelor's degree with at least a 3.0 GPA is also required. KSU has numerous scholarships for graduate students, members of the military, and women.
Graduate Tuition: $17,465
#3. Iowa State University
Master's of Family and Consumer Sciences with Gerontology specialization
At Iowa State University, the Master of Family and Consumer Sciences degree offers a 36-credit specialization in Gerontology, where students take the required eight courses and 12 credits of electives. Core studies include Perspectives in Gerontology, Nutrition and physical activity in aging, and program evaluation and research methods. Elective classes range on a variety of subjects such as gender and aging, cognitive aging, and gerontechnology.
To finish the degree, students engage in a case-study project and present their findings in a capstone paper. An oral exam based on this project is also required. Most students typically complete the MFCS in three to five years. Application requirements for the MFCS program include three professional letters of recommendation, transcripts from previous institutions, and a resume and statement of goals. The MFCS accepts up to 14 transfer credits. ISU has a Center for Communication Excellence to assist online graduate students with research writing, employment searches, and individual consultations. ISU also has an eLibrary for distance education students.
Graduate Tuition: $13,949
#2. University of Southern California
Los Angeles, CA
Master of Science in Gerontology
The University of Southern California's Master of Science in Gerontology boasts the largest academic gerontology department in the country and is home to numerous research projects, and hosts regular national conferences and gerontological-related events. USC designed its MSG for students with little to no background in gerontology in mind and completable within two years at full-time enrollment. Part-time enrollment is also an option, with students generally completing the MSG in two to three years.
USC's 44-credit MS in Gerontology helps prepare students to enter the field as administrators of aging adult programs or one-on-one work with elders and their families. Students take classes in Life Span Developmental Psychology, Social Policy and Aging, and Physiology of Development and Aging. Gerontology students at USC can also specialize in Psychology, Care Management, Nutrition, Entrepreneurship, End of Life, Geriatric Care, or Health Science. A fieldwork practicum of 240 hours is required in each area of specialization.
The MSG is open to new students twice per year. Applications are due October 15 to start in the spring term or March 15 to begin in the Fall. Required application materials include a statement of interest, 3.0 GPA, a resume, two letters of recommendation, and transcripts from all previous institutions. The admission application applies to the graduate scholarship application; therefore, GRE scores should also be provided.
Graduate Tuition: $32,892
#1. University of Utah
Salt Lake City, UT
Master of Science in Gerontology
Students in the Master of Science in Gerontology at the University of Utah can complete the degree in three semesters at full-time enrollment. Those enrolled part-time can anticipate completion of the MSG in six semesters or two years. The MSG is about 34 credits, and students have the option of a thesis or project. Coursework covers topics such as Service Agencies and Programs for Older Adults, Health and Optimal Aging, and Physiology and Psychology of Aging. Students are also required to take three practicum credits. This practicum is the equivalent of 150 clock hours. Other elective courses in the MSG include Diversity and Aging, International Dimensions of Lifelong Learning, and Aging and the Arts.
The MS in Gerontology at Utah is apart of the Western Regional Graduate Program, where out-of-state students within any of the 14 western states are granted the same tuition as Utah residents. Students may also be able to transfer up to nine credits into the MSG from another institution. Faculty members in the program also engage in numerous gerontological research projects to benefit the aging population of the greater Salt Lake City area and the field of gerontology itself.
Graduate Tuition: $12,363