Undergraduate Minor In Gerontology

Gerontology Minor (Aging Studies Program)

Sociology and Anthropology 
Director: J. Brandon Wallace

The Aging Studies Program offers an interdisciplinary minor in Gerontology designed to meet the needs of students interested in pursuing a career working with or for the older adult population. The minor provides students the opportunity to examine the biological, psychological, sociological, and cultural perspectives which influence the status of the aging individual in society. Students who complete the Gerontology minor will be exposed to the basic social policies and personal skills required for working effectively with older persons.

Interdisciplinary Minors

Interdisciplinary minors require the student to complete a minimum of 15 to 21 hours from a list of specific courses. Unless otherwise noted, a student may take no more than 6 hours of courses from a single department until he or she surpasses the required minimum number of hours necessary for completing the minor. Exceptions to this rule may be found within the discussions of several of the minors. In most cases, a student is also limited to just 3 hours of credit toward the minor in the same department or discipline in which he or she is taking a major. Students must fulfill all departmental prerequisites for any course within an interdisciplinary minor. In some cases, advisors may approve course substitutions within these program requirements.

Program Requirements

The minor requires the successful completion of 15 semester hours. All students are required to take GERO 2600. The remaining 12 hours must be selected from other interdisciplinary Gerontology courses or approved departmental courses. The general requirement for an interdisciplinary minor is that students may not take more than six hours from a single department. To strengthen research or applied skills, students are encouraged to complete either GERO 4800 or GERO 4900.

Interdisciplinary Gerontology Courses


  • GERO 2600 - Introduction to Gerontology

    3 credit hours

    (Same as SOC 2600.) Basic concepts, overview of the field, illustrations of problems, and applications for an aging America.

  • GERO 4030 - Topics in Gerontology

    3 credit hours

    (Same as SOC 4030.) An opportunity to integrate gerontological theory and research techniques with the practical problems of older persons.

  • GERO 4800 - Special Projects  1 to 6 credit hours  

    GERO 4800 - Special Projects

    1 to 6 credit hours

    (Same as SOC 4800.) Field experiences or reading courses through which special interests or needs of the student may be pursued under individual supervision. No more than three hours may be used in the major. Arrangements must be made with an instructor prior to registration.

  • GERO 4900 - Practicum  3 to 6 credit hours  

    GERO 4900 - Practicum

    3 to 6 credit hours

    Prerequisites: GERO 2600 plus six hours of Gerontology electives and senior standing. Student is placed in an agency setting on a contractual basis. Application must be made the preceding semester.

Departmental Courses


  • CDFS 3300 - Caring Across Generations

    4 credit hours

    Prerequisite: Permission of instructor. A service learning course in which students are trained as certified nurses' assistants (CNAs) including basic care skills as well as interaction with the elderly and their families. Designed to help students assess their level of interest in pursuing careers in working with children and/or the elderly in a medical setting.

  • CDFS 4390 - Families in Later Life

    3 credit hours

    Prerequisites: Human Science majors - CDFS 3320 with C or better; Sociology majors - SOC 2600 with C or better or permission of instructor. Examination of families in later life from an ecological approach with emphasis on family forms and relationships.

  • CDFS 4391 - Aging Health and Development

    3 credit hours

    Prerequisite: CDFS 4390 or SOC 2600 with C or better or permission of the instructor. A service learning opportunity that provides students with understanding of the concepts and application of aging, families in later life, assessment, and gerontological program planning and implementation. May be repeated with permission of instructor. Meets four hours per week.

  • CDIS 4800 - Speech and Language Disorders in the Adult Population

    3 credit hours

    Prerequisite: CDIS 3300 with C or better. Overview of the impact of age on communication. Identification and remediation of communication problems associated with the aging process.

  • LSTS 3380 - Disabilities and Diversity in Leisure, Sport, and Tourism

    3 credit hours

    Explores issues surrounding leisure, sport, and tourism opportunities for persons with disabilities. Introduces important issues such as attitudes, advocacy, accessibility, legislation, and the broad range of opportunities in the provision of leisure, sport, and tourism services for persons with disabilities in our society. For LSTS majors only.

  • LSTS 4470 - Leisure and Aging

    3 credit hours

    Aging relative to the individual, family, peers, and society with an emphasis on leisure. The holistic approach including physical, psychological, social, cultural, environmental, and cognitive aspects. Interdisciplinary approach makes this course ideal for the developing or practicing human service professional.

  • NFS 4210 - Nutrition in Aging

    3 credit hours

    Prerequisite: NFS 1240 or NFS 2220 with C or better. Nutritional needs of elderly individuals and how these requirements are affected by physiological, pathological, and socioeconomic changes associated with aging. Emphasis placed on assessment, nutrition counseling skills, and resources to assist elderly individuals with adequate nutrient intake.

  • NURS 3580 - Health and Gerontology

    3 credit hours

    Prerequisites: NURS 3170, NURS 3350, NURS 3360, NURS 3380, and NURS 3390. Focuses on the normal aging process and related health care issues from an interdisciplinary perspective. Incorporates concepts of health promotion, prevention, and adaptation for those who are aging and their families. Three hours lecture.

  • PSY 4610 - Adult Development and Aging

    3 credit hours

    Prerequisite: PSY 1410 and PSY 2300 recommended but not required. A survey of the research on adult development. Examines the physical, intellectual, social, vocational, and personality changes during the adult years.

  • PSY 4630 - Death and Dying  3 credit hours  

    PSY 4630 - Death and Dying

    3 credit hours

    An experiential course covering the folklore of thanatology, the funeral industry, handling grief, counseling the bereaved, and the hospice concept. Objectives include an attempt to view death with equanimity and personal growth from confronting death.

  • SOC 4020 - Sociology of Aging

    3 credit hours

    Demographic, social, and cultural aspects of aging with particular emphasis on the types of problems encountered by older persons in American society.

  • SOC 4040 - Health Care Delivery Issues

    3 credit hours

    Sociological analysis of health care delivery and major issues facing providers, patients, and citizens in the twenty-first century, from the level of social interaction through the broader structures of health care systems and policies. Includes sociological approaches to health and medicine, health care institutions, insurance and reimbursement structures, and vulnerable populations, along with future issues and directions in U.S. health care delivery.

  • SW 3170 - Family Caregiving Across the Life Span

    3 credit hours

    Caregivers--gender roles, cost of caregiving, managing stress, respite care, finding recourses, financial and legal matters, establishing support groups, differential caregiving tips for various illnesses and disabilities from infancy to old age, emerging trends, and long distance caregiving.

  • SW 4430 - Social Work with the Terminally Ill

    3 credit hours

    Factors and principles involved with the terminally ill which should stimulate students to learn and think about what he/she values and anticipates experiencing in the area of medical social work.