What Is the Curriculum of a Bachelor's Degree in Gerontology?

According to the American Geriatrics Society, about 75 million Americans will turn 65 or older in the next 25 years and the care of the elderly will become a growing need. Those who are interested in working with older persons in retirement homes, senior living communities or long-term care facilities may pursue degrees in gerontology. Read on to find out more about the curriculum for a bachelor's degree program in gerontology. Schools offering Gerontology degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

The Curriculum of a Bachelor's Degree in Gerontology

Gerontology is the study of the human aging process; it also explores the physical, cultural and psychological impact on the individual and society. Several schools in the U.S. offer bachelor's degrees in gerontology. The curricula for these programs include both core courses and electives. Though course requirements may differ from one school to another, most programs include classes that incorporate liberal arts, psychology and sociology with specific gerontology courses.

Important Facts About This Occupation

Degree Field Gerontology
Online Availability Several programs offered entirely online
Possible careers Advanced registered nurse practitioner, family nurse practitioner, licensed social worker, nurse case manager
Continuing Education What Every Psychologist Should Know about Working with Older Adults, Grief Therapy and the Reconstruction of Meaning

Core Courses

At the core of undergraduate gerontology programs are courses in psychology, English and sociology. The psychology of death and dying, composition, sociology and psychology are part of the core curriculum for a bachelor's degree in gerontology. Core courses in a Bachelor of Science in Gerontology program might cover subjects such as biology, anatomy, chemistry and physiology. A Bachelor of Arts in Gerontology program will emphasize more core courses in social science and humanities. Most schools require 5-6 courses in gerontology as part of the core program. These may include introduction to gerontology, diversity and aging and psychology of aging.

Major Electives

Students who are pursuing bachelor's degrees in gerontology must usually select additional courses beyond the required classes. Specific courses may include elder abuse and neglect, women and aging, living and dying, and ethical and legal issues in aging. The number of additional gerontology courses students must take may differ from one school to another.

Open Electives

The curricula for bachelor's degrees in gerontology include open elective courses. Students may need approval from their major advisors to ensure the open electives they choose are sufficient to satisfy the requirements of the program. Open electives may include liberal arts, science, business management, mathematics and additional psychology and sociology courses.

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