Courses & Degree Requirements

Coursework can be completed in 2 ½ years, with the remaining time to degree spent working on the qualifying paper and dissertation. Students are expected to maintain an overall B average in courses.

PhD students are required to successfully complete:

Five foundation courses:

GERON GR 611 Health and Physical Changes in Aging
GERON GR 621 Social Aspects of Aging
GERON GR 626 Economic Issues in Aging Populations
GERON  GR 628 Psychology of Aging
GERON GR 724 Diversity in Aging Societies

Six research courses:

GERON  GR 601 Research Methods and Experimental Design
GERON  GR 603 Statistical Methods in the Analysis of Social Problems I
GERON  GR 604 Statistical Methods in the Analysis of Social Problems II
GERON  GR 726 Current National Data Bases in Gerontological Policy Research
GERON  GR 727 Research Practicum in Gerontology

...and one of the following:

  • GERON GR L609 Qualitative Methods and Field Research
  • GERON 701 Advanced Statistical Methods in Gerontology
  • GERON 732 Demographic Methods in Aging

Three policy courses:

GERON  GR 623 Issues in Aging Policy
GERON  GR 760 Intermediate Aging Policy Analysis
GERON  GR 761Advance Policy Analysis

Three credits of professional development seminar:

GERON GR 688 Multidisciplinary Seminar in Aging

At least five elective courses

An empirical research paper

By the end of the fourth semester of study, gerontology doctoral students are expected to complete an empirical research policy paper, comparable to an article that would be published in a professional academic journal.

The research paper contains all the elements of a scholarly article:

  • statement of the problem
  • literature review
  • research design or analytic framework
  • presentation of findings
  • conclusions

Qualifying Paper Exam

Each student must complete a qualifying paper exam to be accepted into candidacy for the PhD degree.

The qualifying paper provides students with the opportunity to do a critical review of a body of theory and literature related to their dissertation topic.

The paper serves as evidence of the student's readiness to begin doctoral work and as a pathway into the broader literature surrounding her/his dissertation topic.

In consultation with the Graduate Program Director (GPD), the student selects a faculty chair to guide the exam. Together with the committee, the student will identify a topic, a set of organizing questions and a reading list. Two additional committee members are assigned by the GPD.

The qualifying paper exam is normally taken after the completion of course work.

Dissertation

When a student successfully passes the Qualifying Paper Examination; he/she becomes a PhD candidate and begins work on a doctoral dissertation that reflects an original and independent scholarly contribution in the field of aging.  The student develops a concept paper and then forms a dissertation committee.  With the guidance of the dissertation committee, the concept paper evolves into a dissertation proposal, which, once successfully defended, serves as the foundation of the dissertation research. The student completes the research study and prepares the dissertation document under the guidance of the committee. Finally, the dissertation is defended orally in a public meeting with the committee members. Students must enroll in nine credits of Dissertation Research (GERON 899).

Gerontology PhD Courses, Course Descriptions & Schedule of Offerings

Visit the Graduate Course Catalog for course descriptions and schedule of offerings.

GERON GR 601 - Research Methods and Experimental Design

GERON GR 603 - Statistical Methods in the Analysis of Social Problems I

GERON GR 604 - Statistical Methods in the Analysis of Social Problems II

GERON GR 609 - Qualitative Methods and Field Research

GERON GR 611 - Health and Physical Changes in Aging

GERON GR 614 - Specialized Target Populations: Older Immigrants

GERON GR 621 - Social Aspects Aging

GERON GR 623 - Issues in Aging Policy

GERON GR 626 - Economic Issues in Aging Populations

GERON GR 628 - Psychology of Aging

GERON GR 631 - Families in Later Life

GERON GR 641 - Historical and Theoretical Foundations of Gerontology

GERON GR 688 - Multidisciplinary Seminar in Aging

GERON GR 697 - Special Topics in Aging

GERON GR 701 - Advanced Statistical Methods in Gerontology

GERON GR 721 - History and Political Economy of Social Policy Toward the Elderly

GERON GR 722 - Social and Health Service Delivery Systems for the Elderly

GERON GR 724 - Race and Culture

GERON GR 726 - Current National Databases in Gerontological Policy Research

GERON GR 727 - Research Practicum in Gerontology

GERON GR 732 - Demographic Methods in Aging

GERON GR 734 - Law and Health Policy for the Elderly

GERON GR 760 - Policy Analysis Techniques

GERON GR 761 - Advanced Policy Analysis in Aging

GERON GR 771 - Directed Study

GERON GR 772L - Seminar in Health Care Financing

GERON GR 774 - Seminar in Economic Security of the Aged

GERON GR 779 - Seminar in Productive Aging

GERON GR 796 - Independent Study in Aging Policy

GERON GR 798 - Internship in Gerontology
Course syllabus

GERON GR 891 - Dissertation Seminar

GERON GR 899 - Dissertation Research

Sample gerontology dissertations can be found on Scholarworks.