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.

The Great Plains IDEA sponsors both master's degree and a graduate certificate programs in the field of Gerontology. Generally, students earning a master's degree can demand a higher wage than those holding a graduate certificate. However, 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.

  • 36 credit-hour master's degree in the field of Gerontology.
  • 15 credit-hour graduate certificate 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.

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

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 please visit Careers in Aging at

Degree/Certificate titles vary by institution. Consult each institution for the title as it will appear on the diploma.


Students select one university to be their "home institution", this is the university to which you apply, enroll and pay tuition. Students must meet the admissions requirements of the home institution. Contact the Campus Coordinator at the institution you wish to call "home" for more information.

University of Arkansas Kristin Seals
Iowa State University Karen Smidt
Kansas State University Rachel Ohmes
University of Missouri Nita Smarr
North Dakota State University Karen Murie
Oklahoma State University Susan Malec
Texas Tech University Leslie-Myatt

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Course Matrix

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Course Information

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University of Arkansas
Iowa State University
Kansas State University
University of Missouri
North Dakota State University
Oklahoma State University
Texas Tech University