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Social Gerontology, MA or Undergraduate/Graduate Certificate

A young man sitting at a table with two smiling, elderly women.

Program Description

The online master's degree program in Social Gerontology is designed to provide students with a sophisticated understanding of aging and prepare them to address the challenges and opportunities of an aging population in areas such as:

  • Program planning
  • Evaluation
  • Effective service delivery

As the population of persons 65 years of age and older increases from 40 million in 2010 to 88 million in 2050*, career opportunities in the field of aging are growing exponentially.

The online master's degree in the Social Gerontology program provides a flexible avenue for pursuing a career in either research or for practitioners working with elders.

*Source: U.S. Administration on Aging (2010)

Academic Options to Meet Your Goals

This highly flexibly online program offers a variety of program options to meet student's career and educational goals.

  • Undergraduate or Graduate Certificate - 18 credit hours
  • Master of Arts with Thesis Option - 36 credit hour program for those wishing to gain additional insight from research in the field of aging or continuing on to a Ph.D. program.
  • Master of Arts with a Non-Thesis Option - 36 credit hour program for practitioners desiring a program with immediate application to their work or people aspiring to work with elders.

Delivery Format

Home Campus: University of Nebraska Omaha

Method of Delivery: 100% Online - what's this?Program can be completed fully at a distance. Courses are asynchronous, meaning students and instructor may access content at any time and do not have to be connected to the Internet at the same time. If your program includes an internship or practicum, experiences may be completed in the student's local area.

All online courses are accessed via the Internet and use a learning management system. Technology requirements may vary by program and course, but all campuses have basic recommended requirements. High-speed Internet is required.

Interaction with professors and other students may include:

  • E-mail
  • Online discussion boards
  • Phone or video conferencing
  • Other forms of electronic and print communication

Supplemental materials for some courses may include:

  • Printed material and scanned documents
  • Digital resources accessed through university libraries
  • Videos accessed via the Internet, CDs or DVDs
  • Other media

To be successful, students taking online classes should be reasonably comfortable using a computer and the Internet. Learn more about online student tips for success.

Academic Year 2015 - 2016

Tuition rates are effective for the academic year listed and are subject to change.

Tuition rates shown below are for graduate-level courses. For information on tuition for undergraduate courses, please visit the UNO website.

Nebraska Resident:

 TuitionDistance Ed. FeeTechnology FeeLibrary FeeTotal
Per credit hour$328.00$25.00$11.00$4.00$368.00
3 credit hour$984.00$75.00$33.00$12.00$1,104.00


 TuitionDistance Ed. FeeTechnology FeeLibrary FeeTotal
Per credit hour$552.00$25.00$11.00$4.00$592.00
3 credit hour$1,656.00$75.00$33.00$12.00$1,776.00

Note: In addition to the costs outlined above, students will be assessed a $57.75 registration fee each semester they enroll in courses.

Tuition listed in the table above is for degree area courses. Tuition for distance education courses in other subject areas, or offered by other colleges may be different. For more information visit the UNO Student Accounts page, or contact a program adviser listed on the Admissions tab of this page.

Master's Program of Study - Thesis Option (36 credit hours)

The Thesis Option emphasizes critical interpretation and research and can lead to a Ph.D. and advanced training.

Gerontology Courses 18 credit hours GERO 9110, 9460, 8676
Gerontology Research Courses 6 credit hours GERO 8356-850 or 8990
Related Courses  Up to 6 credit hours Working with their adviser, students may choose from courses in administration, counseling, education, or program planning and evaluation 

Master's Program of Study - Non-Thesis Option (36 credit hours)

The Non-Thesis Option is designed for practitioners working with older adults. Training allows students to design, implement and evaluate programming for elders and their families.

Gerontology Courses 18 credit hours GERO 9110, 9460, 8676
Gerontology Practicum  3 credit hours GERO 8940 
Gerontology Research Course  3 credit hours GERO 8356-850 
Related Courses  Up to 15 credit hours  Working with their adviser, students may choose from courses in administration, counseling, education, or program planning and evaluation
Written Comprehensive Exam    Upon completion of coursework


Program of Study - Graduate Certificate (18 credit hours)

Gerontology Courses 3 credit hours GERO 9110 
Gerontology Practicum 3 credit hours  GERO 8940
Remaining Courses  12 credit hours  Selected in consultation with student's adviser 


Program of Study - Undergraduate Certificate (18 credit hours)

Gerontology Courses 3 credit hours GERO 2000, 4460, 4670
Gerontology Practicum 3 credit hours GERO 4940
Remaining Courses 12 credit hours Selected in consultation with student's adviser

Course Name
Course #
Core Courses

Introduction to Gerontology

GERO 2000
An introduction to social gerontology and human development in later life; emphasis is on important elements of aging, such as socialization, family interaction, retirement, physical and psychological aging, and perceptions of older persons in contemporary society.

Psychology of Adult Development and Aging

GERO 4460

The focus of this course is on the major social and psychological changes that occur as a function of again. Both normal and abnormal patterns of developmental change are examined, along with their implications for behavior.

Prerequisites: Junior or senior standing

Programs and Services for the Elderly

GERO 4670

This course is provided to give the student an historical overview of programs for the elderly; examines the national policy process as it relates to the older American; and review the principles and practices relative to the existing national programs for the aged.

Prerequisites: Junior or senior standing

Issues in Aging: Senior Housing

GERO 8356
This course focuses on various living environments available to older adults, and provides information that will help in the choosing of an appropriate living situation other than the family home.

Introduction to Research Methods

GERO 8356-850

This course will provide experience in how to read, interpret and assess research articles in Gerontology, training in problem formulation and translating the problem formulation into appropriate methodology for empirical testing of hypotheses.

Mental Health and Aging

GERO 8476

The goal of this course is to survey the mental health needs of older adults. Consideration is given to identifying both positive mental health and pathological conditions. Treatment interventions effective with older adults and their families are also discussed.

Health Aspects of Aging

GERO 8556
This course emphasizes health promotion for older adults. Special health needs of older Americans are compared and contrasted with health needs for other age groups. Prevention or delaying of chronic diseases and disorders are emphasized.

Programs and Services for the Elderly

GERO 8676

This course is provided to give the student an historical overview of programs for the elderly; examine the national policy process as it relates to the older American; and review the principles and practices relative to the existing national programs for the aged.

Baby Boomers and the 21st Century

GERO 8726
Marketing decisions and strategies apply to all businesses and are influenced by the target market. The economic realities and the character of America will change due to shifting demographics of baby boomers. Businesses that understand the power of the baby boomers will succeed; failure to understand that power may lead to economic consequences. Students from many disciplines will benefit from this cross-referenced course blending the realities of gerontology with the predictions of baby boomer behavior and the resulting impact to all businesses.

Dying, Death and Grieving

GERO 8730

An interdisciplinary survey of literature in the field of thanatology, with an emphasis on working with the older patient and his or her family.

Midlife, Career-Change and Pre Retirement

GERO 8756

This course is designed to involve candidates in the exploration of the developmental tasks of mid-life, myths and realities related to career change as well as the implication of preretirement planning. Factual information, as well as model examination and evaluation are presented to aid the candidate in becoming better equipped to understand some of the forces which affect the well-being of middle aged persons as they prepare for the later years.

Special Studies in Gerontology

GERO 8920
Special studies designed around the interests and needs of the individual student in such areas as the psychology, sociology, economics or politics of aging, as well as operation of various service systems. The studies may be either a literature review project or a field project in which experience is gained in the community identifying and analyzing needs and services related to older people.


GERO 4940/8940
This course provides the opportunity to students to share field experiences; to obtain guidance concerning various relationships with agency, staff and clients; and to develop a broadly based perspective of the field of aging.


GERO 8990
Independent research project required of all students working toward the Master of Arts degree. The thesis is written under the supervision of the thesis adviser and the thesis committee.

Applied Social Gerontology

GERO 9110
An overview of social gerontology with an emphasis on the social, psychological and physical elements in later life.

Seminar in Aging and Human Behavior

GERO 9460

This course will examine in detail age-related changes in psychological processes and explore the implications of these changes for behavior.

University of Nebraska online programs have the same quality instructional faculty as on campus; individuals from a variety of backgrounds, who embody the combined qualities resulting from research experience and professional/field experience.

Stan DeViney, Ph.D.,

Paul P. Falkowski, Ph.D.,

Amy Hanson, Ph.D.,

Lyn M. Holley, Ph.D., Associate Professor

Christopher M. Kelly, Ph.D., Associate Professor

Kyle Kercher, Ph.D., Professor

Sam Holley, Jr. Ph.D.,

Julie L. Masters, Ph.D, Chair and Professor

Ann O'Connor, M.P.A.,

Priscilla M. Quinn, Ph.D.,

Kevin Rochford, M.S.W. M.P.A FACHE,

Karen Shaffer, M.Ed.,

Guidelines for Admittance

Following are the steps a student must take to be admitted to a program:

Application Checklist

Undergraduate Certificate Program

  1. Apply and be admitted to the University of Nebraska at Omaha
  2. Complete and submit the Application for Admission to the Gerontology Certificate Program


Graduate Certificate Program

  1. Apply and by admitted to Graduate Studies at the University of Nebraska at Omaha
  2. Complete and submit the Application for Admission to the Gerontology Certificate Program


Master of Arts Program

Applicants are encouraged to familiarize themselves with the policies and procedures outlined in the current University of Nebraska at Omaha Graduate Catalog, which are applicable in all instances.

  1. Apply and be admitted to Graduate Studies at the University of Nebraska at Omaha; and submit two (2) sets of official transcripts
  2. Apply and be admitted to the Gerontology Department:
    • Submit a completed Information Form
    • Two letters of reference
    • A writing sample

Mail to: Gerontology Department, UNO CB 211, Omaha, NE 68182-0202

What Comes Next

After all application materials have been received and reviewed, an individual interview will be held with members of the Gerontology Graduate Program Committee.

Notification of admission to the M.A. program in Social Gerontology will come from the Dean for Graduate Studies.

Application Deadlines

Applications are accepted on a continual basis. However, the admission process takes time. Depending on your desired starting term, please reference the dates below as a guideline for submitting your materials.

Recommended Application Dates:

Fall Semester July 1
Spring Semester November 1 


Online Worldwide Educational Representative

Program Contact
Paul P. Falkowski, Ph. D.
Phone: 402.554.3780

Office of Military and Veteran Services
Phone: 402.554.2349

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