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Master of Arts in Gerontology

This program is no longer taking applications.

Please contact the Graduate School at 970-351-2831 with any questions

The applied Gerontology master’s program centers on helping the aging adult navigate successfully through the challenges of later life. We will explore issues ranging from social policies and family relationships to community resources, social security, Medicare, Medicaid, age discrimination and more. By the time you graduate, you will be ready to take professional responsibility or leadership in the network working with older adults.

View Program Requirement in the UNC Catalog

  • Learn About
    • Psychological and social aspects of aging
    • Planning and evaluation of community resources for older adults
    • Health concerns and social policies of aging
    • Management and administration of services for the aging population, grant development and administration
    • Evaluation and application of current research in the field
  • Your Future

    You will graduate with a gerontology master’s degree and have a well-rounded and in-depth knowledge of aging, which is important for anyone who plans to pursue an occupation focused on these populations:

    • Health care and social service settings
    • Residential or community-based long-term care facilities
    • Senior centers
    • Recreation programs
    • Agencies and organizations providing care management and/or administrating policy
    • Community college teaching positions
    • Industrial and business settings
    • Private consultation
    • Entrepreneurial occupations relevant for today's older population
  • The Learning Experience

    This master’s degree has a 33-credit requirement, which includes 24 required credits and nine electives with an optional internship, practicum or thesis. The program culminates with completion of a detailed portfolio that demonstrates your success in meeting program learning goals. On average, students complete this program in two years.This program prepares you to work with or on behalf of older adults in direct service, management and administration, further scholarship or similar professional endeavors. Our classes fit into your schedule, allowing you to take on-campus classes on evenings and weekends, while some classes are entirely online. You’ll choose from a wide range of quality internship, practicum and volunteer opportunities. Student experiences in the past have included work at senior centers, assisted living and nursing home residences, Alzheimer’s associations, hospice settings, veterans affairs, county offices on aging
    and, wellness programs.

  • Faculty

    Because of UNC’s size and quality, you’ll develop impactful connections with your professors, advisors and fellow students, whether you’re in the classroom or taking courses online. UNC’s professors work in research in the field and are involved in significant service in the aging network in northern Colorado. As a result, you benefit from their knowledge, experience and connections as you collaborate with them on research, community-based service and internships and practica. The faculty also serve as advisors for the gerontology honor society, Sigma Phi Omega.

  • Internship Opportunities

    Gerontology faculty at UNC have strong ties with professionals in the aging network, including academics and practitioners in the field. We collaborate with you, and with agencies and organizations in your community, to plan elective internships, practicums, volunteer, and other hands-on opportunities. Here are some typical settings in which our students have practiced community-based learning as part of their gerontology education:

    • Area Agencies On Aging
    • County Offices on Aging
    • Senior Centers
    • RSVP volunteer programs
    • Alzheimer's Associations
    • Adult day care
    • Memory care
    • Independent and assisted living centers
    • Nursing homes
    • Hospice
    • Ombudsman
    • Veterans Administration
    • Activity and wellness programs
    • and others, including experiences based on specific student goals.

    Unique learning projects have included the development of an age-friendly exercise program for a balance training organization, researching needs and planning a support group for caregivers of older adults, and creating a group mentoring program about aging to be used in the corporate workplace.

    Students planning an internship or practicum will contact Dr. Susan Collins, the UNC gerontology graduate internship advisor, at the beginning of the semester PRIOR to their internship.

  • Admission to the Program

    You must have a bachelor's degree with a minimum GPA of 3.0 and two letters of recommendation. In addition to the academic requirements, you’ll need a desire to work with or on behalf of older people in direct service, management and administration, further scholarship, or similar professional endeavors. You don’t need a specific bachelor’s degree as this master’s program is focused on social gerontology, a multidisciplinary study centered around older populations.

  • Do I Qualify for In-state Tuition?

    You don't have to live in Colorado to take advantage of UNC's competitive tuition rates. If you live in Alaska, Arizona, California, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oregon, South Dakota, Utah, Washington or Wyoming and would like to pursue a degree in Gerontology, you are eligible for reduced out-of-state tuition. Learn more about the Western Regional Graduate Program (WRGP).

“If you have an interest in a specific Gerontology area, the types of classes offered provide the opportunity to further explore those areas of interest. The online classes make it very convenient time wise and encourage exploration of local resources. Dr. Collins and Dr. Weil offer a great experience and knowledge base. They are academically supportive and encourage critical thinking both academically and personally. My graduate practicum was hugely beneficial. Not only did it result in full time employment, but it provided experiential knowledge that can only be gained when working in the field.”

Carol Cross, MA Gerontology alumna, Compliance Coordinator and Data Analyst for Boulder County Area Agency on Aging

“ My career goal was to complete my master’s in Gerontology and then go on to earn a Ph.D. so that I can teach gerontology. I did a thesis rather than a practicum, which gave me new skills, and helped me get accepted into my Ph.D. program. I am now in my second year of an Applied Developmental Sciences
doctoral program.”

Nancy Mendoza, MA Gerontology alumna, Applied Developmental Sciences doctoral student