Gerontology Interdisciplinary Minor

The interdisciplinary minor in gerontology provides an opportunity for students to focus their academic work on issues related to the older population. The minor is designed to expose students to social, behavioral, health, and policy issues of relevance to aging and older adults and/or their families, developing programs and policies of relevance to the older population, or considering a graduate program in a related area.

The minor requires completion of 18 credits, 12 of them at the 300 level or above. To be admitted to the program, students must submit a Declaration of Minor form to their faculty advisor, their home college dean’s office, and the Human Development and Family Science minor coordinator.

Student Learning Outcomes

  1. Articulate and integrate multi-disciplinary models and theories commonly applied in the field of gerontology
  2. Critically evaluate major societal challenges and opportunities resulting from population aging.
  3. Demonstrate how the field of gerontology studies old age as a life-stage and aging as life-long process.
  4. Describe bio-psycho-social changes that occur with aging as well as their plasticity and remediation.

Required core courses (3 credits)
Students will choose one of the following courses:
HFS 363 Midlife Development and Gerontology OR
SWK 357 Process of Aging

Aging and Health Electives (9 credits)
Choose from the following list:

BIO 416 Biology of Aging
HFS 326 Developmental Perspectives in Medical Language
NSD 342 Nutrition in the Life Span
EXE 457 Exercise and Aging
SOC 355 Sociology of Health and Illness
SOC 440 Sociology of Disability

Aging and Related Issues Electives (6 credits):
Choose from the following list:
ANT 363 Anthropology of Family Life
HFS 201 Family Development
HFS 422 Work and Family in the 21st Century
HFS 423 Death, Dying & Loss: Child and Family Perspectives
HFS 443 Aging in the Context of Family Life
HFS 487 Critical Incidents in Family Development
SOC 421 Population Issues
REL 551 Ethics adn the Health Professions or
REL 552 Bioethics

Students may petition to have other aging-related courses count toward the Gerontology Minor focus. In some circumstances, gerontology courses taken at another university can be substituted to meet course requirements. A petition to approve these courses should be submitted in advance of taking them. However, the petition for inclusion must be approved by the minor coordinator and the chair of Human Development and Family Science.

Students may count between 3-6 credits of independent study (done is SWK/SOC/CFS) towards the minor. Such credits will be considered upon submission of a petition. These Independent Study forms should demonstrate a relationship between student work in the areas of Aging-related issues and/or Aging and Health. No more than 12 credits from a single department can count towards the minor.


Merril Silverstein, Minor Coordinator
Marjorie Cantor Professor of Aging Studies
Human Development and Family Science
176 White Hall