Graduate Certificate in Gerontology

The Graduate Certificate in Gerontology program is offered through the Institute on Aging and provides interdisciplinary training for post-baccalaureate students interested in working in the field of aging in a variety of settings. The certificate may be completed as a standalone post-baccalaureate program or in conjunction with a graduate degree program at PSU.

Around the world, countries' populations are aging, including in the U.S. This rapid change is creating exciting opportunities for a range of professionals who have the expertise and passion to create new ways to understand and embrace aging in the twenty-first century. Employment possibilities are vast. The Graduate Certificate in Gerontology program aims to prepare students for these opportunities and to enhance the skill set of those already working in the field.

Students in the program will learn about how and why we age, ways to reduce stigma around aging and optimize the aging process, the purpose, strengths, and challenges of programs and services for improving the quality of life for older people and their families, and ways to take advantage of the resource that older adults represent and shape places that work for people of all ages and abilities. This program is unique in its inclusion of courses in urban studies and planning, community health, government policy, social work, psychology, and sociology - all addressing aging-related issues.

Faculty at the Institute on Aging are global leaders on the cutting edge of social science research on aging, including best practices in housing and long-term care, planning age-friendly communities, aging services, aging in developing countries, workforce development and work-life issues and family caregiving.


Prerequisites for enrollment

  • A bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution. Students who are in the process of finishing up a bachelor’s degree at PSU may begin graduate coursework toward the certificate with the IOA director’s approval. Courses may count for either the bachelor’s degree or the certificate, but not both.
  • A cumulative GPA of at least 2.75 in all previous coursework. Applicants with cumulative GPAs between 2.5 and 2.74 may be considered for conditional admission.

There is no coursework prerequisite other than a bachelor's degree, and no standardized admissions tests (e.g., GRE) are required.

The Graduate Certificate in Gerontology may be taken as a stand-alone program or in conjunction with another graduate program.


Adding the certificate program to an existing graduate degree program

If desired, coursework completed for the certificate may be applied toward graduate degrees at PSU, generally as electives. For example, classes may be counted toward the doctoral programs in Urban Studies, Public Affairs and Policy, Community Health, or master’s programs, such as the Master of Social Work program, provided they meet the standards for use in the degree as defined by the respective departments (e.g., as electives).


Further information