Graduate Program


elderly man doing push ups with two toddlers on his back

Gerontology Graduate Certificate Online Overview

The Graduate Certificate in Gerontology program is unique in its inclusion of courses from various disciplines such as urban studies and planning, public policy, social work, psychology, and sociology. Through coursework (completely or mostly online) and an 80-hour internship, students will learn how and why we age and the implications of the “demographic transition.” Our talented faculty helps students find ways to optimize the aging proces, plan for one’s own aging, create age-friendly communities, and recognize and reduce ageism, stigma, and negative stereotypes. You will emerge from this program understanding the purpose, strengths, and challenges of programs and services for improving the quality of life for older people and their families, and also know ways to recognize, value, and utilize the resources older adults represent. Our alumni go on to work with and on behalf of older adults in a wide range of private, government, and non-profit sectors.

Degree Details

Location Definitions:

On campus:
100% on campus
100% online
Combination of online and on campus
  • GC
    Graduate Certificate
    Total Credits
    Start Term

Gerontology Graduate Certificate Online: Why PSU?

This certificate may be completed fully online or through both online and traditional classroom courses. Our faculty are global leaders on the cutting edge of social science research on aging, including best practices in housing and long-term care, planning for age-friendly communities, mental and behavioral health, aging services, workforce development, work-life issues, and family caregiving.

The certificate can be completed as a stand-alone post-baccalaureate program or combined with a graduate program at PSU. Courses may be applied toward PSU doctoral programs in Urban Studies and Planning, Public Affairs and Policy, Community Health, and Health Systems Management & Policy, master’s programs in Public Health, Social Work, Public Administration: Health Administration, and other doctoral and master’s programs (provided the courses meet requirements in the particular degree program). Strong partnerships among the Institute on Aging and the City of Portland and local as well as international organizations and programs provide ample opportunity for students to form professional relationships, complete internships and explore career options.

What can I do with an online graduate certificate in Gerontology?

Employment possibilities in the field of aging services are vast, and there are myriad opportunities for entrepreneurship in this field that are yet to be discovered. They include positions at international, federal, state, and local levels of governments, as well as positions in non-profit and for-profit organizations. Our faculty are global leaders on the cutting edge of social science research on aging, including best practices in housing and long-term care, planning for age-friendly communities, behavior health, aging services, workforce development, work-life issues and family caregiving. Gero certificate alumni survey; link to and describe Careers in Aging (AGHE)

Featured Courses

3 required core courses: (1) and (2), plus either (3) or (4)

  • (1) AGE 556 Health Aspects of Aging
  • (2) AGE 558/658 Perspectives on Aging
  • (3) PSY 562 Psychology of Adult Development and Aging
  • (4) SOC 569 Sociology of Aging


  • PHE 510 Death and Dying
  • SW 544/644 Midlife and Beyond
  • SW 574 Social Work with Frail Older Adults
  • SW 569 Social Work in End of Life & Palliative Care
  • USP 585 Housing and Environments for the Elderly

Electives Offered Through the Institute on Aging

  • AGE 516 Families and Aging
  • AGE 523 Business and Aging
  • AGE 557/657 National Long Term Care Policy
  • AGE 559/659 Economics of Aging
  • AGE 560/660 Mental Health and Aging
  • AGE 562 Global Aging
  • AGE 563 Service Learning in Nicaragua


Portland State University is fully accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU).

In addition, the Institute on Aging is a member of the Academy for Gerontology in Higher Education. PSU is also a member of the Age-friendly University Global Network