MURP + Graduate Certificate in Gerontology

Designing Age-Friendly Cities

By the year 2030, 1 in 5 Americans will be age 65 and older. This rapid change in our country’s population is creating exciting opportunities for professionals with the expertise to create new ways of understanding and embracing aging in the twenty-first century. Gerontology addresses the social issues, problems, policies, and programs affecting the quality of life for our rapidly aging population. The Graduate Certificate in Gerontology enables professionals to empower the older adults in our community.

A World of Career Possibilities

Employment possibilities in the field of aging services are vast, and many opportunities for entrepreneurship in this field are yet to be discovered. They include positions at international, federal, state, and local levels of government, as well as positions in nonprofit and for-profit organizations in many areas, including housing, long-term care facilities, planning for age-friendly communities, aging services and workforce development. Portland State University’s Institute on Aging (IOA) faculty are global leaders on the cutting edge of social science research on aging. Students have the opportunity to work directly with IOA faculty on publicly and privately funded research.

Program Requirements

The Graduate Certificate in Gerontology program is offered by the Institute on Aging (IOA). The certificate requires a minimum of 18 credits, including:

  • three core courses (11 credits)
  • two elective courses (6-8 credits)
  • an internship placement or an independent research project (1 or 3 credits)

See the IOA required courses page for a full list of required and elective courses.

Students who are interested in pursuing both their graduate degree in Urban and Regional Planning and the Certificate in Gerontology are REQUIRED to contact faculty advisors in BOTH the Institute on Aging and the Urban and Regional Planning department to plan out next steps.


Gerontology program internships are 80 hours and must be with a program or agency that has a primary focus on older adults. Students must complete an application form and submit it to the IOA ONE TERM PRIOR to when the internship starts. The IOA director must approve all internships. In rare cases, a student might be approved to instead do an independent research project.

Students in the MURP track may be able to fulfill the internship requirement for the MURP degree and Gerontology graduate certificate if their internship is relevant to Gerontology. The IOA director will advise students to make sure the topic is relevant. If eligible, students would need to register separately with the IOA for a 1-credit unit using a By-Arrangement Form (AGE 504) in addition to submitting a reflective paper. The 80 hours required for the Gerontology internship could be applied to the hours required by the MURP program. If a student’s internship topic were not relevant to gerontology, then they would have to do the field experience (AGE 504) or an independent research paper (AGE 501) separately from their program track.

Young man and elderly man playing chess in the park

Download the Gerontology Advising Pathway guide pdf with sample courses.