Gerontology Graduate Certificate

Degree Requirements

The Graduate Certificate Program at USA requires a minimum of four courses (12 hours) with grades of "A" or "B", including Aging in American Society (SY 523) and an approved internship or approved equivalent experience. It is strongly recommended that students take other courses to enhance their research/practice in aging and the life course, such as a course in public policy or public health; a research methods course appropriate to the student's primary discipline and/or gerontology; and a course in professional ethics. All courses not specifically listed in this section must be approved by the Gerontology Program Director and the student's academic advisor prior to registration for the course.

The Gerontology internship (GRN 596) is required but may be waived for students who are employed in the field of aging or those who complete an approved internship or clinical/field placement within the student's discipline. The internship must allow the student to apply skills to work with older individuals and their families. Research shows that positive, supportive attitudes toward aging are best developed through personal involvement with older people. The skill of applying knowledge to the issues in aging is developed in experiential learning situations. Therefore, an internship is required unless the student demonstrates substantial previous experience with the client population. A maximum of six credit hours of internship and six credit hours of directed study may be applied toward the Graduate Certificate in Gerontology. The internship must be approved by the program director during the semester prior to placement. Students in professional programs may be able to use field placements in lieu of the Gerontology Internship. Additional course substitutions may be possible. The Gerontology Certificate is a valuable added credential for students in Nursing, Allied Health Professions, Health Education, and Public Health/Health Administration. Students are encouraged to speak with their academic advisors and the Director or Associate Director of the Gerontology Programs about adding the Gerontology Certificate to their programs of study.

All course waivers and substitutions must be approved by the Gerontology program director. The student must work closely with the director and with the advisor in the major area of specialization to develop the best program possible to meet career goals.

Graduate Certificate in Gerontology

Following are the courses approved for the Graduate Certificate in Gerontology:

Required Courses
SY 523Aging in American Society3
GRN 596Internship - Gerontology (or equivalent)3,6
Elective Courses
Select two of the following:6
Health Disparities Life Span
Dir St in Gerontology -
GRN Teaching Apprenticeship
Current Health Issues
Public Policy and Aging
Cognitive Psychology
Lifespan Development
Comparative Psychology
Health Disparities Life Span
Sociology of Aging-Family
Total Hours12-15

Graduate level Special Topics courses and Directed Studies may be taken as electives when the course topic is appropriate for gerontology. Distance learning options may be offered for some courses. Check with the program director or associate director for information about on-line courses and other distance learning opportunities.

Other electives may be taken from the student's degree discipline with approval by the student's graduate advisor, the Gerontology program director, and the Graduate School (Examples: courses in Advanced Geropsychiatric Nursing and courses in the College of Allied Health Professions where the focus is on aging and age-related health conditions). Students should meet with the Gerontology program director to discuss specific questions about elective courses.

Courses which are taken as part of a degree program may be considered for credit toward the certificate provided they are approved by the Director of the University Programs in Gerontology, the Director of Graduate Studies in the College offering the degree, and the Dean of the Graduate School. In order to receive the printed Graduate Certificate in Gerontology, you must submit a completed application form. Certificates are not issued automatically. Forms are available on the program website at: Students must schedule an exit interview with the director or associate director of the Gerontology Program six weeks prior to completion of the program. Zoom or phone interviews can be arranged. Certificate recipients are listed in the Commencement Program closest to the date the certificate completion documentation approved.

For further information about the program contact

Dr. Roma Stovall Hanks, Director or
Dr. Hosik Min, Associate Director
USA Programs in Gerontology
5991 USA Dr. N., HUMB 34
University of South Alabama
Mobile, Alabama 36688-0002
phone: (251) 460-6020; FAX (251) 460-7925
e-mail: or

Application for the Certificate

The Degree Works audit tool lists the Gerontology Certificates (Graduate and Undergraduate) as programs. Students should alert their advisors to check that they are enrolled in the appropriate Gerontology Certificate program. Upon completion of requirements, an application must be submitted by the student.

The application is available at the Gerontology website: