College of Arts and Sciences

Gerontology Course Descriptions

GER 2101 - General Gerontology Practicum - Credit: 1 hr.

This course provides a practicum experience in which the students will engage in activities within settings or agencies dealing with services or programs developed for older persons.  Students who have successfully completed General Gerontology and decide to major or minor in gerontology will be required to complete this course.  A practicum of 60 hours is required. Satisfactory completion of General Gerontology and General Gerontology Practicum are equivalent to GER 2401 and will satisfy the prerequisite to enter the Gerontology Program.

GER 2301 - General Gerontology - Credit:    3 hrs.

This course will provide an introduction to aging and an overview of the field of gerontology for non-gerontology majors and minors.   The major concepts, theories and principles of gerontology will be introduced.  Students will explore ageism in the United States, current demographic trends in our society, old age as a stage of lifespan development, health and healthcare concerns of older persons, issues of work, retirement, housing and economics, family relationships and social support, quality of life, and political issues of an aging society. Concepts, theories, practices and other issues of aging will be explored through critical readings, lectures, class discussions, guest speakers, and videos.  Students may not receive credit for both GER 2301 and GER 2401.                                      

GER 2401 - The Aging Experience - Credit:  4 hrs.

An interdisciplinary, professional course designed for gerontology majors and minors addressing the stereotypes, beliefs and perceptions of aging as presented in art, music, literature, film, and other media. Students will confront their own beliefs and concerns with the aging process and how aging is portrayed. In addition, students are presented with the current picture of aging in America and will be introduced to examples of successful aging. Students will also explore potential career options in the field of gerontology. This course includes a practicum experience in which the students volunteer in settings or agencies dealing with services or programs developed for older persons. This experience is designed to allow students to explore their decision to major or minor in gerontology. A Practicum of 60 hours is required. Students may not receive credit for both GER 2101 & 2301 and GER 2401. Prerequisite: Gerontology Major or Minor.

GER 3301 - Aspects of Aging in Diverse Groups - Credit:   3 hrs.

The response and effect of culture and ethnicity are examined as to the care, status, and services accorded to an elderly individual who is a member of a specific culture group. In addition, students explore the aging of subgroups within society (e.g., women, homeless, grandparents, special populations;  gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender, HIV/AIDS). Ethics, acculturation, spirituality and religiosity are also included. Students will become aware of how human diversity impacts the delivery of services, treatment and care of aging individuals. Prerequisite: GER 2101 & 2301 or GER 2401 and/or permission of instructor.

GER 3302 - Principles and Practices of Gerontology - Credit:    3 hrs.

Students are exposed to and will model appropriate behavior when dealing with elderly individuals who are aging normally or who are experiencing a variety of mental, physical and social dysfunctions. Techniques, practices and available technology employed to assist the learning and independent functions of the individual are discussed. In addition, ethical treatment of individuals and how to structure an environment to allow for independence are presented. Students will design a space and a program to address the needs of a specific elderly individual or group. Prerequisite: GER 2101 & 2301 or GER 2401, GER 3301 and/or permission of instructor.

GER 3303 - Health-Related Functional Aspects of Gerontology - Credit: 3 hrs.

This course highlights common health changes in older persons and associated functional problems, enabling students to identify related signs, symptoms and risk factors. Emphasis is placed on safety, health promotion, disease prevention, and appropriate referrals. Case histories and guest panels are integrated into the lecture format. Prerequisites: GER 2101 & 2301 or GER 2401, HED 1201 and/or permission of instructor.

GER 3304 - Public Policy of Aging - Credit:   3 hrs.

This course provides students with an in-depth examination of how public policy for the aged is formulated on the national, state and local level. Students in this course will be exposed to a variety of critical policy issues, for instance, issues concerning Social Security, the Older American’s Act; and older adult entitlement programs. Students will be challenged to explore the development of the modern welfare state and the impact of globalization on public policy.  Global economic and political forces and social needs will be explored in great detail. Special attention will be given to the distinction between disparities in access to social goods such as housing and health care and disparities in outcomes such as unemployment, poverty and disease. Prerequisites: GER 2101 & 2301 or GER 2401, SOC 2301, SOC 3304 and/or permission of instructor.

GER 3310 - Biology of Aging - Credit:   3 hrs.

This lecture course studies anatomical and physiological changes and adjustments occurring over time as part of normal developmental processes and those that result from intrinsic, progressive, irreversible and deleterious changes of Senescence. Comparisons of the structure and function of systems in organisms, primary in the human body, will be made to distinguish between age-related and pathological and other environmentally induced changes. Prerequisites: BIO 1301 or 1431, and GER 2101 & 2301 or GER 2401. (Cross listed with BIO 3310).

GER 4301 - Research Methods & Evaluation in Gerontology - Credit:    3 hrs.

This course includes the methods, theories, and techniques of research and evaluation. Problem identification, literature review, data collection, analysis and interpretation, and proposal development in an area of gerontology that is of interest to the student are included. Students will follow institutional research protocol to conduct research projects. Prerequisite: Senior status.

GER 4302 - Dying, Death, and Bereavement - Credit:  3 hrs.

This course examines the phenomena of death, grief and bereavement from a number of perspectives; including but not limited to Western, Eastern and Native American philosophies. The impact of and recovery from loss (death, divorce, changes, etc.); near-death experiences and survivors; grief; reincarnation theories are explored and discussed. Guest lecturers will share their experiences and expertise. Prerequisite: Senior status and/or permission of instructor.

GER 4303 - Senior Capstone Seminar - Credit:  3 hrs.

This course is designed to explore historical and current issues of gerontology. Students are given the opportunities to synthesize previously learned concepts and to evaluate trends in contemporary ethical, moral, legal and political issues related to gerontology in an experiential, reflexive, document. Concepts of leadership, change, research and professional ethics relevant to gerontology will be discussed. Students will write a scholarly research paper on an aging issue of professional interest, under the guidance of a mentor. The final paper will be presented before a panel of students, faculty and professionals, in the form of a professional seminar. Students will attend seminars facilitated by professionals in the field of aging as a vital component of the course. Prerequisite: Senior status and completion of gerontology core program.

GER 4304 - Gerontology Practicum for Minors - Credit: 3 hrs.

The practicum is a key part of the curriculum and has two fundamental goals: (1) to  provide students with professional experience and an opportunity for career orientation and (2) to give students an opportunity to put the knowledge they have accumulated in the classroom to use in a facility or program serving older persons, thus integrating knowledge and practice. A Practicum of 240 hours is required. Prerequisites: Senior status and completion of gerontology core program for minors.

GER 4901 - Internship in Gerontology - Credit: 9 hrs.

This course will include an extended (40 hours per week) experience with an agency, facility or program dealing with an aspect of gerontology that is of interest to the student. The student will work under the direct supervision of a professional on site.  The semester prior to enrolling for the actual course, the student will meet with the internship coordinator of the Gerontology Program to identify an appropriate site and complete the procedures for the initiation of the internship. An internship with a minimum of 480 hours is required. Prerequisites: Senior status and completion of gerontology core program.

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