Gerontology, Post-Baccalaureate Certificate

Students pursuing the gerontology post-baccalaureate certificate at Saint Louis University will learn to work as part of an interdisciplinary or care coordination team. With the passage of the Affordable Care Act, these teams have been identified as important to improving health outcomes, preventing hospitalizations and reducing the cost of care for older adults.

Upon graduation, students will be able to:

  • Employ knowledge of older persons’ strengths and adaptations to maximize well-being, health and mental health.
  • Engage through effective communication with older persons, their families and the community, in personal and public issues in aging.
  • Identify comprehensive and meaningful concepts, definitions and measures for the well-being of older adults and their families.
  • Relate psychological theories and science to understanding adaptation, stability and change in aging.
  • Use gerontological frameworks to examine human development and aging.

Curriculum Overview

Saint Louis University's gerontology certificate curriculum is guided by the Association for Gerontology in Higher Education’s (AGHE) Competencies for Undergraduate and Graduate Education.

Students will be required to complete a course within each of the three competency areas, with a fourth course chosen from any of the three areas:

  • Foundational (AGHE) Competencies: Frameworks for understanding human aging; biological, social, and psychological aspects of aging; humanities and aging; research and critical thinking
  • Interactional Competencies: Attitudes and perspectives, ethics and professional standards, communication with and on behalf of older persons, interdisciplinary and community collaboration
  • Contextual Competencies: Well-being, health and mental health; social health; and policy

Careers

Older adults will comprise 27% of the U.S. population by 2050, according to projections by the U.S. Census Bureau. As the population of older adults increases, so do their projected rates of poverty, the potential for being childless or single, and chronic illnesses.

Employment of gerontology-related health care workers is projected to grow faster than the average across all occupations. For example, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics1 highlights:

  • Dietitians and nutritionists will be in demand at nursing homes and to help baby boomers find more ways to stay healthy.
  • Health care social workers will help aging populations and their families adjust to new treatments, medications and lifestyles.
  • Nurse practitioners will be at the forefront of caring for older adults, who typically have more medical problems than younger people.
  • Occupational therapists will help senior citizens maintain their independence and will be needed in health care settings to assist patients with chronic conditions.
  • Physical therapists will care for adults who are remaining more active later in life.
  • Psychologists will help people deal with the mental and physical changes that happen as they grow older.
  • Speech-language pathologists will be able to help with language impairments caused by heart attacks, strokes and mobility-related injuries.
1

All examples provided by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ 2021 Occupational Outlook Handbook.

Admission Requirements

Applicants should possess a bachelor's degree from an accredited college or university.

Application Criteria

  • Application form and fee ($25)
  • Transcript(s)

Requirements for International Students

TOEFL of 92 or higher or PTE Academic score

All admission policies and requirements for domestic students apply to international students. International students must also meet the following additional requirements:

  • Demonstrate English Language Proficiency
  • Financial documents are required to complete an application for admission and be reviewed for admission and merit scholarships. 
  • Proof of financial support that must include:
    • A letter of financial support from the person(s) or sponsoring agency funding the student's time at Saint Louis University
    • A letter from the sponsor's bank verifying that the funds are available and will be so for the duration of the student's study at the University
  • Academic records, in English translation, of students who have undertaken postsecondary studies outside the United States must include:
    • Courses taken and/or lectures attended
    • Practical laboratory work
    • The maximum and minimum grades attainable
    • The grades earned or the results of all end-of-term examinations
    • Any honors or degrees received.

WES and ECE transcripts are accepted.

Application Deadline

Applications will continue to be accepted and reviewed for admissions until Aug. 1 for fall and Dec. 1 for spring. 

Review Process

Admissions considers several factors to determine eligibility: academic achievement, strength of the undergraduate program, application information, personal statement, work experience, any graduate degrees earned, motivation, leadership and service. The undergraduate GPA is weighted with other criteria in the admissions process.

Scholarships and Financial Aid

The College for Public Health and Social Justice offers several ways to help finance graduate education.  Opportunities include a limited number of merit-based scholarships and graduate research assistantships.  Awards are made to applicants with the highest combinations of GPAs and test scores who complete their applications by the priority deadlines.

For more information, visit the student financial services office online at http://finaid.slu.edu.

  1. Graduates will be able to utilize gerontological frameworks to examine human development and aging.
  2. Graduates will be able to relate psychological theories and science to understanding adaptation, stability and change in aging.
  3. Graduates will be able to identify comprehensive and meaningful concepts, definitions and measures for well-being of older adults and their families.
  4. Graduates will be able to engage, through effective communication with older persons, their families and the community, in personal and public issues in aging.
  5. Graduates will be able to employ knowledge of older persons’ strengths and adaptations to maximize well-being, health and mental health

Students must take courses from two or more departments for completion of the certificate.

Foundational (AGHE) Course 3
Select one of the following:
Health & Mental Health Interventions with Older Adults
Care of Older Adults an Interdiscplinary Approach
Interactional Course3
Select one of the following:
Care of Older Adults an Interdiscplinary Approach
Bioethics and the Law (PL)
Elder Law
Interprofessional Perspectives in Geriatric Care
Death, Dying, & Grief: Professional Practice & Self-Awareness
Contextual Course3
Select one of the following:
Health Care Organization
Management of Health Care Organizations
Bioethics and the Law (PL)
Disability Law (PL)
Health & Mental Health Interventions with Older Adults
Clinical Approaches to Chronic Health Conditions
Death, Dying, & Grief: Professional Practice & Self-Awareness
Elective Course3
Select one additional course from any category above.
Practicum3
Discipline specific field practicum focusing on working with older adults
Community & Organization Practicum I
Community & Organization Practicum II
Master of Social Work Foundation Practicum
Clinical Practicum I
Clinical Practicum II
Total Credits15

Non-Course Requirements

  • The Geriatric Education Center Summer Institute, a two-day opportunity to attend in-depth workshops, learn about the current practice of geriatric care in the community setting and attend plenary presentations about current research in assessment and intervention strategies.
  • Students will compile a portfolio consisting of one gerontology-focused assignment from each course taken towards completion of the certificate. These portfolios will be assessed by the acting advisor and the certificate coordinator (if the coordinator is also the advisor, a second reviewer will be chosen), using a standard rubric developed and reviewed by participating faculty across departments. This will be utilized to assess student learning outcomes within each competency area and whether the provided coursework achieved them. 

Continuation Standards

Students must maintain a cumulative grade point average (GPA) of 3.00 in all graduate/professional courses.

Roadmaps are recommended semester-by-semester plans of study for programs and assume full-time enrollment unless otherwise noted.  

Courses and milestones designated as critical (marked with !) must be completed in the semester listed to ensure a timely graduation. Transfer credit may change the roadmap.

This roadmap should not be used in the place of regular academic advising appointments. All students are encouraged to meet with their advisor/mentor each semester.  Requirements, course availability and sequencing are subject to change.

Plan of Study Grid
Year One
FallCredits
Foundational Course 1, 2 3
Interactional Course 1, 2 3
 Credits6
Spring
Contextual Course 1, 2 3
Discipline-Specific Practicum 1, 2 3
 Credits6
Summer
Participation in SLU GEC Summer Institute  
Elective 1, 2 3
 Credits3
 Total Credits15
1

Courses can be taken in any order

2

See information in Program Notes.

Program Notes

Approved Foundational Courses

SWRK 5745Health & Mental Health Interventions with Older Adults3
NURS 5750Care of Older Adults an Interdiscplinary Approach2-3
HCE 4240Ethics and Geriatric Care3

Approved Interactional Courses

HCE 4240Ethics and Geriatric Care3
NURS 5750Care of Older Adults an Interdiscplinary Approach (Spring)2-3
LAW 8005Bioethics and the Law (PL) (Spring)2-3
SWRK 5786Death, Dying, & Grief: Professional Practice & Self-Awareness (Spring)3

Approved Contextual Courses

DIET 5220Gerontological Nutrition3
HMP 5000Health Care Organization (Fall)3
HMP 5300Management of Health Care Organizations (Fall)3
LAW 8005Bioethics and the Law (PL) (Spring)2-3
LAW 8035Disability Law (PL) (Fall)3
SWRK 5745Health & Mental Health Interventions with Older Adults (Fall)3
SWRK 5758Clinical Approaches to Chronic Health Conditions (Spring)3
SWRK 5786Death, Dying, & Grief: Professional Practice & Self-Awareness (Spring)3

Approved Elective Courses

All courses listed above in Foundational, Interactional and Contextual courses can be approved elective courses. Also, per existing inter-university agreements with University of Missouri-Saint Louis and Washington University, students may seek to take a gerontology-related class that will transfer in. Visit the UMSL and Washington University websites for current offerings.

Discipline-Specific Practicum Course

Students will work with the gerontology coordinator and a discipline-specific advisor to identify the appropriate discipline-specific practicum course (3 credits). This includes a research practicum as appropriate. For students actively working with gerontology populations in the community, this practicum may be waived per experiences, based upon approval of the gerontology certificate coordinator and certificate committee.

Apply for Admission

For additional admission questions please contact:
Kathryn MacLean
Director of Graduate Recruitment and Admissions
314-977-2752
socialwork@slu.edu