Certificate in Gerontology

Our certificate program offers an 18 credit, six course curriculum, which covers the major areas of Gerontology. These six areas provide professionals already working in the fields of human services, health care, long term care, senior housing, or any other area in which older adults are served, the opportunity to augment and/or enhance their expertise about aging. The professional with this expertise will be better equipped to work with the broad range of interdependent issues that older adults experience, as well as allow for advancement in a career in which aging is a focus.


This course will provide a focus on the major concepts and controversies currently being debated in the field of gerontology. Students will explore concepts of aging, health care, and society; some of the social and economic outlooks for our aging society; and the life course perspective. Topics will include health care rationing, elder abuse and neglect, the right to die, changing notions of retirement, creativity and aging, old age and the quest for meaning.

The study of the humanities reflects a fundamental question, what does it mean to be human? Studying the humanities provides the student of gerontology with a framework in which to think and learn about aspects of being and becoming an older human that are less accessible through a biological, psychological, or social lens. The humanistic approach in the study of aging includes a variety of subjects, for example: life review, identity (especially as it pertains to people with Alzheimer's Disease and other cognitive limitations), and spirituality, to name a few.

This course will provide a sociological perspective on the aging process and tools to effect change. Students will examine the impact of social policies, and the social and cultural conditions that shape the life course of older adults as individuals and as groups. As future leaders in the field, this class will seek to provide the student with an ability to critically analyze the policies and institutions that provide care and services to older adults, i.e. long term care facilities, hospitals, senior centers, etc., and the tools, i.e. needs assessment; evidence-based policy development; use of media, advocacy, and coalition-building strategies, and an introduction to program evaluation, in order to offer meaningful change to improve the quality of older lives.

This course will focus on the human development theories that provide the underpinning for a humanistic approach to aging. The humanistic approach is closely associated with the term 'conscious aging', which implies that in addition to the nature of aging as a biological and sociological phenomenon, there is a developmental path that includes the psychological and the transpersonal or spiritual. Students will engage in exploring this holistic perspective that includes applying the theoretical frameworks associated with Abraham Maslow, Carl Rogers, Ken Wilber, and others, as well as life-span theory to the process of aging.

While aging is a fact present in all human lives, there are common misconceptions as to what aging is, how we age, and why we age. There are also controversial and ethical issues associated with scientific explorations into extending our life spans. We will therefore be examining the impact of the science of aging on human life; the use of medical technology and its impact on mitigating aging. We will learn about the many theories of aging; examine healthy aging, and the diseases that most commonly affect us as we grow older. We will also look at the effects of aging on several body systems, and the effect of environment on aging within the context of how purpose and meaning are formed and challenged as human beings grow older.

While all human beings age, human beings age differently. Reducing racial and ethnic disparities in health has been identified as a national goal. Using the lens of health care is a primary way in which to understand the impact of culture on aging in the United States. Cultural beliefs and values impact how older adults learn and have access to and/or process information. The quality of service may be greatly influenced by understanding or misunderstanding the ethnic beliefs and values of older adults. This course will teach students how aging and ethnicity affect how we serve older adults. The course will also help students become better acquainted with their own cultural beliefs and values, as they learn about the cultural beliefs and values of a wide variety of ethnicities.

Admissions Requirements

ISHSHJ accepts applications to the Master's and Graduate Certificate programs from any person who possesses, or is in the process of completing a bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited university. Applicants must complete all bachelor's degree requirements before beginning graduate studies.

  1. Complete online application form.
  2. Baccalaureate degree from a regionally accredited institution. Official transcripts from all schools attended and/or agency evaluation of foreign degree.
  3. A grade point average (GPA) of 3.0 or higher in the last 60 semester hours of undergraduate coursework or a master's degree with an overall GPA of 3.0 or better; or a total score of 950 or higher on the combined verbal and quantitative sections of the Graduate Record Exam (GRE) taken within the past five years, or other similar measures.
  4. Please briefly tell us (300 word minimum) why you are interested in the program to which you are applying for, as well as your professional goals, your assessment of your abilities to manage the challenges of graduate and/or certificate work, and any other information you would like to provide. The personal statement helps us get to know you beyond the objective data provided in review of your course grades and other objective information. It also demonstrates your ability to communicate your thoughts in a professional, organized and succinct manner.
  5. Two academic or professional letters of recommendation.
  6. Official transcripts from all colleges and universities attended.
  7. TOEFL score (if applicable)
  8. An interview may be required for admission to the program.

International Students

Foreign nationals who reside outside the U.S. at the time of application, and whose native language is not English, must present evidence of proficiency in English by satisfactorily completing the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL).  Score requirements are the same as undergraduate admission and are as follows: minimum paper score =550; minimum computerized score = 213; minimum internet score=79). A score of 6.0 on the International English Language Testing System (ILETS) exam is accepted in lieu of the TOEFL.

Applicants who have attended foreign universities or colleges are required to have their academic credentials evaluated for U.S. institutional equivalence. While there are several credential evaluators, the most widely used companies are listed below or visit www.naces.org.

International students are encouraged to contact the Office of International Student Services at (954) 262-7240 or 800-541-6682, ext. 27240, or by email at intl@nova.edu, or visit www.nova.edu/internationalstudents.

Transfer Students

Transfer students must meet the program admissions criteria. Up to six graduate credits may be transferred into this program. The courses that may be transferred into the program will be determined on a case by case basis and must be deemed comparable in level, content, and rigor to those within the M.A. in Gerontology program.

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