Gerontology

College of Social Sciences and Interdisciplinary Studies

Program Description

The Gerontology Program provides an applied interdisciplinary approach to studying the human aging process and the challenges encountered by older adults and their families as they interact in contemporary society. The curriculum is anchored in life course and humanistic theory, and concentrates on the needs of both healthy and chronically ill elders.

In order to better understand life’s complexities, the program guides students to critically examine and explore the issues, impacts, and interventions for elders and their families from an interdisciplinary framework. Throughout coursework, students are exposed to the bio-psycho-social-cultural and gender contexts that exist individually and in aggregate groups within society. Course content challenges all students to identify and analyze existing generalizations, theories, and concepts about aging in order to develop valid understandings based on current research in the discipline. Throughout the program, students are encouraged to actively advocate concerning elder issues.

The program offers a major and minor in Gerontology. Students are encouraged to blend other disciplines of study with Gerontology in order to facilitate varied career alternatives. They are helped in constructing an individual (elective) program of study within their major that reflects their own interests. Using elective courses to begin to build a minor in this area is highly encouraged. The program also assists students in constructing a special master's degree.

Career opportunities for gerontologists are growing rapidly. Employers are realizing the benefits of employing people who have backgrounds in aging along with abilities to address the needs of their older consumers. Gerontology graduates enter careers in both the public and private sectors with healthy and chronically ill elders. The careers are as varied as the goals of the individual and the needs of the organization. Graduates often work in such positions as counselors, advocates, analysts in state agencies for older adults, social workers, nurses, and information and referral specialists. Others have created their own careers in such areas as dental hygiene, human services, food services, travel, and Web design.

Career opportunities for gerontologists are growing rapidly. Employers are realizing the benefits of employing people who have backgrounds in aging along with abilities to address the needs of their older consumers. Gerontology graduates enter careers in both the public and private sectors with healthy and chronically ill elders. The careers are as varied as the goals of the individual and the needs of the organization. Graduates often work in such positions as counselors, advocates, analysts in state agencies for older adults, social workers, nurses, and information and referral specialists. Others have created their own careers in such areas as dental hygiene, human services, food services, travel, and Web design.

Gerontology graduates also often go on to graduate and professional schools in fields such as sociology, psychology, counseling, nursing, criminal justice, family services, and social work.

Degree Programs

BS in Gerontology

Minor in Gerontology

Certificate in Gerontology (Graduate)

Accreditation

In addition to California State University, Sacramento's full accreditation by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges, the Bachelor of Science in Gerontology is also individually accredited by the Association of Gerontology in Higher Education.

Licensure and Credentialing Disclosure

Admission into programs leading to licensure and credentialing does not guarantee that students will obtain a license or credential. Licensure and credentialing requirements are set by agencies that are not controlled by or affiliated with the CSU and requirements can change at any time. For example, licensure or credentialing requirements can include evidence of the right to work in the United States (e.g., social security number or tax payer identification number) or successfully passing a criminal background check. Students are responsible for determining whether they can meet licensure or credentialing requirements. The CSU will not refund tuition, fees, or any associated costs, to students who determine subsequent to admission that they cannot meet licensure or credentialing requirements. Information concerning licensure and credentialing requirements are available from the Dean of Undergraduate Studies, Sacramento Hall 234, (916) 278-5344.

Special Features

The focus of the curriculum is upon the biological/psychological/social aspects of aging; social policies; services and research in aging; and practice, administration, and program development, implementation and evaluation skills related to aging.

  • An integrated interdisciplinary program of courses and field experiences leads to a Bachelor of Science degree with a Major or Minor in Gerontology.
  • Multiple major courses include integrated Service Learning to connect theory, practice, and community service.
  • Individuals are prepared for careers in varied gerontological practice areas based upon demographic projections of need for personnel in planning, administering, coordinating, and delivering older adult services.
  • Gerontological practitioners’ awareness of the effects of social policy on aging individuals and families is emphasized.
  • The program helps facilitate students' progression from community colleges to the University when acquiring a BS degree in Gerontology.
  • Individuals currently working in the community are afforded opportunities to learn advanced skills and acquire professional training in gerontology.
  • The strong relationships between the Gerontology Program and Sacramento area agencies and institutions planning or delivering services for older persons, and their families are key components to this program’s success.
  • The Gerontology Program helps enhance the interest and commitment of diverse faculty and the University while providing a vehicle for collaboration regarding community engagement, interdisciplinary study and research in the field of Gerontology.
  • The Program provides comprehensive academic preparation for graduate study in Gerontology or other related fields.

Potential Career Possibilities

Counselor · Adult Protective Services · Assessment/Intake Case Worker · California Department of Aging · Case Manager · Consultant · Department of Health Services · Department of Social Services-Older Adult Educator · Guardian/Conservator Staff · Information and Referral Specialist · Legal Aid Assistant · Ombudsman/Advocate · Program Activities Director · Program Specialist · Senior Community Outreach · Geriatric Social Worker · Geriatric Clinical Nurse · Rehabilitation/Job Training Agencies · Senior Retirement/Adult Day Care Centers · Area Agencies on Aging

Contact Information

Cheryl Osborne, Director
Laura Emerson, Administrative Support Coordinator
Benicia Hall 1018
(916) 278-7163,
FAX: (916) 278-3855
laura.emerson@csus.edu
www.csus.edu/gero

JENSEN, DONNA

MOYLAN, ANN

OSBORNE, CHERYL

TAYLOR, SUE

WOODWARD, PATRICIA

How to Read Course Descriptions

GERO 21.     First Year Seminar: Becoming an Educated Person. 3 Units

General Education Area/Graduation Requirement: Understanding Personal Development (E)

Term Typically Offered: Fall, Spring

Introduction to the nature and possible meanings of higher education, and the functions and resources of the University. Designed to help students develop and exercise fundamental academic success strategies and to improve their basic learning skills. Provide students with the opportunity to interact with fellow students and the seminar leader and to build a community of academic and personal support, as well as explore gerontological concepts needed to respond to demographic changes in today's world.

GERO 100.     Aging Issues in Contemporary America. 3 Units

General Education Area/Graduation Requirement: GE AREA D

Term Typically Offered: Fall, Spring, Summer

Introduction to the field of Gerontology and how the discipline addresses society's aging needs. An examination of current issues in gerontology using a life span perspective focusing on older adults' needs/concerns along life's continuum in various environments. Major topics include implications of the demographic imperative, common aging changes/conditions, myths and stereotypes, effects of health/illness on individual and family roles, basic social issues and policies arising from the graying of America, and media, cultural and gender influences.

GERO 101.     Elder Care Continuum Services and Strategies. 3 Units

Term Typically Offered: Fall, Spring

Exploration and analysis of the "elder care service continuum" within the context of changing diverse societal needs, service availability and accessibility, current public policy, and administrative and management issues facing care providers. A multidisciplinary examination of the spectrum of services and programs targeted for older adults and their families. Includes information and referral processes and agencies, recreational and social options, housing alternatives, in-home, residential and skilled care options, health care eligibility criteria, funding sources, and adult protective services.

Note: This is a service learning course.

GERO 102.     Social Policy for an Aging Society. 3 Units

Prerequisite(s): GOVT 1 or GOVT 150 or equivalent.

Term Typically Offered: Fall, Spring

Explores context and process for policy making by national and California state governments including ethical dimensions. Applications are developed from students' and instructor's areas of interest including K-12 and higher education, land-use policy, and aging issues such as elder advocacy, Social Security, and Medicare/Medicaid. Provides background and skills for entry level positions in public or non-profit organizations.

Cross Listed: PPA 100; only one may be counted for credit.

GERO 103.     Applied Care Management in Gerontology Practice. 3 Units

Term Typically Offered: Fall, Spring

Analysis of issues, services, methods, and interventions related to "practice" with older adults and application of strategies for identifying and accessing services targeted for older adults and their families. Outcomes include understanding: unique characteristics/needs of elders; relationship of the systems approach to working with elders; issues affecting service delivery to this population (diversity, gender, ethics, special health and mental health needs); basic practice skills for effective service delivery to elders and families/caregivers; student's attitudes and roles when working with this population.

Note: This is a service learning course.

GERO 121.     Models for Successful Aging. 3 Units

Term Typically Offered: Fall, Spring

In depth interdisciplinary, holistic exploration of health promotion and adaptation paradigms that facilitate successful, productive longevity. Hardiness and self-efficacy theories along with expectations and experiences enhancing quality of life are explored. Interactions among such variables as activity, diet, exercise, work/leisure, attitudes/beliefs, humor, living environments, spirituality, and social networks are investigated within the contexts of gender, economic and cultural perspectives.

GERO 122.     Managing Disorders in Elders. 3 Units

Prerequisite(s): GERO 121

Term Typically Offered: Fall, Spring

Study and analysis of prevalent pathophysiological-based diseases and psychological disorders commonly experienced by older adults and frail elder populations. Disease/disorder causes and the effects of chronic illness on individuals' activities of daily living, sexuality, relationships, and coping abilities with changing lifestyles are examined using a life course framework and evidenced-based research. Assessment tools, lab value changes, medication needs, complications/disabilities, traditional/alternative treatments and ethical issues rising from meeting needs are investigated along with implications for caregivers.

GERO 130.     Gerontology Practicum. 3 Units

Prerequisite(s): 24 Major units including GERO 101, GERO 102, GERO 103, GERO 121, GERO 122 and instructor permission.

Term Typically Offered: Fall, Spring

Supervised practicum experience in a community agency planning for or delivering professional services to older adults. This practicum experience is part of two culminating courses for the major and focuses on application of the interdisciplinary nature of the discipline while affording students direct, hands on experiences. Includes a field seminar. Seminar discussions focus on the application of gerontological concepts derived from all gerontology courses and are applied to each student's specific practicum area.

Note: This is a service learning course.

Credit/No Credit

GERO 131.     Gerontology Capstone Practicum. 3 Units

Prerequisite(s): 36 Major units including GERO 101, GERO 102, GERO 103, GERO 121, GERO 122, GERO 130 and instructor permission.

Term Typically Offered: Fall, Spring

Supervised internship experience in a community agency planning for or delivering professional services to older adults. This capstone practicum experience builds on the first internship course and is the final culminating course for the major and focuses on advanced application of the interdisciplinary nature of the discipline while affording students direct, hands on experiences. Includes a field seminar. Seminar discussions focus on the application of gerontologic concepts derived from all gerontology courses and are applied to each student's specific Practicum area.

Note: This is a service learning course. Minors may take this course without taking GERO 130

Credit/No Credit

GERO 199.     Special Problems. 1 - 3 Units

Prerequisite(s): Advanced approval of project goal and objectives by program director.

Term Typically Offered: Fall, Spring

Independent research, project, or directed reading.

Note: Open to students who are capable of independent work. A maximum of 3 units may count toward elective major requirements.

Credit/No Credit

GERO 200.     Adaptation To Age Related Changes, Illnesses and Caregiving. 3 Units

Term Typically Offered: Fall, Spring

Exposure to and analysis of positive and negative functional consequences arising from age related changes and illnesses in elders. Content elucidates changes and their effects on elders' levels of wellness using interdisciplinary research and holistic, life course frameworks. Screening assessments, interventions, community resources and services, and ethical issues are addressed for each topic. Caregiving issues and solutions are explored within life span and problem solving frameworks.

GERO 221.     Models for Successful Aging. 3 Units

Term Typically Offered: Fall, Spring

In depth interdisciplinary, holistic exploration of health promotion and adaptation paradigms that facilitate successful, productive longevity. Hardiness and self-efficacy theories along with expectations and experiences enhancing quality of life are explored. Interactions among such variables as activity, diet, exercise, work/leisure, attitudes/beliefs, humor, living environments, spirituality, and social networks are investigated within the contexts of gender, economic and cultural perspectives.

Cross Listed: GERO 121; only one may be counted for credit.

GERO 222.     Managing Disorders in Elders. 3 Units

Prerequisite(s): GERO 221

Term Typically Offered: Fall, Spring

Offers in-depth study/analysis of prevalent pathophysiological-based diseases and psychological disorders commonly experienced by older adults and frail elder populations. Disease/disorder causes and the effects of chronic illness on individuals' activities of daily living, sexuality, relationships, and coping abilities with changing lifestyles are examined using a life course framework and evidenced-based research. Assessment tools, lab value changes, medication needs, complications/disabilities, traditional/alternative treatments and ethical issues rising from meeting needs are investigated along with implications for caregivers.

Cross Listed: GERO 122; only one may be counted for credit.

GERO 295.     Internship/Project. 3 Units

Prerequisite(s): GERO 200, GERO 221, GERO 222.

Term Typically Offered: Fall, Spring

Supervised fieldwork internship or project that is a culminating experience and applies learned gerontological theories and concepts in a community setting where planning, developing, or delivering services to older adults or their families occurs. Students choose an area of practice and negotiate their learning experiences or project with their faculty advisor and field supervisor. Advanced approval of project goal and objectives by program director are required.

Credit/No Credit

GERO 299.     Special Problems. 1 - 3 Units

Prerequisite(s): Instructor permission.

Term Typically Offered: Fall, Spring

Independent research, project, or directed reading. Open to students who are capable of independent work. A maximum of 3 units may count toward elective major requirements. Advanced approval of project goal and objectives by program director.

Credit/No Credit