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.

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)


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.

Notice to Students RE: Professional Licensure and Certification

California State University programs for professions that require licensure or certification are intended to prepare the student for California licensure and certification requirements. Admission into programs for professions that require licensure and certification does not guarantee that students will obtain a license or certificate. Licensure and certification requirements are set by agencies that are not controlled by or affiliated with the California State University and licensure and certification requirements can change at any time.

The California State University has not determined whether its programs meet other states’ educational or professional requirements for licensure and certification. Students planning to pursue licensure or certification in other states are responsible for determining whether, if they complete a California State University program, they will meet their state’s requirements for licensure or certification. This disclosure is made pursuant to 34 CFR §668.43(a)(5)(v)(C).

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

Donna Jensen, Director
Dixie Nolasco, Administrative Support Coordinator
Amador Hall 550B
(916) 278-7163,
FAX: (916) 278-3855