Would you like to work in a hospital, clinic, long-term care facility, or counseling office? Then check our list of the 10 Best Master’s Degrees in Gerontology.
If you enjoy working with older adults and you’re interested in receiving a degree that will enable you to work with them through the different experiences and phases of aging, then you should consider gerontology. In today’s world and society, working with older adults requires drawing from fields like psychology, kinesiology, economics, social work, and economics. This means that most gerontology degrees are highly interdisciplinary and require the creative capacity to move across disciplines with the ultimate goal being to learn how best to help aging adults and their families meet new and different challenges and experiences.
Graduates with a degree in the field can actually work in a variety of different careers including assisted living administrators, personal assistants, health care and mental health care workers, as well as various career paths in geriatrics. And as it turns out, this field is growing, which isn’t a major surprise given that the Baby Boomer generation is getting older. In fact, adults over the age of 65 are expected to double over the next 30 years. Consequently, jobs in the field are expected to grow significantly over the next decade.
For instance, Home Health Aids and Personal Care Aid jobs are expected to grow by a whopping 41%, well above the overall job growth of 8%. Careers in the gerontology-related fields are not as lucrative without an advanced degree. Which is why considering a masters in the field makes sense for those interested in the work. With a master’s degree, students can rest assured that they will be paid above the median average of all wages. So, if you are interested in pursuing a career in the field, then check out our list of the 10 Best Masters in Gerontology.
Best Master’s Degrees in Gerontology
||George Washington University
||Iowa State University
||Georgia State University
||University of Nebraska at Omaha
||Youngstown State University
||University of Louisiana at Monroe
||Virginia Commonwealth University
||Bowling Green State University
||Bowling Green, OH
The staff of Grad School Hub has compiled the following 10 Best Master’s Degrees in Gerontology for the 2019-20 academic school year based on public data released from educational, commercial, and government databases. Data contributed from sources such as the National Center for Education Statistics, and the U.S. Department of Labor plays a significant role in how graduate degree programs are ranked because institutional transparency is essential for deciding which career path is right for you. Based on this data, GSH organizes information into five weighted categories, which are:
- Alumni Feedback: 20%
- Continued Enrollment: 20%
- Degree Selectivity: 10%
- Graduate Expenses: 25%
- Projected Annual Salary: 25%
A more comprehensive evaluation of how each category is determined and scored is accessible through our Ranking Methodology page.
Accredited Online College Programs
Here are the 10 Best Master’s Degrees in Gerontology!
George Washington University
Grad School Hub's top-ranked MS in Nursing resides at George Washington University, which is located in Washington, DC. GWU is a private research university, though it was chartered by an act of Congress in the 19th Century. The school enrolls over 27,000 students each year. The School of Nursing offers a Master of Science in Nursing: Adult-Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner degree. Full-time students can complete the program within two years, including courses during the summer. Overall the program is 48 credits, which include 625 clinical hours.
Required courses include Evidence-Based Practice for Health Care Researchers, Advanced Health Assessment and Diagnostic Reasoning, and Genetics for Health Care Providers. The SN works with students to ensure proper clinical placement, which includes help navigating the legal documents required. This program is a hybrid model and includes online courses, as well as face-to-face requirements, making it easier for working professionals to pursue the degree. Admission requires a bachelor's degree with a 3.0 GPA, as well as two letters of recommendation, a personal statement, and active nursing licensure.
Iowa State University is located in Ames and is the largest school in the state. ISU is a land-grant and space-grant public research university and regularly enrolls over 34,000 students each year. The Gerontology Program at ISU offers a Master of Science in Gerontology that is available on campus or online. The program is structured around a cohort model so that individuals progress through the degree with their colleagues and have the opportunity to build relationships and develop collegiality. The program is interdisciplinary and seeks to blend hands-on learning and training with rigorous research skills.
Among required courses are classes like Aging in the Family Setting, Economics, Public Policy, and Aging, and Nutrition and Physical Activity in Aging. ISU faculty and students have received significant funding for research in the field from organizations like the National Institutes of Health, the United States Department of Agriculture, and the National Science Foundation. The GP regularly holds events like their Open House, as well as conferences and symposia like the Research Symposium: Grand Challenges in Aging, which brings in researchers and practitioners from around the country.
The largest institution by enrollment in the state of Georgia, Georgia State University is a public research university located in Atlanta. The school is categorized as an R1 institution for its research expenditures. The College of Arts and Sciences offers a Master of Arts in Gerontology, which has two concentrations that students can choose from, either Program Administration or Research. Overall, both concentrations are total to 36 credits, which can be completed in two years. Students take five required courses, and four electives, in addition to requirements in their concentrations.
Among the required classes are Health and the Older Adult, Diversity and Aging, and Psychology of Aging. Students in the PA concentration take three courses, one of which is a capstone seminar, while students who follow the R concentration take a course in research method, and then devote the rest of their credits to researching and writing their thesis. In keeping with the research reputation of GSU, the Department of Gerontology also conducts regular research which students also benefit from. Admission to the program requires a bachelor's degree, three letters of recommendation, as well as a statement of educational and career goals.
University of Nebraska at Omaha
The University of Nebraska Omaha's Department of Gerontology offers a top-notch Master of Arts in Social Gerontology. Students of UN Omaha's MASG can choose between a thesis track or a non-thesis track. Students who are interested in research are strongly encouraged to take the thesis-track, while students who are primarily interested in becoming practitioners are encouraged to take the non-thesis track. Both options are 36 credits and can be completed within two years. Students take a suite of required core courses like Applied Social Gerontology, and Seminar in Aging & Human Behavior, as well as courses in professional studies.
UNO's DG is the leading provider of gerontology in the state of Nebraska and a significant program for research in the US. Areas of focus have been end-of-life planning, public policy, resiliency studies, and aging prisoners. Students can also pursue a dual degree in MASG and a Juris Doctor through the collaboration of the DG and the College of Law. This dual degree expands career options and gives potential graduates additional tools for how to help the aging and their families.
Youngstown State University
A public research university located in Youngstown, OH, Youngstown State University enrolls over 12,000 students annually and offers over 50 different graduate degree programs. The College of Liberal Arts & Social Sciences offers a Master of Arts in Gerontology. The program is designed either for working professionals or recent graduates and includes a mixture of political science, social work, psychology, and human ecology courses to create a robust interdisciplinary program. The program is 36 credits and can generally be completed in two years or four semesters.
Students take required courses like Epidemiology and Aging, Service Delivery and Aging Policy, and Anatomy and Physiology of Aging. The thesis track includes classes in data analysis and one fieldwork experience, while the non-thesis class requires two fieldwork experiences. Students have interned at sites like the Alzheimer's Association, the Ohio Department of Aging, and the Ohio Association of Gerontology and Education gaining valuable hands-on experience and knowledge. Admission requires an undergraduate degree with a 3.0 GPA, as well as letters of recommendation, and proof of completion of a social statistics course at the undergraduate level.
University of Louisiana at Monroe
The University of Louisiana at Monroe is a public university and is part of the University of Louisiana System. The school regularly enrolls over 8,700 students every year in their undergraduate and graduate programs. ULM offers a Master of Arts in Gerontology, which is a 36 credit program that can be completed within 18 months. The concentrations offered include Small Business Management, Mental Health, Program Administration, Grief Care Management, Long-Term Care Administration, and Aging Studies. Core classes include Programs and Public Policy, Social Gerontology, and the Biology of Aging.
As students progress through the program, they shape their degree according to their interests through 15 credits of concentration courses. ULM has both a regular and conditional status admission option. For regular admission, students must hold a bachelor's from an accredited institution and have a 2.75 GPA, while the conditional status allows for a lower GPA or GRE scores and 60 credits of undergraduate coursework at an accredited institution.
Located in Oxford, OH, Miami University is one of the oldest public research universities in the country. The school has several additional sites, and overall enrollment is over 19,000 per year. MU offers a Master of Gerontological Studies which includes three tracks for students to choose between including research/academic, policy, and non-social work direct services. The program is 43 credits and generally takes around 18 months to complete for full-time students. The program blends theory and practice, and students are required to have a supervised field experience which can be taken abroad or domestically.
Students take required classes like Policy and Politics of Aging, Organizations and the Aging Enterprise, and Critical Inquiry in Gerontology. MU offers Graduate Assistantships for graduate students. These positions are paid and require around 18-20 hours of work each week and offer a great way for students to pay for graduate school. Students can also take advantage of the programming offered at the Scripps Gerontology Center, which is one of the top research facilities for gerontology and is the primary body which oversees the MGS degree.
Virginia Commonwealth University
Virginia Commonwealth University is located in Richmond, VA, and is a public research university with over 31,000 students annually enrolled. VCU has a long and venerable history of involvement in medical sciences and was originally founded as the Medical College of Virginia. The Department of Gerontology in the College of Health Professions offers a Master of Science in Gerontology. The degree is interdisciplinary and encourages research and professionalism in the practice of gerontology. The program is 30 credits and is designed to be completed within one year.
Students are asked to choose one of seven areas of specialization, which include Assisted Living Administration, Education, Health Care Organization and Planning, Psychogeriatrics, Public Administration, Research, or Social Services. Students take required classes like Social Gerontology, Problems, Issues and Trends in Gerontology, and Aging and Human Values. Individuals are also required to participate in a field study which requires students to identify a community-based issue or problem relevant to their area of specialization. Students then craft a research project which addresses the issue, including research regarding funding sources for how the problem can be solved. This results in a professional portfolio which can be used later when applying for positions.
Bowling Green State University
Bowling Green, OH
Located in Bowling Green, OH, Bowling Green State University is a public research university with around 20,000 students annually enrolled. The school was ranked the most affordable school in Ohio by the Ohio Business Insider for the year 2018. The Department of Human Services offers a Masters of Science in Interdisciplinary Gerontology. The program is designed for individuals from a variety of disciplines and backgrounds and is meant to give them tools for engaging and caring for the aging population. The disciplines of psychology, kinesiology, human development, social policy, and health promotion are included in the program's approach.
The program is 33 credit hours and can generally be completed in one-year, or two-year for part-time students. Students take required courses like Families in Later Life, Aging Policy and Programs, and Kinesiology and Health Promotion. Students are required to complete a thesis or a research project as well, giving them a chance to dive deep into a problem in the field and learn the ins and outs of research and scholarly work. Students who don't opt for the thesis or research project can choose to take a comprehensive exam as their capstone experience.
A private, non-profit institution of higher learning, Brenau University is based in Gainesville, GA, though it has multiple campuses and online offerings. BU generally enrolls around 3,500 students in their various programs. BU offers a Master of Science in Applied Gerontology. The program is designed to be completed in one year and is a total of 30 credits, which includes 12 credits in electives. The program is interdisciplinary, which gives significant freedom to students when it comes to choosing which electives they want to take.
Among the required courses are Effective Communication with the Elderly, Death, Dying, and Loss, and Psychology of Aging. All classes are offered online, which provides a great deal of flexibility in terms of coursework. The fieldwork component is completed in a qualified setting where students get hands-on experience in serving aging populations. Admission to the program requires a bachelor's degree with a 2.5 GPA with a completed introductory course in Human Development or Psychology. Students are encouraged to participate in the full gamut of opportunities and events which the Department of Psychology holds every month, thereby enriching their educational experience.