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Undergraduate Certificate in Gerontology

Update August 2017. The Undergraduate Gerontology Certificate Program is no longer accepting new applications. It is being replaced by a minor in gerontology which can be accessed by a student's academic advisor. Students currently enrolled in the certificate program can continue in the program as planned. Also note: Students do not need to be enrolled in the certificate program to take the GERO designated courses.  


The Undergraduate Certificate in Gerontology may be pursued concurrently with any undergraduate major. The Certificate affords students an opportunity to explore the basic biological, psychological, and sociological processes of aging, their effect on the needs of older people, and the impact of social policies related to human aging. Additionally, through required field experience, students develop basic skills for effective practice with older adults. The certificate emphasizes an understanding of the unique problems and needs of older adults in Appalachia and other rural areas.

The Certificate requires eighteen credit hours, including a field experience as described below. Several of the courses are offered online.

  • Students must apply to be enrolled in the Certificate Program. An application form is available on the School of Social Work website or may be obtained from the main office. Applications are accepted during the Fall and Spring semesters
  • A 2.75 GPA is required for admission to the certificate program
  • A grade of a B or better must be earned in all Certificate coursework.
  • Students who satisfactorily complete the requirements of the program will receive an Undergraduate Certificate in Gerontology awarded by the School of Social Work at the time they receive their baccalaureate degree. The Certificate award will be noted on each recipient’s University transcript.

Coordination of the Undergraduate Certificate in Gerontology was assumed by the Beatrice Ruth Burgess Center for WV Families & Communities of the WVU School of Social Work in Fall 2009. As Certificate requirements are reviewed, it is possible that some of them may be modified. You may want to check this site periodically or contact Dr. Kristina Hash, for the latest information about program requirements.

Students who satisfactorily complete the requirements of the program will receive an Undergraduate Certificate in Gerontology awarded by the School of Social Work at the time they receive their BSW. The Certificate award will also be noted on each recipient’s University transcript.

Those interested in the Gerontology Certificate may also want to explore the Summer Institute on Aging.

Required courses – 9 credit hours

  • GERO 212 – Introduction to Gerontology (3) (Fall, online) or PSYCH 345 – Adulthood and Aging (3)
  • GERO 410 – The Rural Elderly (3) (Spring, online)
  • GERO 491 – Professional Gerontology Field Experience (3) (Fall, Spring)

Fieldwork credits for the undergraduate program are earned in GERO 491. Gerontology professors assist in identifying sites for fieldwork experience with older persons and/or a relevant agency and in the supervision of the student’s work. Permission from instructor required prior to enrollment.

Electives – 9 credit hours
  • GERO 412 – Public Policy of Aging (3) (Fall, online)
  • GERO 418 – Aging, Women, and Cultural Issues (3) (Spring, online)
  • GERO 495 – Independent Study (3) Permission from instructor required prior to enrollment.
  • SPA 440 – Audiological Assessment (4) Prerequisites: SPA 440 or instructor permission
  • SPA 442 – Aural Rehabilitation (3) Prerequisites: 440 or instructor permission
  • COMM 317 – Communication & Aging (3) Prerequisites: Instructor permission
  • SOCA 393B SPTP:Sociology of Aging
  • SOWK 404 – End of Life Care (3) (Spring)
  • SOWK 572 – Contemporary Issues in Aging, Summer Institute on Aging (3)
  • PHIL 331 – Health Care Ethics (3)
  • SOCA 223 – Death & Dying (3)
  • SOCA 293 – Anthropology of Death (3)
  • Nursing 480 – Core Concepts in Gerontological Nursing (2)

For further information about the Undergraduate Certificate in Gerontology, contact Dr. Kristina Hash or Robin Swaney.