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Graduate Certificate in Gerontology

Update August 2017. The Graduate Gerontology Certificate Program is no longer accepting new applications for students in other degree programs as students can no longer share more than 6 credit hours between certificate and degree programs.  Individuals who enroll in the university as a non-degree student can apply to the certificate program.  Students currently enrolled in the certificate program can continue in the program as planned. Please contact if you have any questions.   Also note: Students do not need to be enrolled in the certificate program to take the GERO designated courses.  

The Graduate Certificate in Gerontology is available to students who meet WVU graduate admission requirements and have an interest in learning more about the aging processes and older people. The Certificate affords students an opportunity to explore the basic biological, psychological, and sociological processes of aging, the effects on needs and experiences of older people, and the impact of social policies related to human aging. An understanding of the unique problems and needs of older adults in Appalachia and other rural areas is emphasized.

The certificate requires fifteen graduate credits as detailed below. All of the required courses and some of the elective courses (SOWK 653, GERO 628) 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 3.0 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 a Graduate Certificate in Gerontology awarded by the School of Social Work. The Certificate award will be noted on each recipient’s University transcript.

Coordination of the Graduate Certificate in Gerontology was assumed by the Beatrice Ruth Burgess Center for WV Families and 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 must apply to be enrolled in the Certificate Program by filling out the application form. Please submit this by simply clicking on the email address link at the BOTTOM of the application form, or save it as a PDF and email it to  Erica Martin. If you do not have the ability to open as a PDF, the application can be obtained from  Dr. Kristina Hash or  Erica Martin, who may also be contacted at (304)-293-3780.

Applications are only accepted in the fall and spring semesters.

Required courses for the Graduate Certificate in Gerontology – 9 credit hours

  • GERO 645 (formerly 691) – Fundamentals of Gerontology (3) (Fall, online)
  • GERO 681 – The Rural Elderly (3) (Spring, online)
  • GERO 512 – Public Policy of Aging (3) (Fall, online)

Electives for the Graduate Certificate in Gerontology – 6 credit hours

Students may choose two courses from approved electives.

  • GERO 628 – Aging, Women, and Cultural Issues (3) (Spring, online)
  • GERO 695 – Independent Study/Research (3)
  • SOWK 653 – End of Life Care (3) (Spring, Summer, online)
  • SOWK 572 – Contemporary Issues in Aging, Summer Institute on Aging (3)
  • PHAR 751 – Geriatrics & Gerontology (2)
  • PHAR 764 – Patient Care Elective (Geriatrics) (5)
  • PSYC 544 – Adulthood & Aging (3)
  • COMM 691U – Communication in Later Life

Be sure to check availability and pre-requisites for non-GERO designated courses

For further information about the Graduate Certificate in Gerontology, contact Dr. Kristina Hash or  Erica Martin.