Gerontology Certificate

Program Overview

The Gerontology Certificate program has been implemented in the Department of Social Work at Wright State University for over three decades. The program was founded by Dr. Bela Bognar and implemented in future years by Dr. Marita Rogers and Dr. Beth Kinsel. The program is available to undergraduate and graduate students and for students across all majors.

The certificate in gerontology program offers students academic preparation and practical experience in the growing field of gerontology:

  • Knowledge about the consequences of the aging process (physical, social, and psychological), the strengths of older adults, and the needs associated with the aging process throughout the life span
  • Knowledge about current social and health policies, as well as programs developed to meet the increasing needs of older people
  • Skills to work as a team member in an interdisciplinary setting designed to help older adults
  • Sensitivity about the values necessary to work with older people

The certificate program is built on three distinct but interrelated components totaling twenty-three, semester credit hours:

  • Three core courses that provide an overall understanding of the field.
  • Two elective courses that explore vital issues.
  • A field education experience that offers direct experience.
  • Completion of a Gerontology Project applied to the student’s last term in field education.
  • A minimum grade of B is required for the courses taken for the certificate in Gerontology.

Career Options

By offering a certificate in gerontology, Wright State University is joining a national trend of providing "content" in gerontology for students majoring in one of the human services. Thus, the certificate in gerontology is an addition to the degree and provides proof for graduates seeking employment that they have mastered the specific knowledge. Current labor statistics indicate that gerontology and geriatrics are the fastest growing employment fields in the U.S.  Having a degree in their own discipline and a certificate in gerontology will enable graduates to find employment in institutional settings, community care agencies, mental health services, and other areas.


Core Courses (12 hours)

  • SW 2700 – Introduction to Social Work (3) or PSY 1010 – Introduction to Psychology (4)
  • SW/SOC 4620/6620 - Social Gerontology (3)
  • SW 3750 – Human Behavior in the Social Environment I – Micro (3) or SW 6170 – Human Behavior in the Social Environment I – Micro (3)

Electives (6 hours in Gerontology courses)

  • SW 4850/6850 – Gerontology Project (3) – all students must take this course

Students then choose at least one course from the following:

  • SW 3890/6890 - Aging & End of Life Issues (3)
  • SW 3890/6890 – Women and Aging (3)
  • SW 3890/6890 – Issues in Aging: Opportunities and Challenges in the Community (3)
  • Other electives approved by the Gerontology Certificate Director

Additional Required Courses (12-15 hours)

  • SW 4860 – SW Field Practicum 1
  • SW 4870 – SW Field Seminar 1
  • SW 4880 – SW Field Practicum 2
  • SW 4890 – SW Field Seminar 2

Gerontology courses from other institutions may be transferable. All of the above courses may be taken in conjunction with requirements for a major.

Gerontology Certificate Application (PDF)