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Graduate Certificate

Certificate in Gerontology

Gerontology is the interdisciplinary study of aging.


The graduate gerontology certificate can be taken as a free-standing program, or in conjunction with a degree programs.

The Gerontology Certificate is an 18 credit hour program.  The recommended sequence of coursework is as follows:

A&S 5500: Interdisciplinary Colloquium in Aging (3 credits) Recommended as first course

One 3-credit course from each of the core areas (in any order) (9 credits)

Biological Aging → A&S 5501B: Special Topics: The Experience of Health in Aging

Psychological Aging → Psych 543: Adult Development and Aging

Aging in a Social Context → Sociology 500: The Sociology of Aging

Elective course (3 credits) → Choice of courses: Options for Fall 2016

Practicum (3 credits) → A&S 5592: Field Practicum in Aging

Social Workers: learn how to get a Gerontology Certificate while you are getting your Social Work degree.
Pursue a geroethics certificate in the MALS program.

Social Workers:  learn how to get a Gerontology Certificate while you are getting your Social Work degree.

Pursue a geroethics certificate in the MALS program.

Application and Enrollment

Students who have been admitted to a UMKC graduate program may be admitted to the Gerontology certificate program by completing the “Declaration of Major” form using the “Minor” section at the bottom of the form and then with consulting the Gerontology program advisor.

Those who are interested in pursuing only the certificate apart from a degree program should complete the application process to UMKC through the Admissions Office.  In addition to completing the graduate application form (found under #3) and indicating “Gerontology Certificate” as the major field and paying the application fee, applicants should also:

  • Submit all transcripts relating to previous undergraduate and graduate course work to the Admissions Office;
  • Submit a statement of purpose of approximately 500-750 words, describing your interests in the aging field and your academic or professional objectives (submit this directly to Joan McDowd, Ph.D., Advisor, at;
  • Submit your professional resume (submit directly to Joan McDowd, Ph.D., at
  • NOTE: GRE scores are not required.

Applications for the fall semester are due by June 15 and for the spring semester by November 1.

Student Perspectives

“Earning the graduate certificate in gerontology from UMKC is one of the smartest things I did to prepare for my career in aging! This innovative interdisciplinary program provided me the deep and broad knowledge, compassion and hands-on experience I needed to excel in a variety of professional settings. I enthusiastically recommend the gerontology certificate as a valuable foundation and springboard for students committed to serving older adults.”

Kelly Loeb, Graduate Certificate, 2001
(Kelly now has her MSW and works as an Older Adult Care Manager, Jewish Family Services of Greater Kansas City)

“The Gerontology Certificate program provided me with a well-rounded education focused on serving older adults. Real world issues centered on aging, as well as experiential activities enabled me to gain an in depth understanding of the aging process and senescence. I highly recommend UMKC’s Gerontology Certificate program to those interested in working with older adults and their families.”

Sarah Llanque, Graduate Certificate, 2011
(Sarah also earned R.N., Ph.D. degrees; she is currently a NIH-sponsored postdoctoral fellow at the University of Utah College of Nursing)