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Department of Communication and Sociology

Martin Bldg., Room 136
Warrensburg, MO 64093
Phone: 660.543.4840
Email: smyers@ucmo.edu





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M.S. Social Gerontology

Every day in this country 8,000 Americans celebrate their 65th birthday making people 65-plus today’s fastest growing cohort. In response to these growing numbers of older adults, UCM developed the Master of Science in Sociology Gerontology in 1977 making it one of the oldest in the Midwest. In 2012, the Social Gerontology certificate program was added specifically for professionals already working in the field of aging.

The program is based on a philosophy of excellence in providing services to older adults wherever they are on the continuum of care. We also believe that aging is an opportunity not a barrier and we strive to provide cutting-edge research and strategies to increase older adults’ quality of life. We seek to equip our students with specific skills and knowledge so they can make immediate positive impact in their current career or use these skills in a new career path.

The degree is suited to both part-time working adults and full-time students. We provide courses on the UCM campus in Warrensburg and also at our satellite campus, Central Summit Center, in Lee’s Summit. Additional coursework is available online.

The overall field of gerontology is multi-disciplinary by nature. Therefore, our interdisciplinary program welcomes students who have completed any undergraduate major. The program consists of 26 required hour of coursework and your choice of six hours of electives. The required courses are drawn from the disciplines of sociology, social work, nursing, and management. Elective courses may be selected from these areas or from other areas including psychology, health education, economics, political science, nutrition, business, accounting, or many others. We help you select those electives that will provide the additional knowledge most relevant to your future career goals.

The Social Gerontology Certificate program is based on the same philosophy but requires only 15 hours of coursework. The certificate program does not allow electives but focused on basic courses in sociology, social work, nursing, and management. It is possible, and encouraged, to complete the MS degree after completing the certificate program.

We also provide a thesis and non-thesis option. If you wish to pursue a career in research or academics the thesis option may be best for you. If you currently are working in the aging field we can develop a non-thesis project as a part of an internship at your current place of employment. If you have no experience in the aging field, the non-thesis internship is strongly recommended. If you intend to pursue a nursing home administrator’s license in the state of Missouri, our degree with an internship in a long-term care setting will meet the eligibility requirements to sit in the state and federal examinations.

Program Description

The Master of Science in Science in Social Gerontology is a 32 hour applied program providing focused training for first-career students and mid-career professionals from diverse backgrounds who wish to earn a practitioner’s degree for work in this growing field.  A second smaller group that may benefit from the program consists of those who have gerontology as a primary academic interest and who intend to continue on in pursuit of a doctoral degree.  Our curriculum is designed to prepare students for careers in a variety of areas including:

  • “One on one” service provision: Working on an individual basis with older adults and their families to determine their individual needs and provide assistance.
  • Program development, implementation and evaluation: Determining the interests and needs of older persons at the community level, designing and implementing programs to meet these needs, and assessing program effectiveness.
  • Management and administration: Planning, facilitating, and/or overseeing the daily operation of facilities, organizations and agencies directed towards the needs of older adults and their families.
  • Business services: Advising business, industry, and labor regarding older workers and consumers.
  • Product and service development: Identifying unmet product and service needs of older persons and their families.
  • Advocacy: Articulating the need of older people and urging the adoption of public or private programs designed to meet these needs.
  • Research: Designing and carrying out research to increase our understanding of the social and behavioral aspects of the aging process.

Dr. Novella Perrin serves as the Social Gerontology Program Coordinator, Martin Hall 236G. If you have any questions about the Social Gerontology program or would like additional information, please email her at perrin@ucmo.edu.