Master of Arts Program

Program Requirements

A Master of Arts Degree in Gerontology includes 36 credit hours which can be completed in four semesters of course work. Students are required to complete a 15- credit core of Gerontology courses, and then elect an additional 21 credit hours, which may be selected from coursework, internships, directed readings, or directed research. While in most cases these credits must be selected from other graduate courses in gerontology, students may take up 6 hours of courses outside Gerontology, with permission from their advisor.

Required Courses:

While this program offers flexibility in the choice of courses, the student is also cautioned that certain course sequences are advisable depending on future educational and professional goals. The following courses are recommended for students with interests in further education, administration, clinical services, or case management.

Further Educational/Research Goals

Administrative Goals

•GEY 6325 Social Policy and Planning for Gerontologists (3)
•GEY 6626 Health, Ethnicity, and Aging (3)
•GEY 6500 Seminar in Principles of Administration (3)
•GEY 6647 Ethical and Legal Issues in Aging (3)
•GEY 4327 Understanding Principles and Practices in Long Term Care (3)
•GEY 4328 Health Care Operations (3)

Clinical Service Goals

•GEY 6607 Alzheimer's Disease Management (3)
•GEY 6614 Aging and Mental Disorders (3)
•GEY 6615 Topics in Psychopathology and Aging (3)
•GEY 6616 Mental Health Assessment of Older Adults (3)
•GEY 6617 Gerontological Counseling Theories & Practice(3)
•GEY 6618 Gerontological Group & Family Counseling II (3)

Case Management

•GEY 6206 Family Caregiving in Aging and Chronic Illness (3)
•GEY 6614 Aging and Mental Disorders (3)
•GEY 6616 Mental Health Assessment of Older Adults (3)
•GEY 6617 Gerontological Counseling Theories & Practice(3)
•GEY 6321 Gerontological Case Management (3)
•GEY 6326 Geriatric Interdisciplinary Team Treatment (3)

Internships are available for students who need practical experience in the field of aging. Following completion of the required 15-credit coursework, there is a comprehensive examination designed to test the student's knowledge of, and ability to integrate, key concepts and information in the field of gerontology. This examination must be taken and passed by all students in the M.A. program. Students electing the thesis option must successfully pass an oral examination on the thesis. There are no language requirements.

Electives

GEY 4327 Understanding Principles and Practices in Long Term Care (3)
GEY 4328 Health Care Operations (3)
GEY 4329 Regulation and Clinical Operations (3)
GEY 5642 Perspectives on Death and Dying (3)
GEY 6206 Family Caregiving in Aging and Chronic Illness (3)
GEY 6325 Social Policy and Planning for Gerontologists (3)
GEY 6326 Geriatric Interdisciplinary Team Treatment (3)
GEY 6402 Statistical and Qualitative Methods in Aging Research (3)
GEY 6500 Seminar in Principles of Administration (3)
GEY 6607 Alzheimer's Disease Management (3)
GEY 6614 Aging and Mental Disorders(3)
GEY 6616 Mental Health Assessment of Older Adults (3)
GEY 6617 Gerontological Counseling Theories & Practice (3)
GEY 6618 Gerontological Group & Family Counseling (3)
GEY 6626 Health, Ethnicity, and Aging (3)
GEY 6647 Ethical and Legal Issues in Aging (3)
GEY 6901 Directed Reading in Gerontology (3)
GEY 6910 Directed Research in Gerontology (3)
GEY 6940 Field Placement (1-6)
GEY 6941 Field Placement in Mental Health(1-6)
GEY 6971 Thesis: Master's (2-19)

Thesis Option

Students may choose to complete a thesis research project as part of their M.A. program in Gerontology. Normally the thesis option is selected by students who have the goal of continuing their education beyond the M.A. or plan to pursue a research career. Students working toward a thesis degree will have the benefit of a committee of members of the graduate faculty. Students will select a research mentor from among the graduate faculty, and will work with their mentor to identify at least two other members of the faculty who will contribute to the student's research project. These faculty will be appointed as the student's thesis committee by the Graduate Program Director, and must be approved by the Graduate School.

The Thesis Committee will approve the course of study and research plan for the student and will read and approve the thesis for content and format. The Committee will also conduct an oral examination of the student on the thesis project. The oral examination is a public presentation and examination of the student's project, and is the culmination of a student's work on his or her thesis.

Comprehensive Examination

Prior to receiving the M.A. degree, all students must pass the comprehensive examination in Gerontology. Students must be enrolled for a minimum of 2 hours of graduate credit during the semester when the comprehensive examination is taken. It is strongly recommended that students take the comprehensive exam during the semester after completing the last core course.

Comprehensive examinations provide an opportunity for the School of Aging Studies to assess students' knowledge about fundamental, important issues in the field of gerontology. The ability to communicate this core knowledge through written and/or oral forms is an important characteristic of individuals who will be working in gerontological settings. The procedure for the comprehensive exam is as follows:

  1. Examinations will be given twice per year during the Fall and Spring semester. Students will have the opportunity to take the comprehensive examination during any semester they choose, but it is recommended that the exam be taken after the completion of all of the five required core courses (GEY 5620, 5630, 6600, 6613, 6450). If students choose to take the exam before completing the core courses, they will still be responsible for material from the courses.
  2. The School of Aging Studies will appoint a Comprehensive Examination Committee, consisting of at least three faculty members. This faculty will be responsible for designing the examination, administration of the exam, scoring, and communications with students. Other faculty members, including adjuncts, will also be involved in writing and grading the examinations, at the discretion of the Committee.
  3. The examination will consist of five essay questions, which will include a question drawn from each of the five courses required in the gerontology core curriculum. Items will draw on essential content in the core areas. The Comprehensive Examination Committee may use its own discretion in determining the format of the examination.
  4. The examination answers will be graded on a scale of Excellent, Pass, or Fail. Each question will be graded by a single faculty member with expertise in the question's content. Grades should reflect the degree to which the essay answer reflects the level of knowledge expected of an individual with a graduate degree in gerontology, and the clarity in communication expected of an individual with a Master's degree.
  5. A student receiving at least a Pass on all five items, and with two or more grades of Excellent, will be considered to have "Passed with distinction."
  6. A student passing all items or all but one item will be considered to have "Passed." If a single item is failed, the student will be counseled by the Comprehensive Examination Committee and may be required to undertake remedial work to improve his/her knowledge in the area.
  7. A student who receives two or more grades of Fail will be considered to have "Failed." If the student has failed two questions, he or she will then be scheduled for a new examination on failed items. The new examination will be administered by the Committee, and after completion of the new examination the Committee may by majority vote change the scoring of one or more items to a "Pass", if the student has shown appropriate knowledge during the new examination. If the student has still failed two or more items after the new examination, he or she has "Failed " the Comprehensive Exam. If the student has failed three or more questions on the original Comprehensive Exam, there will not be an option of taking a new exam during that semester.
  8. If the student fails the Comprehensive Exam, he or she must retake the examination the next time it is offered. The student will not be allowed to defend a Master's thesis until passing the Comprehensive Exam. Failure of the Comprehensive Examination on two occasions will result in academic dismissal from the graduate program.
  9. The student will be informed of the final outcome of the Comprehensive Examination (Pass with Distinction, Pass, or Fail) by a letter from the Chair of the Committee. A copy of this letter will also be placed in the student's file, to allow documentation necessary for graduation.

Academic Probation

Masters students must maintain an academic average of 3.0 to remain in good standing in the graduate program. Students with academic averages that fall below 3.0 will be placed on academic probation. These students have one semester to bring their academic average to 3.0 or better. Students failing to raise their academic averages to 3.0 of better will be terminated from the program.