Gerontology Minor

Gerontology - The Growing Need

The United States, like most developed nations, is currently experiencing a population change new to civilization. The population is aging. About one out of every nine U.S. citizens is 65 years of age or over, and about one out of eight Pennsylvanians is 65 or over. Current estimates are that both the number and percentage of elderly people will continue to rise for many years. There is a growing need for persons educated to understand the nature and needs of human aging.

Gerontology, the study of human aging and problems of the elderly, is a relatively new and developing field, and not all service systems have yet incorporated gerontology degrees into criteria for employment positions. However, feedback from today's students and employers in a wide variety of fields is that degrees or course work in gerontology can positively influence employability. There seems to be little doubt that with the predicted increases in both the number and the percentage of older persons in the population, some gerontology course work will be a valuable part of any professional resume.

Gerontology Minor OVerview

Millersville University has an interdisciplinary minor Gerontology. The program's objectives include increasing knowledge, examining values, and improving skills to help prepare students to live as and with aging people and to prepare them for a career in helping the elderly. The program also is designed to improve the understanding and competence of students already working within this specialized area.

The Gerontology student must complete 18 semester hours.

Required Courses

Students pursuing the minor in gerontology are required to take the following courses (15.0 credits):

  • Gerontology 100: Introduction to Gerontology
  • Social Work 315: Grief and Bereavement
  • Social Work 306: Social Work and Aging
  • Social Work 307: Social Work and Healthcare
  • Sociology 210: Sociology of the Family

Gerontology minors also must take one elective course from the following list (3.0 credits):

  • Nursing 316: Women, Health, and Health Care
  • Nursing 350: Pathways to Healthy Aging
  • Psychology 229: The Adult Years
  • Philosophy 280: Philosophy of Death and Dying
  • WSSD 395: Leisure Activities for the Aged

Other courses approved by the Gerontology Minor Coordinator may also be used as an elective.

Interested in the Gerontology Minor? Please contact:

Dr. Joyous Bethel
Gerontology Minor Coordinator
717-871-5927 or email