Frequently Asked Questions


Q: Why do so many students want to minor in gerontology?

A: The Gerontology Minor supplements students’ training in their major field. Learning about the aging process better prepares students for the workforce and enhances their career opportunities. It also has intrinsic value, as students become more aware of the needs of the older people in their lives and find opportunities to serve them.

Q: Why is studying gerontology important or useful?

A: Our society is rapidly aging, with an increasing proportion of the population being over the age of 65. This growth of the older population is expected to increase dramatically over the next 20 years. Consequently, there is a growing need for professionals to be trained to work with older people. The likelihood that you will work with older adults is ever increasing.

Q: Can a person from any major apply to participate in the Gerontology Program?

A: Yes. Gerontology is multidisciplinary, meaning that professionals from a variety of disciplines study gerontology and work with older people. There are currently students from 22 different majors pursuing a Minor in Gerontology. There is also a Gerontology Student Club for those looking for opportunities to serve the older adult community.

Q: How do I apply for a Gerontology Minor?

A: Please visit your College Advisement Center to declare the minor. Once you have added the Gerontology Minor, our secretary will contact you by email with important information regarding the minor.

Q: What if I need to take a course that isn't on the Gerontology Minor course list?

A: You may request a course substitution. To do this, email your request to us at Include the course number, course description, and what you would like to substitute it for.

Q: Can I use a previous internship or research experience for the Gerontology requirement?

A: You may use a previous experience for the Gerontology requirement if you were working with older adults and you were enrolled in a qualified internship or research course at the time of the experience. Please email us to see if your experience meets the specifications.

Q: Why do I get emails from the Gerontology Program?

A: Students contribute to the program and benefit from new scholarship, internship, research, and work opportunities that the Gerontology Program is apprised of regularly. Contact and update the Gerontology office if you change your email address so that the assistant may be able to keep in contact if the department has any questions. This communication is beneficial to the students and the program so that both parties are informed, and the program is able to help the students complete their undergraduate program.

Q: What is expected in regards to the internship requirements?

A: If you choose to complete an internship, a three-credit internship that focuses on working with older populations and the older aging processes will be required. Internships with students working primarily with children, adolescents, young adults, or young families do not meet these requirements. A 3.0 credit internship implies at least 126 hours of work in the field. Email us to have your internship approved for the minor.

You should also speak with the Internship Coordinator for your major, who will work with you in arranging a suitable internship within your major. If your major doesn’t have an internship program, arrangements will be made to do an internship through the School of Family Life Internship Office or Student Development.

Q: Can I take an internship/research course that isn't on the course list?

A: Absolutely. If the course your department recommends for you is not on our pre-approved course list, you may request a course substitution. Email us with the course number and description of the research project.

Q: How can I find research opportunities?

A: There are a couple of great ways in which we can help you find a research opportunity that is right for you and will fulfill the Gerontology Minor requirements. Start with the Research page on our website. There, you will find a list of research projects the program is currently funding. You may contact the professors working on these projects to see about joining their research team. Next, you can check out the Faculty page on the website, where gerontology professors are listed by major. You'll be able to see which professors in your department/college do gerontology-related research, and what their specific interests are. Contact some of these professors to see if they are currently doing gerontology research and if you can join their research team.

Q: What should I do if one of my Gerontology courses isn't showing up on my Progress Report?

A: Please email us with the course that should be listed under the Gerontology Minor on your Progress Report and we will have it substituted for another course option.