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THE CENTER ON AGING

The Center on Aging is a unit in the Department of Health Services Administration in the University of Maryland College Park School of Public Health.  The primary purpose of the Center on Aging (COA) is to advance knowledge and promote the health and well being persons age 50 and over through basic and applied research, model development and demonstrations, public policy analysis, lifelong learning and education, and public and professional service.

The COA was established in 1974 as an all-university center intended to foster multi-disciplinary research, education, and service activity within and across disciplines at the University of Maryland College Park.  The COA has achieved both national and international recognition as evidenced by strong success in external funding, effective participation in multidisciplinary activities nationally and globally, and demonstrated impact on public policy from work conducted.

Gerontology, the study of the processes associated with aging, is multidisciplinary in nature.  There is an ongoing need to educate practitioners, researchers, educators and the public on the rapidly growing body of knowledge concerning an aging population.

The increase in the number of older Americans continues to outpace the increase in the population as a whole.  In the year 2000, there were about 35 million older persons, representing more than one in eight Americans, and 77 million baby boomers.  By the year 2025, a staggering 62 million Americans will be 65 and over.   Rapid advances in technology and medicine have increased longevity and the potential for active lifestyles while simultaneously creating new challenges in the availability of opportunities for achieving meaningful and sustained engagement by baby boomers and older adults.

GENERAL INFORMATION

The multi-disciplinary Graduate Gerontology Certificate Program (GGCP) is a Board of Regents approved program that addresses the national need to educate professionals to work with the growing population of baby boomers and older persons.  The GGCP offers students an individually tailored curriculum of course work, supervised internships and research.

There are two options for pursuing the Certificate:

  1. Students who have previously earned a master’s or doctoral degree from an accredited institution may enroll in the GGCP to receive the certificate only.   Students enroll as special students in the Graduate School of the University of Maryland College Park.  The level of Certificate earned (master’s or doctoral) corresponds with the level of degree previously earned.
  2. Students who are enrolled in a master’s or doctoral program in the University System of Maryland may participate in the Graduate Gerontology Certificate Program in addition to their degree program.  The level of Certificate earned (master’s or doctoral) corresponds with the level of degree earned.  Participation in the Certificate program typically does not exceed the amount of time necessary to complete a degree since the Certificate courses and requirements are usually compatible with degree requirements.

The Center on Aging, in cooperation with various academic departments, coordinates the Graduate Gerontology Certificate Program for students enrolled in the University System of Maryland:

  • University of Maryland College Park
  • University of Maryland Baltimore County
  • University of Maryland at Baltimore
  • University of Baltimore

Students must register for at least one course on the College Park campus while earning a certificate.

REQUIREMENTS

The total credit hours required are:

18 credit hours for the Master's Level Gerontology Certificate
At least 12 of these credit hours should carry 500 level or higher designation
At least 3 credit hours must be completed on the College Park campus
                       
21 credit hours for the Doctoral Level Gerontology Certificate
At least 15 of these credit hours should carry 500 level or higher designation
At least 3 credit hours must be completed on the College Park campus

Credit hours are obtained by completing the following courses:

  1. Required courses with aging related content  (9 credit hours)
    - Course that includes physical bases of aging  (3 credit hours)
    - Course that includes psychological bases of aging (3 credit hours)
    - Course that includes social bases of aging (3 credit hours)
  2. Elective courses with aging related content  (6 credit hours)
    - Courses with aging content.
    - Courses to which an aging related component may be added by the student in    consultation with the course instructor and the GGCP Coordinator.
  3. Required Internship   (3 credit hours masters; 6 credit hours doctorate. (Internship may be practice and/or research based)

    The primary purpose of the internship is to integrate coursework and theory in an applied practice and/or research project.  It is recommended that students complete the internship experience near the end of the Graduate Gerontology Certificate program or when most of their aging-related coursework is complete. 

    The student is expected to identify and pursue internship opportunities. Opportunities for internship are offered by numerous organizations and agencies in the Washington D.C. area as well as the Department of Health Services Administration and the Center on Aging at the University of Maryland. The student is required to consult with the GGCP Coordinator at least three months prior to beginning the internship to design an internship that meets the student’s career plans.
    - A 3-hour credit course based on a 150-hour experience in an aging related internship
    - An internship work plan
    - An internship final report

Required Research

Students in the Graduate Gerontology Certificate Program are required to undertake research that is oriented toward gerontological topics.  This research is to be conducted as part of the courses taken for the certificate.
Requirements:

Degree and certificate:
Master’s degree: master's thesis on an aging related topic
Doctoral degree: doctoral dissertation on an aging-related topic
           
Certificate only:
Masters level certificate only:  two research-based course papers on aging related topics
Doctoral level certificate only:  two research-based course papers on aging related topics

AWARD OF GRADUATE CERTIFICATE

The Graduate Gerontology Certificate is awarded after all certificate and degree requirements (when applicable) are met.

CONTACTS

Dr. Lori Simon-Rusinowitz
Graduate Director, Health Services Administration
UMD School of Public Health
College Park, MD 20742
lasr@umd.edu