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Program Description

The Master of Arts in Gerontology was developed from the perspective that human beings require meaning and purpose in order to experience life with a sense of well-being as they grow older. The human experience of meaning is experienced in a multiplicity of ways. In each of the six core courses within this curriculum, we explore how meaning is promoted or impeded through the lens of our individual selves and our societal selves. Meaning is socially constructed and reflected in psychological theories and social policies. Our students will develop their critical thinking skills to observe ageist practices and beliefs in our current culturally diverse climate. In addition to this competency, students will acquire leadership skills through experiential activities that will be embedded in each of the core courses. Leadership skills will be based on critical analyses of the policies and programs that affect older adults and the institutions that serve them, as well as analyses of societal structures that create connections for older adults to serve others. Students will then be able to identify and formulate effective means of creating change in these areas. Projects in each of the core courses, immersion in the student's chosen specialty track, culminating in the Capstone Project will provide students with opportunities to apply and test their new knowledge in real world settings.

Our program is designed to prepare future leaders in the field of aging. Gerontology is the study of growing older. Our emphasis is on growing knowledge and skills, while challenging attitudes about aging that limit the potential of older lives in the 21 st century. Traditional Fields are expanding related to the Health Care, Human Services, and Social Services Field.

  • Nursing homes
  • Long term care facilities
  • Continuing care communities
  • Home health care
  • Human service agencies
  • Retirement communities
  • Senior centers
  • Lifelong learning programs
  • Community-based health care
  • Social service agencies
  • Hospitals
  • Mental health and family agencies
  • Pastoral care
  • Public Health

Emerging fields are expanding related to the growing numbers of older adults, beginning with the baby boomers, who are active, healthy, and living longer lives.

  • Health and Wellness
  • Travel and Leisure
  • Culture and the Arts
  • Education
  • Volunteer management
  • Senior housing communities
  • Fitness
  • Community engagement/activism
  • Social entrepreneurship
  • Intergenerational programming
  • Retirement planning (non-financial)
  • Care giving and care receiving

Careers in Gerontology

There are many careers within industries that specifically serve older adults or industries where older adults are a portion of a targeted population, I.e. Travel and leisure and hospitality, where growing number of baby boomers are beginning to get attention. Conventional career opportunities occur within all aspects of the health care industry, from hospitals, to long term care institutions aka nursing homes, and hospice. There are many opportunities in senior housing, which includes assisted living housing, as well as retirement communities for the "active adult". Lifelong learning and adult education, higher education, as well as senior centers or community centers, are other areas in which someone with expertise in gerontology would be an asset. In addition, the human services industry also serves older adults, their families, older adults with disabilities, etc.

Job titles could be: Director, associate or assistant director, manager, project manager, program manager, program coordinator, activity director, sales manager, coordinator, volunteer coordinator, etc. The Master's degree would allow someone to step into a leadership role in any industry in which older adults (55+) are customers or consumers.

Program Format

The master's program is offered entirely online. The online format allows for students to participate in courses from anywhere in the world where Internet access is available. In addition, it allows for the flexibility of completing your master's degree without interrupting your career.

Master's students are provided NSU computer accounts including email and Blackboard, but must obtain their own Internet service providers, use their own computer systems and have a usable web camera. Online students use the web to access course materials, announcements, email, distance library services, subscription library databases, and other information, and for interaction with faculty and fellow students. Online, interactive learning methods are based on the use of Blackboard as a course management system. Online activities facilitate frequent student-to-faculty and student-to-student interaction. They are supported by threaded discussion boards, white boards, chat rooms, email, and multimedia presentations. In addition, Blackboard enables students to submit assignments online in multimedia formats and to receive their professors' reviews of assignments online in the same formats.

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