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Introduction 

From 2025 to 2050, the global aging population will double in number and reach 1.6 billion (An Aging World: 2015 report by the U.S. Census Bureau (2016)). There will be a need for well-trained professionals to address the needs of this growing segment of the population on a local, national, and/or global level. Northeastern’s Gerontology program offers master’s degree training addressing both current and projected occupational knowledge and skill requirements within the field of gerontology. The M.A. in Gerontology program is an award-winning academic program, recognized as a program of excellence by both the Association for Gerontology in Higher Education and the American Psychological Association professional societies in 2014.

Faculty

The faculty of the M.A. in Gerontology program represent diverse academic backgrounds and interests related to lifespan developmental psychology and other areas of expertise (e.g., clinical related topics in later life). To do the broad diversity of the available faculty who teach for the program, both in the psychology department and other graduate programs across campus, the focus of the training in the gerontology program at the master's degree level is interdisciplinary in nature. This breadth of training reflects the goal of the M.A. in Gerontology program to graduate "well-rounded" and well-trained professionals in the field of aging.

Program Benefits 

The M.A. in Gerontology program, in comparison to other gerontology master’s degree programs in the Chicago area, offers the most extensive training while still being the most cost-effective tuition option for students. The M.A. in Gerontology program produces a well-trained graduate who is prepared to effectively address the needs of an aging population. This is accomplished in the following ways:

  • Part of this intensive training process relates to students having two opportunities for career related on-site training through both a practicum and internship within a well-established, age-related site experiences.
  • Coursework reinforces a strong research model for students, from a solid grounding in human developmental theories to the extension of their own research interests in writing papers and eventual thesis proposal.
  • In addition to learning course content, students are taught important skills of good academic writing and critical analysis in reading and writing.
  • The program has flexible course offerings. Both core and elective courses are offered during the evening and on Saturdays, and many of the elective courses are now fully online.
  • Program faculty engage in ongoing mentoring of students from their entry into the gerontology program to even after they graduate, assisting them with career opportunities and further professional development such as conference presentations and publications.

Knowledge and Skills

Upon completion of the training, students gain a knowledge of:

  • both classic theories of human development (foundational) and "state-of-the-art" research content and processes within specialty areas of aging,
  • "real world" aging-related legislation, policies, and service related issues affecting the lives of older adults within communities;
  • available library resources to conduct scholarly research,
  • how to conduct a research study in a theoretically-based, valid, and ethical manner;
  • ethical issues in working with an aging population (e.g., care ethics), and
  • multidisciplinary perspectives of what it means to "age" in many different contexts and cultures across the world.

By the end of the program, students learn skills in how to:

  • conduct effective scholarly article searches using research search databases (e.g., PsycInfo research database),
  • accurately read and interpret research within the field,
  • synthesize research to summarize in a literature review,
  • write a research paper based on scholarly articles and incorporating both proper grammar and sixth edition APA style formatting,
  • critically analyze concepts and theories presented in coursework and related research activities,
  • accomplish professional activities through on-site training experiences with aging organizations, and
  • present topics and research in various presentation formats in the classroom or at a conference (e.g., a PowerPoint presentation).

...among other learning outcomes.

Career Options 

The gerontology faculty members fully support our students in training for careers in the aging field. Please check out information on various careers in the field at the following professional societies in aging: www.aghe.org, www.agework.com, www.geron.org.

The following are example careers in gerontology from the Association for Gerontology in Higher Education’s “Exploring Careers in Aging” website (some additional professional training may be needed):

  • Aging Services Administrator        
  • Human Resources                
  • Information & Referral Specialist
  • Volunteer Management
  • Financial and Legal Services
  • Career Planning
  • Certified Financial Planner        
  • Conservator
  • Elder Law
  • Fiduciary Gerontologist
  • Fraud Prevention
  • Senior Real Estate Specialist
  • Nutrition Counseling
  • Physical/Recreational Therapy
  • Art Therapy               
  • Adult Day Care                      
  • Adult Foster Home/RCF       
  • Assisted Living                
  • Housing and Home Modification (to support Independent Living)
  • Aging-in-Place-Specialist                           
  • Home Safety Auditor
  • Intergenerational Activities
  • Intergenerational Childcare
  • Advocacy                          
  • Corporate Gerontologist                 
  • Personal Care and Services
  • Communal Living Coordinator
  • Elder Dating Service
  • Pet Therapy
  • Employee Assistance Program-EAP
  • Ergonomics Assessment
  • Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor

For more detailed career information, visit the U.S. Department of Labor Occupational Outlook Handbook.

Academic Catalog Information 

Take a closer look at the master's degree in Gerontology and the courses offered toward the degree.

Gerontology, M.A.
 

Department and Contact Information 

If you are interested in the program or have questions, please contact Gerontology at (773) 442-5840. 

Feel free to contact the program coordinator, Lisa Hollis-Sawyer, l-hollissawyer@neiu.edu, for more information.

Gerontology Department Homepage

About Northeastern 

Northeastern Illinois University is home to more than 10,000 students from all corners of the world and is one of the most ethnically diverse universities in the nation. Our small class sizes, flexible schedules and dedicated faculty can help you succeed in your studies.

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