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Introduction 

From 2012 to 2015, the number of people aged 65 and older rose by 55 million globally, and this aging population trend will steadily grow through at least the year 2050 (The Aging World: 2015 by the U.S. Census Bureau, 2016). Northeastern’s 18 credit hour minor in Gerontology program is designed to give undergraduates an introductory knowledge of aging issues from different perspectives and across more than one discipline.

Faculty

Faculty represent a wide-range of specializations and research interests. Faculty from the psychology department and other undergraduate programs across campus contribute to the training of the gerontology minor students.

Program Benefits 

In comparison to other minor programs, the minor in Gerontology offers “real world” undergraduate training within a growing field for entry-level career opportunities. Training in the gerontology minor is in direct response to the increasing need for undergraduates to have some knowledge in aging issues as they assume various entry-level positions in the helping professions or aging-related service industries. This minor is equally beneficial for students engaging in ongoing eldercare responsibilities within a family or other care context. The tuition cost for the minor is comparatively low among comparable gerontology minor programs in the Chicago area.

The gerontology minor would be complementary in training with majors in social work, psychology, sociology, education, and business (among other helping and applied disciplines).

The gerontology minor is designed to graduate undergraduates who have an introductory knowledge of aging concepts. This is accomplished in the following ways:

  • Students learn how to write academic papers and critically analyze research.
  • Students complete 120 hours of entry level on-site internship training in a well-established, aging-related organization.
  • Students are able to tailor the minor’s focus through the selection of an interdisciplinary elective (e.g., sociology of aging) with the coordinator’s approval.  A second elective is needed if the PSYC 202 course is waived for Psychology majors.

Knowledge and Skills

Upon completion of the minor, students acquire a knowledge of:

  • current research findings regarding aging trends and issues,
  • available library resources to conduct research on an aging topic,
  • different theories of human development,
  • "real world" issues of aging-related population trends and associated social needs within communities,
  • ethical issues in working with aging adults (e.g., care ethics), and
  • multidisciplinary perspectives on aging processes and outcomes.

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

  • conduct searches for scholarly articles and books using research databases (e.g., PsycInfo),
  • write a research paper incorporating both proper grammar and sixth edition APA style formatting,
  • critically analyze concepts and theories presented in coursework,
  • accomplish professional activities through an internship on-site training experience in an aging-related  organization, and
  • present learning in the classroom (e.g., a PowerPoint presentation).

… among other learning outcomes.

Career Options 

A student who completes the gerontology minor may find employment in entry-level positions (some additional professional training may be needed) in a/an:

  • senior center
  • adult daycare center
  • community center
  • public housing site working with older residents
  • retirement community
  • aging agency
  • long-term care facility

Please check out the following websites for more information on careers in gerontology: www.aghe.org, www.agework.com, www.geron.org.

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

Academic Catalog Information 

Take a closer look at the minor in Gerontology and the courses offered toward the program.

Gerontology, Minor

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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