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The Master of Arts in Gerontology is a multi-disciplinary program designed to provide both breadth and depth in the study of aging. By design, the program is part-time with courses offered in the evening or on Saturday. Most students find that taking one class per term and extending their program over four or five years allows them to best balance work, family and studies. It is, however, possible for a student to complete the program in three to four years by enrolling in two courses per semester after completing PSYC 401, and by completing their internship and thesis while continuing to take classes.

Components of the Program

The 36 credit program consists of three parts which, taken together, prepare students to assume positions of responsibility in direct service, administration, social policy, or research:

  • The classroom component consists of seven required courses (21 credits) and from two to four electives. It provides students with a both a broad coverage of the essential aspects of gerontology and the opportunity to pursue an area of specialization.
  • The experiential component consists of a 120 clock hour internship required of all students. An additional 120 clock hour practicum is required of students who enter the program with no previous experience in gerontology. This part of the program gives students the opportunity to gain working knowledge of an area of gerontology with which they may not have had experience.
  • The thesis component is done by the student under the guidance of a faculty member. In this component, the last step in the program, students use and integrate all they have learned to create an original document, usually one with immediate usefulness in the field.

The Gerontology Students

One group of students in the Gerontology Program are those currently employed as direct service providers, or as administrators in agencies or organizations providing services or advocacy for older adults. They come from such fields as health care and social. A second group is those professionals whose work is not specifically connected to serving the elderly but who are finding that their target population is changing. They include not only health and social service providers but also architects, administrators, librarians, teachers, and writers. Yet a third group are those who have had little or no previous work with the elderly outside their own families. They come with bachelor's, master's, or even doctoral degrees in diverse disciplines and fields and a desire to add a gerontological dimension to their learning.

Students in the program have ranged in age from 22 to 75, with the majority being between 36 and 55. Many have been away from formal study for more than 20 years while others are recent graduates. Students have stated that they believe the wide age range of their classmates has had a very positive impact on their learning experience. Some students plan to continue their academic career after they have completed the M.A. in Gerontology either by completing a second master’s degree in a complementary field or by entering a doctoral program in Gerontology . Others seek to use what they learn in this program to increase their efficacy in either their present field or in a second career. Still others are retirees who desire to become volunteer or paid peer service providers and advocates for the elderly. Some are individuals with no immediate vocational goal that see themselves as lifelong learners and are interested in pursuing the study of aging.

Class Location and Times

All of our classes are held on the Northeastern Illinois University Main Campus at 5500 St. Louis Avenue, Chicago, Ill., 60625. Classes meet either once a week in the evening (7:05 to 9:45 p.m.) or on Saturday morning and are held in Bernard Brommel Hall on the Main Campus.

Tuition and Fees

Tuition and fees for graduate students are published every term in the Schedule of Classes. The cost of books varies by course but usually runs around $100 a course. Parking on campus is available by permit.

Procedure for Admission

We welcome professionals in the field and others who have a bachelor's degree. Individuals interested in applying to the M.A. in Gerontology Program need to call the Graduate College and ask for an Application Packet. Final dates for completed applications are in June for Fall admission and October for Spring admission.

Prospective students who would like to take a graduate course to see whether this program would fit their educational needs before applying may enroll as a "student at large." To enter as a "student at large" call the NEIU Admissions Office and request an application form. Deadlines for admission as a student at large are: April 1 for summer term, July 1 for fall term, and November 1 for spring term. Individuals may take up to three gerontology courses as a student at large. These courses will apply directly to the M.A. in Gerontology degree.


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