Bulletin--Gerontology Pgm. Info.


College of Health and Human Services
Dean: Gail Whitaker (Interim)

Gerontology Program
20 Tapia
Director: Anabel Pelham

Graduate Coordinator: Anabel Pelham

Professors—Dopp, Hess, Lane, Loewy, Pelham, Schmidt, Seiden, Thalheimer, Yee

Associate Professor—Schafer

Assistant Professor—Glugoski

Minor in Gerontology

M.A. in Gerontology

Program Scope

The Master of Arts in Gerontology is an interdisciplinary program for students interested in preparing for a professional career in the field of aging, or for those already employed in this or a related human service field who need to improve their knowledge and skills. The course of study leading to this M.A. is designed: to emphasize the broad, interdisciplinary nature of the issues which relate to and influence older adults; to provide students with the academic background, experience, and research capabilities necessary to pursue advanced study at the Ph.D. level; and to prepare students for leadership positions in the public and private sector where gerontological knowledge is required.

History and Philosophy
The Master of Arts in Gerontology is an applied professional program. The program is dedicated to: the higher education of professionals using an interdisciplinary approach to serve the present and future needs of society in meeting the multiple challenges of an aging population; the conduct of applied research to increase the body of knowledge about the issues and processes of aging; and, the application of the discipline of gerontology in the urban community for the purposes of solving community problems and promoting the quality of life of the aged. The academic program carefully follows the criteria and guidelines of the Association for Gerontology in Higher Eduation (AGHE).

Career Outlook

A Master of Arts in Gerontology prepares the student seeking a terminal degree for effective performance in a career of service to older Americans. It also lays a firm academic foundation in social gerontology for students who choose to work toward a Ph.D. degree. The Institute on Gerontology serves the program and research development mission of the Gerontology Program and houses various development, research, and training projects. The institute itself is a free-standing academic auxiliary unit of the university and part of the San Francisco State University Foundation. The institute enjoys joint-ventures with Mills-Peninsula Hospitals/Senior Focus Center (which offers a geriatric setting); Northern California Presbyterian Homes (which offers seven sites for long-term care activities); and the Veterans Home of California (which represents a rural campus community with five levels of care). Students are encouraged to take full advantage of the clinical, direct service and research opportunities offered by these joint-ventures.


The Minor in Gerontology has a gerontology core and a multidiscipliary selection of electives. It is designed to provide a program of study in introductory gerontology and introductory human services and fieldwork. The Minor in Gerontology can be well integrated into most undergraduate majors and provides a focus for students who wish to pursue an educational path toward helping professions and community service. It offers the only undergraduate gerontology course work at the university, and other departments use minor courses to satisfy their program requirements. The internship course in the minor routinely places students in supervised fieldwork settings in the Greater Bay Area. It is the centerpiece of a GE Segment III cluster. It serves to satisfy three of the prerequisites of the Master of Arts in Gerontology.

GRN 500		Gerontology: An Interdisci-
		plinary Perspective		  3
BIOL 331	Physiology of Aging		  3
PSY 630		Psychology of Aging or
	SOC 630		Sociology of Aging	  4
GRN 638		Gerontology Field Work Seminar	  2
GRN 639		Gerontology Field Work		1-3
Elective courses with a particular focus, theme, 
or set of skills with approval of gerontology 
adviser						6-8
		Total				 21


Graduate Advisers: Pelham, Schafer

The Master of Arts in Gerontology consists of thirty units, twenty of which are required core courses (GRN prefix) and at least ten of which are multidisciplinary electives (some electives can be taken in gerontology as variant topic courses (GRN 775). The required fieldwork activity practicum consists of placement in the community for three units and a concomitant two unit seminar for a total of 5 units. The required thesis/field study option is offered for three units. This usually translates into a two-year academic program. The Master of Arts in Gerontology emphasizes applied research in gerontology. While elements of good study design and research methodology are common to both basic and applied research, students are also specifically prepared to identify practical issues from which researchable questions may be derived. Numerous agencies collaborate with the graduate program in offering internships in direct service, management and administration, research, program development and evaluation, and clinical settings.

Admission to the Program
Students will be expected to meet the following criteria:
Written English Proficiency Requirement
Level One: meet the writing requirements in GRN 705. Level Two: indicate the ability to write in a scholarly manner in the discipline by satisfactorily completing either GRN 895 or GRN 898.

Advancement to Candidacy
Courses for this discipline are listed in alphabetical sequence (see Gerontology discipline in the Announcement of Courses section).

Program						Units
GRN 705	Gerontology: An Interdisciplinary 
	Synthesis				 3
GRN 710	Aging Processes				 3
GRN 715	Aging and Social Intervention		 3
GRN 760	Research Methods in Gerontology		 3
GRN 838	Gerontology Internship Seminar		 2
GRN 839	Gerontology Internship			 3
Electives					10
	Students develop, in consultation with 
	their gerontology advisers, a focused 
	selection of electives meeting their 
	particular needs. No more than two 
	courses from any department should be 
One of the following:				 3
	GRN 895	Field Study
	GRN 898	Master's Thesis
		Minimum total			30
Students develop, in consultation with an adviser, a focused selection of electives which might include one of the following areas of emphasis:

Long-Term Care Administration: Long-term care is the fastest growing segment of the health care industry. Financing, policy, programming, and regulatory issues in the field of long-term care administration require intensive study as they relate to the aging population. The academic emphasis is designed to upgrade and expand the knowledge and skills of students interested in long-term care administration and prepare them to be licensed.

Multicultural Aging/Ethnogerontology: The San Francisco Bay Area offers a natural laboratory for focusing on multicultural aging in topical areas such as: delivery of community services to diverse populations, family caregiving in various cultural contexts, the impact of cultural diversity on long-term care and institutionalized populations; and social policy impacts on multiple cultures of the aged. The program offers course work in ethnogerontology and internships in a variety of agencies serving the diverse elder populations in the Bay Area.

Healthy Aging/Geriatrics: The Master of Arts in Gerontology is unique in that there is an interdisciplinary emphasis on healthy aging. The focus is upon health promotion and disease prevention with a proactive role for the older adult consumer. Students may explore internship and research opportunities in community-based long term care, assisted living facilities, continuing care retirement communities, geriatric day health care, model skilled nursing facilities, and geriatric medicine settings.

Project or Thesis
After initiating a field study (GRN 895) or master's thesis (GRN 898), graduate students must enroll each semester in GRN 897, Gerontology Research, until the project is completed. See course description for details. The department requires that students maintain continuous enrollment until graduation.

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last modified June 13, 1995

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