The Graduate Certificate in Gerontology is offered through College’s Institute of Gerontology and can be pursued in several ways:

  • Individuals seeking post-graduate professional and continuing education in aging
  • As part of your master’s or doctoral degree studies
  • By undergraduate students enrolled in the Honors Program

The Certificate prepares you to address our aging society where you live and work. Courses are taught by faculty across campus and cover the public health, social, psychological, and biological aspects of aging.

Students are presented with a comprehensive theoretical overview of the field of gerontology. The interdisciplinary and integrative nature of gerontology is emphasized. In addition to a broad, interdisciplinary perspective, students are required to acquire a basic foundation in the psychology, biology/physiology, and sociology of aging.

There are opportunities for students to have practical or hands-on experiences with older adults in the form of community service or course practica. Students complete either a research project or field work placement practicum focused on some aspect of gerontology. Students are exposed to gerontological research techniques and methodologies, permitting them to develop their own analytic and evaluative skills. Students supplement their own disciplinary academic expertise with gerontological content and methods to advance their aging research and practice.

More Information

How to Apply

Applying for admission to the Graduate Certificate in Gerontology Program is a two-step process:

  1. If you are not currently an enrolled as UGA graduate student, you must complete the UGA Graduate School’s online application.
  2. All applicants must complete the application for admission to the Certificate Program. Upon receipt of the application, the Graduate Coordinator will notify the student of receipt of their application and invite the student to meet and discuss the proposed program of study.

Application process for Undergraduate in Honors Program. Undergraduate students in the Honors Program may also apply and should contact the Graduate Coordinator. The Graduate Coordinator of the Institute of Gerontology will provide advice to interested students on the necessary steps to secure admission.

Application process for non-degree student.  Early career, middle-aged and older adults enroll in the Certificate of Gerontology program for a variety of reasons. Some want to gain additional expertise as part of their ongoing professional development. Others seek to broaden their knowledge as part of life-long learning.  Anyone who has completed a bachelor level degree can matriculate through the Certificate of Gerontology program as a non-degree seeking student. You must first be admitted to the UGA Graduate School before officially applying for admission to the Certificate of Gerontology program.

Need more information? Students are also welcome to contact the Institute to discuss the program and their interests before deciding to apply. Email:


Students will complete a total of six graduate level courses, 18 semester hours, to meet the requirements of the Certificate Program. A typical 3 credit course meets about 3 hours per week for 15 weeks. Courses are offered on the UGA campus in Athens during the day,  evening, or online. The Institute will soon offer five gerontology courses online.

All students must complete the introductory gerontology course, GRNT 6000 or GRNT 6000e: Perspectives on Aging (3 hours). One 3-hour course is chosen from each of the three clusters outlined here. An additional three hours must meet a research/practicum requirement. The remaining three hours may be chosen from the list of elective courses.

During the first semester of enrollment, students are asked to complete the Registrar’s form which enrolls them in the Certificate program through UGA’s Athena system and ensures the Certificate appears on their transcript.

Upon completing all of the requirements for the Gerontology Certificate, the student should turn in the form to request certificate and submit it to the Graduate Coordinator. The Institute of Gerontology will obtain a copy of the student’s transcript from the Registrar’s Office to verify that the required program of study has been completed. An exit interview is also requested.

Required Courses (18 Hours)

GRNT 6000 – Perspectives on Aging (3 hr)
All students are required to complete GRNT 6000 or GRNT 6000e. Ideally, this course should be completed at the beginning of the program of study. The purpose of this course is to provide students with an overview of gerontology. Students are exposed to a wide range of ways that aging may be studied. The various contents included in this course should be helpful in deciding what Certificate courses are most relevant to a student’s individualized plan of study. No alternatives can be used to fulfill this requirement.

All students are required to complete at least one course from each of these three clusters of courses listed below:  POD = Permission of Department

Biology/Physiology Cluster (3 hr)

  • GRNT 8200 or GRNT 8200e – Public Health and Aging
  • GRNT/EPID 8300 –  Epidemiology of Aging
  • FDNS 6560 or FDNS 6560e – Nutrition, Health, and Aging
  • KINS 6320 –  Exercise and Aging

Psychology Cluster (3 hr)

  • GRNT 6750 or GRNT 6750e – Mental Health and Aging
  • ECHD 8380 – Optimal Experience, Adaptation, and Aging

Sociology cluster (3 hr)

  • GRNT 6650 or GRNT 6650e – Aging in Society
  • CHFD/HACE 6500 – Aging and the Family

Students can take on Elective Course (3 hr) from any of the foundational areas below or other course not already taken from the cluster:

Adult Education

  • EADU 6070 –  Survey of Educational Gerontology


  • EPID 8300/GRNT 8300 –  Epidemiology of Aging
  • EPID 8400/GRNT 8400 – Chronic Disease Epidemiology
  • EPID 8410 – Cancer Epidemiology


  • GRNT 6390 – Service Learning with the Elderly
  • GRNT 7266 –  Death, Dying, and Bereavement
  • GRNT 8000 – Advanced Topics in Gerontological Research and Theory (Prerequisite: POD)
  • GRNT 8010 – Advanced Topics in Gerontology Practice (Prerequisite: POD)

Health Promotion and Behavior

  • HPRB 7600 – Public Health Physical Activity Interventions

Housing and Consumer Economics

  • HACE 6810 – Housing for Older Adults
  • HPRB 7170 – Aging and Health
  • HACE 7310 – Managing Nonprofit and Special Community Housing


  • JURI 7720 –  Elder Law

Social Work

  • SOWK 6142 – Social Work with Older Adults

Research or Practicum Experience (3 hr):


Students whose discipline is focused on research may submit theses or dissertations completed to fulfill master’s or Doctoral requirements within their home departments or programs, or they may complete individual research projects for no fewer than three hours of credit. In order to qualify for the Certificate, the thesis, dissertation, or individual research project must focus on some aspect of aging, and the project must receive written approval, prior to its development, by the Graduate Coordinator of the Institute of Gerontology.


Students whose discipline has a practitioner’s emphasis may complete an approved practicum in a gerontological setting for no fewer than three hours credit. The practicum experience must be approved in writing by the Graduate Coordinator of the Institute before it begins.


The Graduate Coordinator of the Institute must approve the practicum before it begins. However, the students will be free to collaborate with any faculty member who is appropriate to supervise the project. It is the responsibility of the student to identify the practicum opportunity and the prospective supervisor. Students should complete this practicum approval form or describe the research project or practicum plan in a letter to the Graduate Coordinator of the Institute of Gerontology. Additionally, a student or her or his primary advisor must submit written documentation to the Institute, first that the project was approved in the student’s home department or program and later that the project was completed as proposed.


When the project has been completed, the practicum completion form must be submitted to the Graduate Coordinator of the Institute. A copy of any written product should also be provided, as appropriate. When the credit for the thesis, dissertation, or practicum is awarded by any academic unit other than the Institute of Gerontology, the responsibility for evaluating the quality of the work resides solely in that department.

Please note: The University of Georgia and the Institute of Gerontology do not provide liability insurance coverage during a student practicum. If a student chooses to carry liability insurance, or if coverage is deemed necessary by the supervisor at the practicum site, this matter should be discussed with the student’s advisor in his or her academic program.

Frequenty Asked Questions

I am completing a master’s degree and I am interested in the Certificate Program, but I am not sure how it would fit into my program of study. Can I complete the requirements for my degree and the Certificate and still graduate in two years?

The Certificate Program is designed so that elective courses in most programs that have been approved as Certificate courses can be used to fulfill Certificate requirements. Courses may be used to count towards both a Master’s degree and the Gerontology Certificate if they fulfill requirements of both programs. With proper planning, one can complete both programs of study in a two-year period. Planning and getting started in the Certificate Program early provides more flexibility to fit in all required courses.

I have already completed a master’s or Doctoral degree and wish to come to the University of Georgia for the sole purpose of completing the Graduate Certificate of Gerontology. Is this possible?

Yes. A number of individuals have completed the Graduate Certificate in Gerontology after having earned master’s or Doctoral degrees. Admission must be secured from the UGA Graduate School as a non-degree candidate. The Graduate Coordinator will guide individuals to appropriate departments and personnel in the Graduate School who will provide assistance in gaining admission to the Graduate School under these circumstances.

To request information from the UGA Graduate School, visit

What if I am unable to complete all of the requirements before I graduate? Is it possible for me to continue to take courses to earn the Certificate of Gerontology?

Yes. If all Certificate of Gerontology requirements cannot be met before graduation from a degree program, work can still be done toward the Certificate after graduation. Non-degree status must be granted through the Graduate School early in the semester before enrollment in courses as a non-degree student.

How will completing the Graduate Certificate of Gerontology help me in my job search?

The completion of the Certificate will be formally noted on your transcript and will indicate to prospective employers that, in addition to training within a particular discipline and degree program, formal interdisciplinary training in gerontology has been obtained.

How long do I have to finish the Certificate? Is there a deadline?

The Institute of Gerontology does not impose a time limit for receiving the Certificate. If classes have not been taken over a three-year period, a student will be considered “inactive.” Students who have been classified as “inactive” can have the status lifted by scheduling an advisory session with the Graduate Coordinator of the Institute of Gerontology. This meeting is necessary to review the courses which are available and necessary for completion of the Certificate requirements.

Where can I find information about tuition & fees?

The UGA Bursar’s Office provide information on the University’s current tuition and fee schedules at

Can I transfer course credits from another institution?

In special circumstances, students have the opportunity to take a graduate level gerontology course at another institution in a traditional classroom situation or through distance learning. Students may transfer one graduate course into their Certificate program, if appropriate. A student must supply the Graduate Coordinator of the Institute of Gerontology with a copy of the syllabus that will be used in the course. The Graduate Coordinator, in consultation with other gerontology faculty if necessary, will review the syllabus to determine if the course is appropriate for Certificate credit. Approval for completed courses should not be obtained retroactively. Therefore, the student must take responsibility to seek approval from the Institute of Gerontology before enrolling in a course at another college or university

Can I take any independent study courses toward my certificate?

In certain circumstances, the GRNT 8000 and GRNT 8010 courses may be taken as independent study courses. Generally, no more than three hours of the Certificate Program can be taken in this manner. The student may enroll in an independent study course of a specific department and also have the course counted under GRNT designation to apply towards the Certificate, if appropriate. The Graduate Coordinator of the Institute of Gerontology must approve the use of GRNT courses for independent study during the semester before enrollment in the independent study begins.

The procedures for crafting an independent study are:

  • The student will complete the practicum approval form for GRNT 8000 or 8010 to identify a specific area of interest for these credits. The form must be submitted to the Graduate Coordinator and a meeting held to discuss how this particular content cannot be investigated in any of the other approved Certificate courses.
  • The student must also secure consent in writing from a gerontology faculty member who will supervise the independent study. If a student does not have a particular faculty member identified, the Graduate Coordinator can assist the student with this process.
  • The student, in conjunction with the supervising faculty member, will construct learning objectives for the independent study. These will concretely identify what the student will learn from the experience.
  • The student will submit a proposal that outlines the requirements for the independent study along with the practicum approval form to the Graduate Coordinator of the Institute of Gerontology. The form will include the assignments the student will complete (e.g., a literature review of a particular area) and the product which will be evaluated for the course grade (e.g., completed paper, article or chapter submitted for publication, grant proposal). Both the student and the faculty member who will supervise the independent study will sign the proposal.
  •  The student will supply the Institute of Gerontology with a copy of the independent study course assignment at the conclusion of the semester.