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USA Undergraduate/Graduate Bulletin 2003-2004
Program Director and Graduate Academic Advisor:
Roma Stovall Hanks (251-460-6347 or 251-460-6020)
Assistant Director and Undergraduate Academic Advisor:
Denise McAdory (251-460-6347)
Department of Gerontology web site

The University of South Alabama offers Certificates in Gerontology at the Graduate and Undergraduate levels and an Interdisciplinary Minor in Gerontology.

Gerontology is the interdisciplinary study of:
1. the human life cycle,
2. issues related to aging, and
3. the relationships between the generations.
The Gerontology program is designed to establish an expertise that will enhance and compliment the analytical skills that the student acquires as part of the major area of study. This expertise may be used as preparation to specialize within the career area related to the student's major area of study or to pursue further academic training in graduate or medical school. Special topics courses and online instruction are available.
Depending on their specific needs and interests, students may be able to complete requirements for the Undergraduate Certificate in Gerontology through distance learning options. Students who are interested in pursuing the undergraduate certificate online should speak with their academic advisor and the Gerontology program director.
Students who wish to earn an Undergraduate Certificate in Gerontology must complete 21 semester hours, including an internship that will expose the student directly to elderly people and their families. The internship must be approved by the program director during the semester prior to placement. Prior to the start of the internship, students must provide documentation that the supervising agency assumes liability for interns, or they must carry their own liability insurance during the internships.
Approved courses are offered in various departments as well as in Gerontology. Students are encouraged to pursue the Gerontology Certificate in conjunction with degree programs.
BLY 207 SY 372
Select One
AIS 201 AIS 401 PSY 356 PSY 250
Internship in Gerontology (GRN 496) or equivalent (for example, Sociology majors may substitute SY 496 with Director's approval). Three semester hours required; up to six semester hours may by accepted.
(Select three)
Any required course option that is not chosen from the list above to fulfill a requirement may be used as an elective. Other elective choices include:

EDF 490, GRN 290, GRN 490, GRN 494, HSC 450, HSC 457, LS 479, LS 490, PSC 481, SY 435, SY 472, and SY 490. When the course topic is appropriate for gerontology, EH 492 and PSC 440 may be taken as electives.


The Interdisciplinary Minor in Gerontology requires 24 semester hours. It is designed for those Arts and Sciences majors who are interested in obtaining jobs in agencies that provide services for older individuals and their families or in pursuing graduate degrees that involve research on aging and intergenerational relationships. Majors in other colleges may also pursue the Interdisciplinary Minor in Gerontology, but should discuss this option with an advisor from the major field. It is possible to obtain the Undergraduate Certificate in Gerontology as part of the Minor, provided all requirements for the Certificate are met. The same course may not be used to fulfill requirements of both a major and a minor.

SY 372
BLY 207 Or SY 435
PSY 356 Or PSY 250
PSC 481 Or HSC 450
Internship in Gerontology (GRN 496 or equivalent). With permission of the program director and the student's academic advisor, an internship in the student's primary discipline may be substituted if the internship provides significant contact with older people, their families, or appropriate service agencies. Three semester hours required; up to six semester hours may be accepted. Approval of the internship must be obtained prior to registration. Proof of insurance is required.
(Select three)
Any required course option that is not chosen from the list above to fulfill a requirement may be used as an elective, other elective choices include:
GRN 490 GRN 290 SY 472 GRN 494 PSC 440, SY 490, and EH 492 may be taken as electives when the course topic is appropriate for gerontology.
The aim of this certificate program is to transmit a core of cognitive knowledge and skills in Gerontology. Requirements for admission are the same as those of the Graduate School. Students seeking to obtain Graduate Certification in Gerontology should either hold a graduate degree, or concurrently be enrolled in a graduate program.
The Graduate Certificate Program at USA requires a minimum of seven courses (21 hours) with grades of "A" or "B", including Aging in American Society (SY 523) and an approved internship. Public Policy in Aging (PSC 581) and Ethical Considerations in the Care of the Aging (HSC 550) are strongly recommended.
The Gerontology internship (GRN 596) is required or an equivalent internship experience within the student's discipline. The internship must allow the student to apply skills to work with older individuals and their families. Research shows that positive, supportive attitudes toward aging are best developed through personal involvement with older people. The skill of applying knowledge to the problems of the elderly is developed in experiential learning situations. Therefore, an internship is required unless the student demonstrates substantial previous experience with the client population. In that event, a directed study or an additional academic course in aging may be substituted for the internship. A maximum of six credit hours of internship and six credit hours of directed study may be applied toward the requirements for the Graduate Certificate in Gerontology. The internship must be approved by the program director during the semester prior to placement.
All courses and substitutions must be approved by the director. The student must work closely with the director and with the advisor in the major area of specialization to develop the best program possible to meet career goals. Directed studies, special topics courses, and online courses may be used to fulfill program requirements if approved by the director.
A maximum of two 400-level undergraduate courses (up to 6 semester hours credit) may be included in the Graduate Certificate Program, provided they were not previously applied to the student's undergraduate certificate or minor in Gerontology. Following are the courses approved for the Graduate Certificate:
SY 523
GRN 596 or equivalent
(Elective Courses)
AIS 401 CED 564 EDL 510 EDL 573 GRN 490 GRN 494 HSC 457 HSC 524 HSC 550 PSC 581 SY 435 SY 572
Graduate level Special Topics courses and Directed Studies may be taken as electives when the course topic is appropriate for gerontology. Distance learning options may be offered for some courses. Check with the program director for information about online courses and other distance learning opportunities.
Up to six semester hours of 400-level courses may be applied to the Graduate Certificate Program in Gerontology, provided they were not previously applied to the student's Undergraduate Certificate Program or the Interdisciplinary Minor in Gerontology.
Courses which are taken as part of a degree program may be considered for credit toward the certificate provided they are approved by the Director of the University Programs in Gerontology, the Director of Graduate Studies in the College offering the degree, and the Dean of the Graduate School. For further information about the program contact Dr. Roma Stovall Hanks, Director, USA Programs in Gerontology, HUMB 34, University of South Alabama, Mobile, Alabama 36688-0002; phone: (251)460-6020; fax (251)460-7925;
web site:
College of Arts and Sciences

University of South Alabama - Mobile Alabama 36688-0002 / 1 (251) 460-6101
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