University Bulletin 2022-23

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Graduate Gerontology Certificate

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Requirements For The Graduate Certificate In Gerontology

The Graduate Certificate Program at USA requires a minimum of four courses (12 hours) with grades of "A" or "B", including Aging in American Society (SY 523) and an approved internship or approved equivalent experience. It is strongly recommended that students take other courses to enhance their research/practice in aging and the life course, such as a course in public policy or public health; a research methods course appropriate to the student's primary discipline and/or gerontology; and a course in professional ethics. All courses not specifically listed in this section must be approved by the Gerontology Program Director and the student's academic advisor prior to registration for the course.

The Gerontology internship (GRN 596) is required but may be waived for students who are employed in the field of aging or those who complete an approved internship or clinical/field placement 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 issues in aging is developed in experiential learning situations. Therefore, an internship is required unless the student demonstrates substantial previous experience with the client population.  A maximum of six credit hours of internship and six credit hours of directed study may be applied toward the Graduate Certificate in Gerontology. The internship must be approved by the program director during the semester prior to placement. Students in professional programs may be able to use field placements in lieu of the Gerontology Internship. Additional course substitutions may be possible. The Gerontology Certificate is a valuable added credential for students in Nursing, Allied Health Professions, Health Education, and Public Health/Health Administration. Students are encouraged to speak with their academic advisors and the Director or Associate Director of the Gerontology Programs about adding the Gerontology Certificate to their programs of study.

All course waivers and substitutions must be approved by the Gerontology program 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. 

Graduate Certificate in Gerontology
Following are the courses approved for the Graduate Certificate in Gerontology:
Required Courses:
SY 523
GRN 596 or equivalent
Elective Courses:
GRN 535
GRN 594
GRN 597
HS 510
HS 563
PSC 581
PSY 516
PSY 524
PSY 575
SY 518
SY 535
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 or associate director for information about on-line courses and other distance learning opportunities.

Other electives may be taken from the student's degree discipline with approval by the student's graduate advisor, the Gerontology program director, and the Graduate School (Examples: courses in Advanced Geropsychiatric Nursing and courses in the College of Allied Health Professions where the focus is on aging and age-related health conditions). Students should meet with the Gerontology program director to discuss specific questions about elective courses.

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. In order to receive the printed Graduate Certificate in Gerontology, you must submit a completed application form. Certificates are not issued automatically. Forms are available on the program website at:  Students must schedule an exit interview with the director or associate director of the Gerontology Program six weeks prior to completion of the program. Zoom or phone interviews can be arranged. Certificate recipients are listed in the Commencement Program closest to the date the certificate completion documentation approved.

For further information about the program contact Dr. Roma Stovall Hanks, Director or Dr. Hosik Min, Associate Director, USA Programs in Gerontology, 5991 USA Dr. N., HUMB 34, University of South Alabama, Mobile, Alabama 36688-0002; phone: (251) 460-6020; FAX (251) 460-7925
e-mail: or


Application for The Certificate

The Degree Works audit tool lists the Gerontology Certificates (Graduate and Undergraduate) as programs. Students should alert their advisors to check that they are enrolled in the appropriate Gerontology Certificate program. Upon completion of requirements, an application must be submitted by the student.

The application is available at the Gerontology website:

Gerontology Staff (251) 460-6020
Program Director and Academic Advisor Dr. Roma Stovall Hanks
Associate Director and Academic Advisor Dr. Hosik Min

Department of Gerontology website

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
  3. Intergenerational Relationships

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 on-line instruction are available.

Depending on their specific needs and interests, students may be able to complete requirements for the Undergraduate or Graduate Certificate in Gerontology through distance learning options. Students who are interested in pursuing a Gerontology Certificate on-line should speak with their academic advisor and the Gerontology program director.  Students in professional programs may be able to use field placements in lieu of the Gerontology Internship.

The Degree Works audit tool lists the Gerontology Certificates as programs. Students should alert their advisors to check that they are enrolled in a Gerontology Certificate program (Graduate or Undergraduate). In order to receive the printed Gerontology Certificate, the student must submit a completed Data Sheet and Application available at the program website: The certificate is not automatically issued without an application.  Students and alumni of the program may be asked to participate in exit interviews or surveys.