10 Best Master’s in Gerontology

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Many of us out there want to know more about the progress of life and the mystery of it. What causes us to age? What slows us down? Why are people living longer and will age expectancy continue to expand with time? A master's degree in Gerontology looks at some of these questions and more. It studies the aging process and researches different components of adult life. Many with a degree in this subject take on the challenge of working with those in assisted living facilities and are equipped to meet their needs and know the different struggles they experience as they near the end of their life. Students will focus their studies on research methods, physiology of aging, the psychology of aging, ethics, and government policy.

Students have the ability to take classes online which gives them more freedom when they work on their courses. Many courses require hands-on clinical work and nursing practice as part of their program. Once students choose a concentration and graduate, there are many different jobs they can obtain with the degree, including public health research, policy legislation, and geriatric social workers. A social worker receives an average of just over $49,000/year, according to the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Outlook Handbook. According to U.S. News & World Report, most colleges require 30-36 semester hours of completion to receive a Master's in Gerontology and the degree usually takes one to two years to obtain.

Most students will take on interdisciplinary programs in Gerontology, which allows them to take on multiple areas of study and prepare for careers in different areas. According to U.S. News & World Report, jobs for mental health service managers and rehabilitation counselors are expected to increase at a fast rate over the next seven years and the field of Gerontology is ever expanding. With careers in aging on the rise over the next decade, it's important to attend the best school possible and give one's self the best opportunity at a successful future. Below are the 10 Best Master's Degrees in Gerontology.

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  • Finances (40%)
  • Academic Rigor (35%)
  • Student Gratification (25%)

Nearly half of the data used to score each ranking involves finances and are acquired from sources such as the National Center for Education Statistics, the U.S. Department of Labor, U.S. Department of Education, Glassdoor, and PayScale. Financial data encompasses the cost of tuition, fees, and class supplied; the average price of living; access to financial aid and social services; and lastly, the projected annual salary acquired from degree outcomes and income for loan repayment. The second largest category of information involves the quality of education, how competitive degree applicants should be for consideration, and how exclusive a degree program is overall. The final 25 percent of collected data is dependent on student and alumni reviews from sources such as PayScale, Rate My Professor, and Students Review.

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#10 – Youngstown State

Gerontology MA

Youngstown, OH
Website

Youngstown State offers an online Master of Arts in Gerontology which offers a unique program only offered by a small number of universities in the country. The program at YSU places an emphasis on social epidemiology and aging while also blending in psychology, political science, social work, and human ecology. Students will need to complete 36 hours of coursework to obtain their MA and can choose to go the thesis or non-thesis track. Students must take 24 core credits and three to nine elective credits. Those who take the thesis track must complete the six-hour thesis requirement in order to finish the program. With Gerontology, you will study the health of elderly beings as well as factors that affect their health as they get older. The major also studies the relationship between different demographic areas. The office of admissions requires students to obtain a GPA of at least a 3.0, provide three letters of recommendation, submit a letter of intent, complete a personal interview with an administrator, turn in a resume and cover letter, and have taken a social statistics course at the graduate or undergraduate level. YSU ranked No. 7 in the nation in 2018 for "Most Affordable Colleges and Universities", according to College Consensus.

Graduation/Tuition Fees: $8,906 / $13,406

 

#9 – Virginia Commonwealth University

Master of Science in Gerontology

Richmond, VA
Website

Virginia Commonwealth University offers a Gerontology M.S. Degree which aims to educate students on the study of aging. Students must complete 30 semester hours to receive their degree and have the option of specializing in Assisted Living Administration, Education, Health Care Organization and Planning, Psychogeriatrics, Public Administration, Research, or Social Services. Students must take 25 credits from their specialty area and five elective credits. Students who apply must submit official transcripts to the admissions office along with meeting the required GPA score of 3.0, submitting three letters of recommendation, providing a statement of intent, and completing the required entrance exams needed. VCU ranks No. 44 among "Best Nursing Practice Schools," according to the U.S. News & World Report.

Graduation/Tuition Fees: $12,217 / $25,032

 

#8 – University of Louisiana at Monroe

Gerontology M.A.

Monroe, LA
Website

The University of Louisiana at Monroe offers a Gerontology MA which provides students with the skills necessary to assist and work with older adults and understand the aging process in human beings. Students who enroll in the Master's program have the option of specializing in Long-term Care Administration, Program Administration, or Aging Studies. A total of 36 hours are required to complete the program, 30 of which must be core credits and six from the elective credits bank. Students can also complete a thesis track as part of their studies. The office of admissions requires applicants to provide official transcripts, test results from the GRE, proof of their bachelor's degree, and proof of immunizations. ULM was included in the U.S. News & World Report's "Best National Universities" ranking for 2017 which recognizes the top 298 colleges in the country.

Graduation/Tuition Fees: $6,490 / $18,590

 

#7 – Bowling Green State University

Master of Science in Interdisciplinary Gerontology

Bowling Green, Ohio
Website

Bowling Green State University offers a Master's Degree in Interdisciplinary Gerontology which studies the trends and challenges of an aging population. The major is for those who are seeking to acquire more knowledge and skills in order to work with older adults and their families. More students today are applying for degrees in Gentology than ever before. To receive the MS degree students are required to complete a minimum of 33 semester hours in a one to two-year window. Eighteen credits must be from core classes, six from research course classes and six from electives. The office of admissions requires students to submit three letters of recommendation, hold a bachelor's degree, have an acquired GPA of at least 3.0, and turn in official transcripts to the University. The GRE is optional but not required. BGSU is ranked 103rd in "Top National Public Universities", according to U.S. News & National Report.

Graduation/Tuition Fees: $8,017 / $14,009

 

#6 – Brenau University

Master's in Applied Gerontology

Gainesville, GA
Website

Brenau University offers a Master's Degree in Applied Gerontology which trains students to oversee the aging population and study different dynamics in the aging process. Students who take this program can complete their degree in as little as one year. Those in the program are required to take 30 semester hours, 18 of those hours coming from core coursework, and 12 coming from elective classes. With it being an interdisciplinary program, students are able to create a curriculum that fits their career and personal needs. The office of admissions requires applicants to submit official transcripts, hold a bachelor's degree, have a GPA of at least 3.0, and submit three letters of recommendation. Brenau was ranked No. 30 on the list of "Best Value Regional University", according to the U.S. News & World Report.

Graduation/Tuition Fees: $12,510

 

#5 – Iowa State University

MS in Gerontology

Ames, IA
Website

Iowa State University offers a Master of Science Degree in Gerontology in which students can receive educational training in their field of study as well as a complementary discipline. Using an interdisciplinary and collaborative approach, faculty members give students the skills they need in order to be successful in studying the aging process. In order to receive the degree, 36 credit hours must be achieved, 24 of those credits coming from core courses. The remaining 12 credits are to come from elective courses and special courses needed to meet the institution's requirements. The office of admissions requires students to submit official transcripts, their GRE test scores, a statement of intent, three letters of recommendation, and the completion of a supplement self-statement specific to the Gerontology program. ISU is ranked No. 88 on the list of "Best Colleges For Your Money", according to Money.com.

Graduation/Tuition Fees: $9,302 (in-state); $23,564 (out-of-state)

 

#4 – Georgia State University

Master of Arts in Gerontology

Atlanta, GA
Website

Georgia State University offers a Master of Arts in Gerontology which is structured for those students seeking leadership positions in the field or in researching aging studies. The program is interdisciplinary in nature and centers around the issues facing the aging population. Students can focus on a Research Concentration or a Program Administration Concentration. To complete the program, students are required to take 15 core credits, nine concentration credits, and 12 elective credits for a total of 36 credit hours. Students have the option of taking a thesis which carries with it anywhere from one to nine credits. The admissions office requires students to submit an official resume, three letters of recommendation, and a statement of educational and career goals. GSU ranks no. 100 in "Top Public Schools" and no. 2 in "Most Innovative Schools", according to U.S. News & World Report.

Graduation/Tuition Fees: $7020 (in-state); $22,518 (out-of-state)

 

#3 – University of Nebraska at Omaha

Master of Arts in Social Gerontology

Omaha, NE
Website

The University of Nebraska at Omaha offers an M.A. in Social Gerontology, a program designed to enhance student skills in tending to those undergoing the latter part of the aging process across America and beyond. There are two options a student can undertake in order to complete the program: a thesis or a non-thesis option. Students who take the thesis track conduct more research in the gerontology field whereas the non-thesis track is designed for practitioners who work with, or are motivated to work with, elderly people. Each track carries different requirements that result in a completion of 36 credit hours. The office of admissions requires students to hold a 3.0 GPA, submit a writing sample, and gain acceptance from the UNO Graduate Studies program, which carries a separate application. UNO ranks No. 96 in "Best Schools for Social Work", according to U.S. News & World Report.

Graduation/Tuition Fees: $5,053 (in-state); $14,125 (out-of-state)

 

#2 – George Washington University

MSN: Adult-Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner

Washington, D.C.
Website

George Washington University offers an MSN in Adult-Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner, a program which provides nurses with the opportunity to become leaders and skilled in working with older patients. The program focuses a lot on healthcare and long-term care in assisted living facilities. The program requires the completion of 48 credit hours and 625 clinical hours which includes work in family practice, nursing home facilities, and internal medicine. Students have the option of registering as a full-time student or a part-time student and must complete two campus components which require travel. The office of admissions calls for applicants to hold a bachelor's degree, a GPA of at least 3.0 and a nursing license, and submit official transcripts, two letters of recommendation, a personal statement, and a current resume. GWU ranks No. 43 among "Best Nursing Schools: Master's", according to U.S. News & World Report.

Graduation/Tuition Fees: $30,780

 

#1 – Miami University – Oxford

Master of Gerontological Studies

Oxford, OH
Website

Miami University–Oxford offers a Master of Gerontological Studies which readies students for work in aging-related fields. Students can choose one of three specializations: research/academic work, policy, or non-social work direct. Roughly 50% of MGS graduates go on to pursue a doctorate degree in a similar field at some point in their career. The program requires 43 semester hours of completion which includes coursework, a graduate practicum, and a critical inquiry. At least one of the courses students must take is to come from the elective bank. The office of admissions requires students to have a written professional statement, a resume, a passing score on the GRE, three letters of recommendation, official transcripts, and a GPA of 3.0 or higher. MUO ranks No. 43 on the list of "Top Public Schools", according to U.S. News & World Report.

Graduation/Tuition Fees: $13,409 (in-state); $30,798 (out-of-state)