10 Best Online Master’s Degrees in Gerontology

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If you're interested in research and issues surrounding aging populations, then earning a Masters Degree in Gerontology could be an excellent way to accelerate your career. Gerontology is the study of the various aspects of aging, including physiological, psychological, emotional, economic, and policy-based issues. As the U.S. population ages, there will be an increased need for professionals who are familiar with these areas. Graduate programs in gerontology are designed to help students analyze the social, economic, and political implications of an aging demographic. Students earning a Masters degree in Gerontology gain expertise in policy making, case management, community-based services, administration, human resources, financial planning, and more.

The programs on our list of the 10 Best Online Master's Degrees in Gerontology are designed for professionals who work directly with seniors and those engaged in research and policy development that directly affects seniors. Most programs can be completed in two years, and some include an internship-based practicum, capstone project, or graduate thesis. Through elective coursework, programs can be customized to support individual career and academic goals. Common specialization areas include aging studies, long-term care administration, health care information systems, human resources, and more. Some programs offer networking opportunities through professional societies or on-campus events.

Students with an education in gerontology work in fields such as senior fitness, community health programs, community planning, social work, higher education, senior care, estate planning, elder law, human resources, and more. They work in businesses, government agencies, service organizations, or educational institutions, or they're self-employed professionals. The Association for Gerontology in Higher Education reports that the career opportunities for students working in the field of aging are expanding rapidly. The Occupational Outlook Handbook, published by the U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics, has reported that 17 of the 30 fastest growing careers are in healthcare-related fields. For example, health service manager positions are expected to grow by 17% between 2014 and 2024, and social worker jobs will grow at 12% in the same period. A Master's Degree in Gerontology is a great way to advance your career in these areas and increase your salary.

Ranking Methodology: "It's science!"

The researchers and writers at Best Master's Degrees don't make recommendations based upon preference– we back our rankings with science. Here's a quick breakdown of how we organize ranking data:

  • 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 – McDaniel College

Master's of Science in Gerontology

Westminster, Maryland

Forge a career that improves the lives of older adults with the Master's of Science in Gerontology from McDaniel College. The program delivers a multidisciplinary approach to working with populations of older adults. Students will complete between 30 and 36 semester hours and have the option to study completely online or in a hybrid format. Students have access to the college's Center for the Study of Aging, which hosts workshops and seminars throughout the year. The program includes course topics such as the Biology of Aging in a Diverse Society. Students also complete a master's thesis with the degree. A Specialist in Aging graduate certificate is also available, and students completing the certificate may receive credit toward the master's degree.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $9,000


#9 – University of Louisiana at Monroe

Master of Arts in Gerontology

Monroe, Louisiana

The Master of Arts in Gerontology from the University of Louisiana at Monroe equips you with the skills to manage the care of senior citizens. The 36-credit-hour program offers a number of graduate assistantships to qualified students. Students select from six areas of specialization, including aging studies, long-term care administration, small business management, mental health, grief care management, and an area focused on program administrators who work outside the scope of long-term care facilities. To apply, candidates without experience in gerontology will need a minimum 2.75 GPA. Candidates with experience in gerontology may apply with a minimum 2.5 GPA. Conditional admissions are available for students not meeting the minimum requirements.

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


#8 – Webster University

Master of Arts in Gerontology

St. Louis, Missouri

Prepare to address issues facing a growing segment of the population with the Master of Arts in Gerontology from Webster University. The fully-online program gives students a background to understand the aging process from a behavioral and social sciences perspective. Students will earn 36 credit hours through the program, which includes courses in economics, the physiology of aging, the psychology of aging, the management of programs for older adults, and more. A foundational course in gerontology is the program's only required course, with the remaining courses selected from the program curricula of other majors. A related 18-credit-hour graduate certificate in gerontology is also available.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $13,500


#7 – University of Indianapolis

Master of Science in Gerontology

Indianapolis, Indiana

Gain insights to improve the lives of older adults with the Master of Science in Gerontology from the University of Indianapolis. The multidisciplinary degree program is completed entirely online and gives students the opportunity for service and networking through academic honor and professional societies. Students will complete 36 credit hours in twelve courses, including a capstone project. Course topics include the psychology of aging, research methods, applied public policy, ethics and aging, and more. Students who lack experience working with older populations are required to complete a three-credit practicum. Students can optionally earn an optional Doctor of Health Science in the university's a dual-degree program. An additional 18 credits are required to obtain a second degree.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $36,422


#6 – National University

Master of Arts in Gerontology

La Jolla, California

Become an effective supporter of aging adults with the Master of Arts in Gerontology from National University. The program is completed entirely online and helps students understand the public policies and legal issues that face older adults. To complete the degree, students will earn at least 54 quarter units of graduate credit. Students may transfer 13.5 quarter units of credit completed at another institution at the graduate level. Core requirements include courses in gerontology, wellness in aging, the psychology of older adults, public policy and aging, and counseling older adults. Students also complete an integrative project and earn 22.5 units from elective classes, with topics including creative leadership, healthcare information systems, human resources, and more.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $15,480


#5 – University of Nebraska at Omaha

Master of Arts in Social Gerontology

Omaha, Nebraska

Learn to become an advocate for seniors with the Master of Arts in Social Gerontology from the University of Nebraska at Omaha. The degree is designed for working professionals and those interested in research. The 36-credit-hour program is offered in both thesis and non-thesis formats, with non-thesis students completing a three-credit-hour practicum as part of their studies. Non-thesis students also complete a written comprehensive examination after finishing coursework. Core classes include an applied social gerontology course and a seminar in aging and human behavior. To gain admission to the program, applicants will need a minimum 3.0 GPA. The university has rolling admissions and applications are accepted year round. The program can be completed entirely online or on the university's Omaha, Nebraska, campus.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $5,053 / $14,125


#4 – Iowa State University

Masters of Family and Consumer Sciences with Gerontology Specialization

Ames, Iowa

The Masters of Family and Consumer Sciences with Gerontology Specialization from Iowa State University prepares you for a rewarding career working among older adults. The 36-credit online program is designed for professionals working directly with the elderly and scholars involved in research and education for seniors. Students will take eight required three-credit courses, including adult development, aging in the family, a research methods and program evaluation course, and a professional seminar in gerontology. Students complete the remainder of the degree by selecting electives, including the biological aspects of aging, long-term care, and mental health and aging. The program also includes a capstone course that focuses on a specific case study. Following the capstone course, students will complete a comprehensive oral examination by conference call, although students are welcome to come to campus for the examination. Students can also earn a 15-credit graduate certificate in gerontology.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $9,302 / $23,564


#3 – Kansas State University

Master of Science in Gerontology

Manhattan, Kansas

With the Master of Science in Gerontology from Kansas State University, you'll be equipped to make a meaningful difference in the lives of senior citizens. The curriculum is designed to deliver the core competencies outlined by the Associate for Gerontology in Higher Education. The degree is based on the university's master's degree in human development and family science with a specialization in gerontology. The 36-credit online program is offered by the university's College of Health and Human Sciences and includes 24 required credits with the balance coming from elective courses. The required course matrix includes topics in gerontology, adult development and aging, public policy, aging in the family, program evaluation, and a physical health and nutrition course.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $10,061 / $22,709


#2 – University of Utah

Master of Science in Gerontology

Salt Lake City, Utah

The Master of Science in Gerontology from the University of Utah provides students with a multidisciplinary perspective on aging. The online program can be completed in three semesters by studying on a full-time basis, or six semesters for those studying on a part-time basis. Students may earn either 33 credit hours with the program's project option, or 34 credit hours if completing a master's thesis. Students will also complete a three-credit-hour practicum based on service, research, or a combination of the two. A graduate certificate in gerontology is also available, and certificate students may transfer up to nine credits toward the graduate degree.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $6,988 / $24,665


#1 – University of Southern California

Master of Science in Gerontology

Los Angeles, California

Hone your research skills and understanding of public policy with the Master of Science in Gerontology from the University of Southern California. Students will gain a high-level understanding of aging-related issues through the online degree program. The curriculum covers topics in social policy and aging, physiology of development and aging, and the psychology and sociology of life span development. Students will complete a practicum course to gain real-world experience in an internship setting, along a research methods course and a capstone that includes an exposure to grant writing. To apply, students will need a minimum of 3.0 GPA and two letters of recommendation.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $32,892