Program accreditation
Council on Social Work Education (M.S.W.)

The School of Social Work in cooperation with the Department of Gerontology in the College of Health Professions at VCU provides students with a unique educational opportunity in social work and gerontology. Master of Social Work students interested in work with elders or in gerontological programs may earn a Certificate in Aging Studies while completing the master’s degree requirements.

In order to meet the requirements of the M.S.W. degree and the Certificate in Aging Studies, students complete a total of 65 graduate credit hours. All foundation and concentration courses of the Master of Social Work Program are completed, and core courses (nine credit hours) of the Certificate in Aging Studies program are completed. Other requirements are met by (1) completion of M.S.W. research courses in which students undertake a project focused on aging, (2) completion of second-year field instruction practicum requirements (six credit hours) in a social work setting related to aging and (3) completion of an independent study course in gerontology, which integrates research and practicum courses.

See the individual program pages for specific admission requirements, application deadlines, program goals, student learning outcomes, degree requirements and graduation requirements for the M.S.W. and Certificate in Aging Studies degree programs.

Apply online at

Application process

Students must meet the admission requirements of the Master of Social Work program of the School of Social Work and of the Certificate in Aging Studies program in the Department of Gerontology. Admission into one program does not guarantee admission into the other.

Additional information may be obtained from the websites listed above or either of the following offices:

Virginia Commonwealth University
College of Health Professions
Department of Gerontology
P.O. Box 980228
Richmond, Virginia 23298-0228
Attention: M.S.W.-Gerontology Certificate Adviser

Virginia Commonwealth University
School of Social Work
P.O. Box 842027
Richmond, Virginia 23284-2027
Attention: M.S.W.-Gerontology Certificate Adviser

Curriculum requirements

Students must complete the M.S.W foundation curriculum or the advanced standing format and the concentration curriculum (either clinical practice or SWAPPP), including the following social work courses and the additional following courses from the Department of Gerontology. Six credit hours of GRTY courses will count toward the M.S.W. concentration electives.

Course Title Hours
GRTY 601Biological and Physiological Aging3
GRTY 602Psychology of Aging3
GRTY 603Social Gerontology3
GRTY 692Independent Studies2
Select one of the following:6
Research for Clinical Social Work Practice I
and Research for Clinical Social Work Practice II
Research for Social Work Administration, Planning and Policy Practice I
and Research for Social Work Administration, Planning and Policy Practice II
Select one of the following:6
Concentration Field Instruction I
and Concentration Field Instruction II
Concentration Block Field Instruction
Total Hours23

Graduate program directors
Melissa D. Stewart, Ph.D.
M.S.W. program director, School of Social Work
Phone: (804) 828-2007

Jennifer Pryor
Department of Gerontology, College of Health Professions
Phone: (804) 828-1565

Program websites: and