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Advanced study in health related sciences and aging studies is available through a dual degree and certificate program sponsored by the College of Health Professions.

The program allows students to earn a Ph.D. in Health Related Sciences and a Certificate in Aging Studies with a minimum of 63 credits rather than the 66 credits necessary if the two plans of study were pursued separately. This efficiency lowers the overall cost of tuition while also reducing time to earning both degrees.

Program goals

The objectives of this dual degree and certificate program are to:

  • Prepare graduates to address the complex needs of a diverse aging population using holistic knowledge of the biopsychosocial aging process
  • Provide graduates with an understanding of empirically and theoretically based components contributing to optimal aging using evidence-based, best-practice approaches
  • Provide students with the ability to understand and conduct research in health related sciences with a focus on the older adult population
  • Provide students with the ability to analyze alternatives and develop responses in their disciplines to improve health care experiences for older people
  • Provide students with the ability to examine current issues and future changes in gerontology from an interdisciplinary perspective

Among the many benefits offered by participation in the dual degree and certificate program is the following:

  • Prepares students for a variety of health-related interdisciplinary positions specifically working with or on behalf of older adults and their family members. These positions represent a variety of settings including private, public or academic organizations and institutions.

The diplomas for this dual degree and certificate program may be awarded simultaneously. However, students must complete a separate graduation check out for each program.

Student learning outcomes

See the individual program pages for student learning outcomes.

Other information


The student is assigned an adviser from each program to develop a plan of study. Advisers from each program will provide guidance on course requirements for their respective programs.

Students in the Ph.D. program will be assigned an adviser who has the content knowledge to support mentoring the student through the dissertation process. The student could be mentored by faculty in any of the College of Health Professions departments. As a result, the Ph.D. adviser could be from outside of gerontology or within gerontology.