Program goal

The Department of Gerontology serves the people of the commonwealth of Virginia and the nation by providing educational programs related to understanding of aging and promoting successful aging. The department encourages education through discovery of new knowledge, interdisciplinary interaction, professional behavior and service to the aging network. The department’s primary focus is to prepare individuals for positions in the network of aging services. These gerontologists are educated to serve as supporters of optimal aging for older persons and families and caregivers. The certificate program provides quality education to those who are already working with older adults and wish to enhance their services with formal academic training in gerontology or individuals with training in other professions.

The program’s goal is to ensure that graduates will be able to demonstrate the ability to apply core gerontological concepts according to Association for Gerontology in Higher Education Core Concepts.

Student learning outcomes

  1. Connect gerontological theory to practice: Students will demonstrate a holistic theoretical understanding of adult development and elderhood from a biological, psychological and social perspective and the ability to apply this knowledge to aging, using a strengths-based lifespan orientation.
  2. Integrate diversity, equity and inclusion in gerontological practice: Students will demonstrate knowledge of how discrimination, oppression and marginalization based on age and intersectional identities impacts health and longevity. Students will be equipped with the knowledge to shape positive attitudes about aging and elderhood.
  3. Uphold professional and ethical standards: Students will demonstrate the ability to engage in an ongoing self-reflective process of their professional gerontological practice. Students will demonstrate the ability to uphold professional standards through individually and collaboratively applying ethical decision-making processes.
  4. Demonstrate interdisciplinary approach: Students will demonstrate the ability to engage in interdisciplinary dialogue and be knowledgeable of interdisciplinary approaches to promoting optimal aging.

VCU Graduate Bulletin, VCU Graduate School and general academic policies and regulations for all graduate students in all graduate programs

The VCU Graduate Bulletin website documents the official admission and academic rules and regulations that govern graduate education for all graduate programs at the university. These policies are established by the graduate faculty of the university through their elected representatives to the University Graduate Council.

It is the responsibility of all graduate students, both on- and off-campus, to be familiar with the VCU Graduate Bulletin as well as the Graduate School website and academic regulations in individual school and department publications and on program websites. However, in all cases, the official policies and procedures of the University Graduate Council, as published on the VCU Graduate Bulletin and Graduate School websites, take precedence over individual program policies and guidelines.

Visit the academic regulations section for additional information on academic regulations for graduate students.

Graduation requirements

As graduate students approach the end of their academic programs and the final semester of matriculation, they must make formal application to graduate. No degrees will be conferred until the application to graduate has been finalized.

Graduate students and program directors should refer to the following graduation requirements as published in the Graduate Bulletin for a complete list of instructions and a graduation checklist.

Visit the academic regulations section for additional information on graduation requirements.

Other information

The program’s student handbook is available on the student Blackboard site.