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Gerontology (2002-2003)

Degree no longer available.

Admission | Courses | Program | Requirements

Program Coordinator: Paige Goodwin
Department Office: Waggoner Hall 100
Department Telephone: 309/298-1593
Location of Program Offering: Macomb only

Graduate Faculty

  • Professors
    • Anita Magafas, Recreation, Park, and Tourism Administration, Ph.D., University of Iowa
    • Kenneth Meitus, Sociology, Ph.D., University of Missouri
    • P. James Nielsen, Biological Sciences, Ph.D., University of Nebraska
    • Dennis R. Papini, Psychology, Ph.D., West Virginia University
    • Alphons J. Richert, Psychology, Ph.D., University of Chicago
    • Essie H. Rutledge, Sociology and Anthropology, Ph.D., University of Michigan
  • Associate Professors
    • K. Dale Adkins, Recreation, Park, and Tourism Administration, Re.D., Indiana University
    • William Anderson, Political Science, Ph.D., University of Illinois
    • Georg Gunzenhauser, Educational and Interdisciplinary Studies, Ed.D., North Carolina State University
    • Keren Humphrey, Counselor Education and College Student Personnel, Ed.D., The College of William and Mary in Virginia
  • Assistant Professors
    • Paige Goodwin, Psychology, Ph.D., Pennsylvania State University
    • Robert C. Intrieri, Psychology, Ph.D., University of Southern Mississippi

Associate Graduate Faculty

  • Assistant Professors
    • Chris Adamski-Mietus, M.S., Western Illinois University
    • Sean P. Meegan, M.S., University of Utah
    • Sandra Nelson, Educational and Interdisciplinary Studies, M.A., Southern Illinois University
    • Kathryn Pohlpeter, Communication Sciences and Disorders, M.A., CCC-SLP, Western Illinois University

Program Description

Western Illinois University offers a program leading to a Master of Arts in Gerontology. The gerontology program has been designed to benefit students from many different undergraduate backgrounds who are presently working with the elderly population or who plan careers in the field of aging. The program takes a multidisciplinary approach to the study of the aging processes, the characteristics of the aged and the legislation, programs, and services for them.
Courses appropriate to the gerontology degree program are offered in the Departments of Biological Sciences; Counselor Education; Educational and Interdisciplinary Studies; Health Education; Family and Consumer Sciences; Physical Education; Psychology; Sociology and Recreation, Park, and Tourism Administration.

Admission Requirements

Students seeking admission to the gerontology program must meet the minimum admission requirements of the School of Graduate Studies. An incoming graduate student is expected to have received a baccalaureate degree from an accredited institution with a GPA of at least 3.0 on a 4.0 scale (based on all hours attempted). Applicants who do not have a 3.0 GPA overall may still be admitted if they have at least a 2.5 cumulative GPA and submit Graduate Record Examination scores.

Applicantion to the program are received from individuals with diverse academic backgrounds, which is appropriate and consistent with the interdisciplinary nature of gerontology as a field of study. Each applicant's academic background will be examined for appropriate undergraduate course work in the social, biological, and management sciences. Some applicants may be required to complete course work in areas of deficiency when admitted to candidacy for a graduate degree in gerontology. Courses taken to make up undergraduate deficiencies cannot be applied toward the credit requirements for graduate degrees.

Each applicant for admission must submit the following items to the coordinator of the gerontology program: a personal data form, a current résumé, three letters of recommendation, and an essay which describes what influences have shaped the applicant's desire to pursue a graduate degree in gerontology.

Degree Requirements

Students must complete a minimum of 33 semester hours for the Master of Arts degree in gerontology. The Master of Arts in Gerontology can be earned by one of three degree plans. All three plans involve a significant written paper or project. A degree plan must be approved by the Graduate Committee before the thesis proposal or rationale for internship/professional project is presented. The Thesis Plan is designed for those students who possess applied or basic research interests or who plan on seeking additional graduate training beyond the master's. The Internship Plan is recommended for students with little or no experience in the field of gerontology or for students who would like to redirect their career goals in the field. The Professional Project Plan is limited to those students who have had three or more years of experience in the field of gerontology and have no desire to redirect their career goals.

All students must complete the general requirements and the additional requirements of one of the three degree options listed below.

  • General Requirements
    • Graduate Core : 15 s.h.
      • GERO 500 Approaches to the Study of Gerontology: 3 s.h.
      • GERO 501 Programs and Services in the Aging Network: 3 s.h.
      • GERO 510 Advanced Study in Gerontology: 3 s.h.
      • GERO 550 Seminar in Gerontology: 3 s.h.
      • GERO 603 Comprehensive Examination in Gerontology*: 0 s.h.
      • Research Methods (PSY 500, EIS 500; HE 570 or a course approved by the coordinator): 3 s.h.
      *Note: All students are required to pass comprehensive examinations in gerontology before graduation. This course carries no credit toward graduation and will be graded S/U.
    • Other Requirements
      • A minimum of 9 to 12 semester hours of approved gerontology electives. All electives must be preapproved by the coordinator.
      • An approved degree plan after completing nine hours of graduate course work.
      • No more than six semester hours earned below the 500 level may be counted for the graduate degree.
      • Satisfy any undergraduate deficiencies. Undergraduate deficiencies can be taken P/F.
  • Thesis Plan
    • Graduate Core: 15 s.h.
    • Graduate Gerontology Electives: 9 s.h.
    • GERO 601 Thesis: 6 s.h.
    • Statistics (PSY 501, HE 571 or see coordinator): 3s.h.
      TOTAL PROGRAM: 33 s.h.
  • Internship Plan
    • Graduate Core: 15 s.h.
    • Graduate Gerontology Electives: 12 s.h.
    • GERO 600 Internship/Independent Study: 6 s.h.
      TOTAL PROGRAM: 33 s.h.
  • Professional Project Plan
    • Graduate Core: 15 s.h.
    • Graduate Gerontology Electives: 12 s.h.
    • GERO 602 Professional Project: 6 s.h.
      TOTAL PROGRAM: 33 s.h.
  • Approved Electives
    Students will select 9-12 semester hours from other graduate level course offerings with the approval of the coordinator of the gerontology program. The following list of courses is only suggestive, and is not meant to be definitive.
    • CH 512 Planning and Evaluation of Health Education Programs
    • CH 514 Health Service Administration
    • EIS 512 Adult learning and Aging Development
    • EIS 587 Human Development through the Life Span
    • GERO 503 Individual Readings in Gerontology
    • FCS 520 Nutrition and Aging
    • PE 563 Physical Fitness for the Elderly
    • HE 520 Contemporary Concepts in Dying and Death
    • HE 525 Health Problems and Crises of the Aging and Aged
    • PSY 523 Psychology of Aging
    • RPTA 530 Program Development and Supervision
    • SOC 405G Sociology of Aging in Rural and Urban America
    • SOC 550 Sociological Theories of Aging
    • SOC 551 Sociology of Health and Aging
    • ZOOL 420G Biology of Aging

Students enrolled in the graduate gerontology program are expected to pursue both an academic and practical course of study. Students without work, or supervised volunteer experience with the older population, are advised to enroll in a 400-level practicum, and/or to choose the internship alternative. There is no assurance that gerontology courses will be offered in the summer. Students must be cognizant of this fact when planning their course of study.

Course Descriptions

500 Approaches to the Study of Gerontology. (3) An overview of the disciplines related to the study of aging including the biological, social, psychological, and environmental perspectives. Aging theories and specific problems and solutions in gerontology will be examined. Prerequisite: Graduate standing.

501 Services and Programs in the Aging Network. (3) A study of existing human services and programs intended for the elderly population, including a critical analysis of the local, state, and federal programs, policies, agency structures and administrative practices which are essential to the delivery of services. Prerequisite: Graduate standing.

503 Individual Readings in Gerontology. (1-3, repeatable to 3) The student will read extensively on topics in gerontology chosen in consultation with a gerontology instructor and prepare a written report on the topic(s). The student will meet with the instructor a minimum of four times per semester to discuss progress on readings. Prerequisites: Graduate standing, 12 semester hours in courses toward the gerontology degree, and permission of the coordinator and instructor.

510 Advanced Study in Gerontology. (3) An in-depth examination of the profession of gerontology and the major issues in the field. Prerequisites: To be taken after the required course work is completed in gerontology but before internship or thesis.

550 Seminar in Gerontology. (3, repeatable to 9) A study of selected current topics and issues in gerontology. Prerequisite: six hours of course work in developmental psychology or human development, or graduate standing.

600 Internship and Independent Study. (1-6, repeatable to 6) Supervised applied experience in an occupationally related area. Includes an independent study activity selected by the student in consultation with the gerontology adviser and approved by the director of the master's program. Graded S/U. Prerequisite: GERO 603 and permission of the coordinator. May be taken concurrently.

601 Thesis in Gerontology. (1-6, repeatable to 6) Incompletes will be given until the six-semester-hours thesis is complete. Graded S/U. Prerequisites: GERO 603 and permission of the coordinator. May be taken concurrently.

602 Professional Project. (3) An investigation of problems related to the student's major area. This course is for the student selecting the professional project degree plan. A substantial written report or project, as well as an informal oral report, will be required. Specific program guidelines must be followed. The student will meet regularly with an instructor on a pre-arranged basis. Graded S/U. Prerequisites: GERO 603 and permission of coordinator. May be taken concurrently.

603 Comprehensive Examination in Gerontology. (0) The student will complete a comprehensive examination in gerontology. Graded S/U. Prerequisite: graduate standing in Gerontology and successful completion of at least 24 semester hours of course work in the Gerontology option.

Western Illinois University.

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