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Office of Dean - College of Arts & Sciences
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Shippensburg PA 17257
(717) 477-1151

Gerontology Program

Dr. Dara Bourassa
Director, Gerontology Program
Shippensburg University
1871 Old Main Drive
Shippensburg, PA
(717) 477-1969
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Gerontology Minor

Gerontology is an interdisciplinary undergraduate minor that provides students with a broad view of the aging process. This discipline focuses on quality of life for older adults and how people can work together to ensure successful aging. Ship students are exposed to many different disciplines (e.g., biology, psychology, sociology, humanities, social work) and are shown how aging relates to each. Graduates with a gerontology minor can show employers they have what it takes to serve the growing population of older adults. Knowledge about aging-related topics that address economic, political and social issues such as prescription drug benefits, social security, mandatory retirement ages, and the impact of Alzheimer’s Disease can help graduates make informed decisions and contribute to both their employer and the well being of older adults in general.

To gain practical experience working with older adults, gerontology minors complete one required internship. Internships are broadly defined and we try to place students in settings that match their career goals. For example, business oriented students can gain experience with a local business to learn about retirement planning, agency administration, or put their accounting skills to work. Ship’s gerontology minor gives students the necessary tools to fulfill their educational goals.

In addition to internships, the gerontology program encourages students to volunteer their time to visit older people in nursing homes, help solicit signatures for later-life political initiatives, deliver meals to seniors who have mobility problems, or just sit down and talk with older adults at area senior community centers. These hands-on experiences with older adults provide students unique opportunities to learn about the lives of older adults and what they can do to improve their quality of life.

Degree Requirements

To complete the gerontology minor students must complete 18 credit hours, which include:

  • Core Courses: Two required courses make up the core of this minor: Introduction to Gerontology and Gerontology Internship I, which focuses on an experience in either a local business or human service agency that serves older adults such as a nursing home, senior center, or Area Office on Aging.
  • Electives: Electives are taken in a variety of disciplines such as Psychology, Sociology, Exercise Science, and Social Work. A complete list of Gerontology electives can be found on the program website.

Questions? Contact us:

If you have any questions on how expertise in aging can benefit your specific major, please contact the Gerontology Director for an in-depth analysis of how our minor can help you.

Dr. Dara Bourassa
Director, Gerontology Program
E-mail: dpbourassa@ship.edu