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Gerontology Track

Description and Career Opportunities:

Individuals interested in working with aging issues and the older population should consider the Applied Gerontology Track of the doctoral program. Students in the doctoral track in Applied Gerontology take 30 credits of coursework in Gerontology along with the 34 credit Human Development Core. Students will gain skills in gerontological research and teaching and prepare for academic, research, and leadership roles in the field of Gerontology.

In our state and region, there is a larger proportion of elders in the population than the national average. Whereas North Dakota ranks 47th among states in total population, it ranks 11th in the percent 65+ of the state’s population. In some rural North Dakota counties, nearly one quarter of the population is over 65 (From Sanders and Bratteli, Aging North Dakota, 1994). These rural areas offer special challenges because of distance, lack of services and lack of trained professionals.

One direction for working in the field of Gerontology is working directly with older persons in health promotion, intergenerational activities, senior centers, or retirement communities. Direct care to frail elders, counseling older persons and their families, and assisting persons with financial and personal preparation for retirement are also areas of direct service that need trained professionals.

Most Gerontologists at the Ph.D. level can also work in education and research. This can include evaluating community-based services; conducting research on the aging process and social and developmental aspects of aging; teaching students, professionals, and older adults and their families about aging; aging policy development; and program planning and administration. Professionals are also needed to work with business and industry on the issue of the aging work force.

Tentative Schedule of Course Offerings, Ph.D. in Human Development, Gerontology Track


HNES 652 Nutrition, Health and Aging (for students entering 2012)
Course Number and Title Credits Tentatively Scheduled
I. Human Development Core    
DELETED FROM CURRICULUM:  HDE 720 Interdisciplinary Approaches to Human Development    
HDE 790 Doctoral Seminar: Orientation 1 credit Each Fall
Research Courses:    
Three additional credits in research methods (beyond the equivalent of HDFS 703/EDUC 703*) 3 credits  
Three additional credits in statistics (beyond the equivalent to STAT 725) are required as approved by the students' committee. 3 credits  
794 Teaching Internship 3 credits  
799 Doctoral Dissertation 10 credits  
(794 and 799 credits are available from each department)    
The following courses are required prerequisites to the Doctoral program in Human Development. Students who have not had these courses or equivalent as part of a masters program are required to complete them as part of this core. Students who have completed any of the courses below will take an additional equivalent number of elective credits to complete the total number of program credits required.
Research Methods and Statistics    
HDFS 703 Research Methods in Child Development and Family Science OR 3 credits Spring
EDUC 703 Research, Measurement and Program Evaluation OR equivalent 3 credits Every Fall and Summer
STAT 725 Applied Statistics OR equivalent 3 credits Every Semester (including summer)
TOTAL CORE 26 credits minimum
Track I: Applied Gerontology    
II. Gerontology Foundation Courses 15-18 credits
HDFS 760 Aging Policy 3 credits Even Falls
HDFS 786 Advanced Human Development: Mid/Late Adulthood 3 credits Odd Springs
ADHM 665 Aging and the Environment 3 credits Every 2-3 years - Fall
HDFS 722 Applied Research in Gerontology 3 credits Odd Springs
3 credits Even Falls
III. Elective Courses 18-21 credits minimum
Students must take a minimum of 6 credits of didactic courses. It is also recommended that students take some credits of HDFS or HNES 794 Practicum. Students should confer with their advisor regarding elective course selection.
Didactic Courses with a Gerontology focus include the following:
HDFS 660 Adult Development and Aging 3 credits Each Spring
HDFS 682 Family Dynamics of Aging 3 credits Even Springs
SOC 641 Sociology of Death 3 credits Every Spring
SOC 640 Sociology of Aging 3 credits Every Fall
HDFS 681 Gender and Aging 3 credits Odd Falls
HNES 652 Nutrition, Health and Aging (for students entering prior to 2012) 3 credits Even Springs

The following can be scheduled in any semester in consultation with your graduate advisor: 794 and 799


*This listing represents the core and content elective courses as they are currently scheduled. Consult with your advisor about your specific program of study and scheduling changes.

Professional Links and Resources



Gerontology Track Faculty


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Published by North Dakota State University

Last Updated: Wednesday, September 19, 2012 4:06:50 PM