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Gerontology is the scientific studying of aging and the issues faced by older generations, allowing you to understand the aging population and prepare to work on behalf of them. The gerontology minor is an interdisciplinary program that examines the aging process, including the biological, psychological, social and spiritual aspects of growing older. Additionally, through required field experience, students develop basic skills for effective practice with older adults. The minor also emphasizes an understanding of the unique problems and needs of older adults in Appalachia and other rural areas. There are several courses in the diverse program, including online options and a General Education Foundation course that can count toward your major or another minor.

How will I focus my studies?

A minor in gerontology will better prepare you for the ever-changing helping health and human service professions. The United States is growing significantly older, and in a matter of years, our population distribution will represent that of Florida in terms of age. Because of this shift, there is a shortage of trained professionals available to work with older adults and their families. The shortage includes not only physicians and nurses, but the entire health and human service profession. Jobs are available not only in healthcare, but fields like marketing, tourism, interior design and urban planning. Regardless of your major, a gerontology minor will give the experience and knowledge needed to work with older adults while setting you apart from other applicants to receive higher employment considerations.

Julie Salmon, Morgantown, W.Va.

Major: Social Work 

Minor: Gerontology, Sociology and Women's and Gender Studies

Julie SalmonNontraditional student Julie Salmon’s legal backgroundinfluenced her decision to pursue a policy career in social work. “The gerontology minor is preparing me for understanding the challenges that the elderly face in different stages of the lifespan. These perspectives all have financial, institutional and political implications, and I would eventually like to work on policies that support better outcomes.”  

Through the gerontology minor, she completed field experiences at a memory center and senior centers. “These experiences have enhanced my understanding of not only the challenges faced by individuals in the Silent Generation and the Baby Boomers but also helped me to develop an appreciation of their resiliency.” 

Learn more at the Gerontology site