Graduate Certificate in Applied Gerontology

Americans are living longer than at any other time in history. Aging is a dynamic field of study where demographic and generational shifts are impacting all disciplines and demanding innovations in how we care for older adults – from Nursing to the Arts, from Architecture to Health Sciences.

The Graduate Certificate in Applied Gerontology (GCAG) is designed to provide students with the knowledge and skills needed to successfully pursue or advance careers within aging services organizations or conduct academic research in aging. The program focuses on the biological, psychological, social, policy, and ethical aspects of aging.

This graduate-level certificate is designed for two audiences:

  1. Graduate-degree seeking students in any field.
  2. Degreed professionals who wish to advance and refocus their career.

Students wishing to earn a GCAG must complete the required 18 graduate credit hours with an overall GPA of 3.00 or better. No student may complete all 18 credits within a single school or college. A maximum of half of the credits (9) may be double counted toward one’s degree program.

Why earn this certificate?

  • To increase knowledge, skills, and effectiveness in working with or caring for older adults
  • To enhance your professional marketability through graduate-level specialization in the field of aging
  • To develop an interdisciplinary perspective on aging

“The multi-disciplinary courses I took in the process of aging have been invaluable in my practice. My client population is 100% over 55 and I use what I learned daily.”

Certificate Alum

What makes this unique?

The GCAG encourages students to link practice and research to improve the quality of life of older adults. Our nationally recognized faculty are dedicated to mentoring students in their chosen paths through the field; be it into academic research and publishing in the field of aging, or innovating practice methods in the care of older adults in the community.

“The certificate gave me a great understanding of the role and effects of caregiving, knowledge of policy related to older adults, illnesses, and developmental issues of older adults including cognitive changes. It also gave a well-rounded understanding of assessing older adults in their homes and clinical settings.”

Certificate Alum

What does the certificate entail?

Required Core Courses (6 credits)

  • Processes of Aging (Nursing 760 – 3 credits, online) Sample Syllabus
  • Social Issue and Policy Analysis: Age and Community-Policy to Practice (Social Work 851 – 3 credits) Sample Syllabus

Choice Core Courses (6 credits)

Select 6 credits from among the following:

  • The Educational Dimensions of Practice with Older Adults (Administrative Leadership 547 – 3 credits) Sample Syllabus
  • Psychology of Aging (Psychology 680 – 3 credits) Sample Syllabus
  • Social Gerontology (Social Work 685 – 3 credits) Sample Syllabus
  • Death and Dying (Social Work 680 – 3 credits) Sample Syllabus
  • Creativity in Health Settings (Theatre 699 – 3 credits)

Electives (6 credits)

Each student works individually with the Certificate Coordinator to approve the selection of 6 credits from the remaining Choice Core classes and additional electives, which could include a practicum in the student’s home department or area of choice.

Click here for an approved list of courses.

Please note that there is a time limit of three years from initial enrollment for completion of the certificate program.

How to Apply

Students must:

Career Opportunities

This certification program provides you with the knowledge and skills to effectively meet the needs of the aging population in a wide range of careers. There are opportunities in nursing, teaching, service, administration, and research that focus on the needs and interests of older adults. These opportunities also exist within government programs and agencies; public and private institutions that provide health, education, and social services; research centers; special interest groups; colleges and universities; and corporate human resources divisions. Click here for more information on Careers in Aging.


Certificate Coordinator

Lori Becker
Education Coordinator
Phone: 414-229-7316


Center for Aging & Translational Research
University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
Phone: 414-229-7313


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