Illinois Explore Campus Gerontology Graduate Programs and Schools
Considering Campus Gerontology Graduate Programs that could help you achieve your goals of pursuing a gerontologist? Now’s the time to weigh your program options and decide on a graduate program that may suit your needs. You might have a few choices…but for students who hope to get involved on campus and be part of an active cohort while engaging in the study of aging, a traditional, campus-based program could be the way to go. Let’s get started learning about gerontology programs that may be perfect for you!
In the simplest terms, gerontology is the study of old people. Gerontologists are medical scientists who conduct research and experiments related to aging. They may seek to understand the biology of growing older, in addition to trying to improve life for elderly populations. Most medical scientists, like gerontologists, work in research, as well as at colleges, universities, and hospitals. But how does one prepare to pursue a career as a gerontologist? Typically, they earn a PhD, which may be in biology or another life science; however, there may be other options, which we’ll explore below![ii] Finally, keep in mind that about 45% of medical scientists complete postdoctoral training in order to pursue a professional role.[iii] The academic path you choose may depend on your specific career goal – whether that’s conducting clinical studies, working directly with elderly patients, or something else entirely!
Types of gerontology graduate programs
Choose from several Campus Gerontology Graduate Programs that may align with your career goals:
PhD in Gerontology[ii] – A PhD is typically the most common degree for medical scientists like gerontologists. This research-heavy program may introduce you to working in a laboratory, designing your own projects and
experiments, analyzing data, and more. Usually, you’ll have to research, write, and defend a thesis.
Dual degree in Gerontology[ii] – This degree option may allow you to pair a PhD with a specialized medical degree, like an M.D. (Medical Doctor) or D.O. (Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine.) If you hope to learn the clinical skills of a physician in addition to exploring the study of aging, this kind of program may be worth checking out.
Master’s degree in Gerontology – A master’s degree program may offer an alternate path to your gerontology career goals…such as if you are interested in a geriatric nursing role. Though a doctoral degree may be more common, about 20% of medical scientists reported earning a master’s degree as their highest level of education. iii You may be able to choose from an M.A. (Master of Arts), an M.S. (Master or Science), or other program options.
Graduate Certificate in Gerontology – If you’re working in a field like health or social services but are hoping to work with older adults or pursue ways to improve quality of life for the elderly, perhaps a earning graduate certificate is the choice for you. This option may be a good way to build on prior education and career experience while exploring a specific track.
How do I pick a school of gerontology?
Wondering how to evaluate Campus Gerontology Graduate Programs? Finding a program that suits your needs may seem like an overwhelming task…especially if you’re not quite sure what to look for! Here are some criteria to consider as you search for the school of gerontology that’s perfect for you.
Accredited gerontology graduate programs[iv] – accreditation by a national or regional accrediting body recognized by the U.S. Department of Education is an important trait to look for in a school of gerontology. Accreditation may indicate that a degree program upholds standards of education required by potential employers in your field of study. In addition, students eligible for federal financial aid must choose accredited programs. Check with your prospective gerontology program to make sure it measures up!
Graduation and retention rates[iv]– Checking out a few statistics, like the percentage of students who succeed in earning their degrees, may be another way to evaluate your prospective school of gerontology. Of course, numbers don’t always tell the whole story…but a reputation for satisfied and successful students certainly sounds like a positive thing in a gerontology graduate school!
School location and campus – Do you want to study close to home, or have you always dreamed of moving across the country to attend grad school? Do you like the idea of studying in a major metropolitan area, or are the suburbs more your speed? Start by identifying the qualities you are looking for in a graduate school location. Consider visiting your prospective school of gerontology to get a feel for campus life, nearby cultural activities, and local flavor.
Potential Benefits of Campus Gerontology Graduate Programs
Weighing the potential benefits of Campus Gerontology Graduate Programs over an online school? While both options may have their pluses, here are a few points that may be in favor of traditional, campus-based learning.
Teamwork and camaraderie – Sure, grad students may spend a lot of time working in the lab or conducting independent research. But earning your degree alongside a supportive cohort just might be a great way to make connections, share ideas, and gain inspiration. Plus, working with peers could be good practice for a prospective career.
Fun Fact: 76% of medical scientists (like gerontologists) said working with a group or team was “extremely important” to the role.[iii]
Access to campus resources and buildings – Many gerontology graduate programs emphasize both original research on the study of aging and laboratory work. ii Choosing a campus-based program may mean easier access to laboratories and lab equipment, as well as the library and any other campus resources you may need!
Traditional learning style – Some students may prefer face-to-face instruction, as well as personal interaction with professors. If that’s your style, a campus-based program may suit your needs.
The Next Step is Yours!
If you’re ready to begin exploring Campus Gerontology Graduate Programs that may be the perfect fit, check out a few of your potential options, below. See a school you’re interested in? Click for more details about how the program could help you pursue your goals in gerontology!
Sources: [i] bls.gov/ooh/life-physical-and-social-science/medical-scientists.htm#tab-2 | [ii] bls.gov/ooh/life-physical-and-social-science/medical-scientists.htm#tab-4 | [iii] onetonline.org/link/summary/19-1042.00 | [iv] studentaid.ed.gov/sa/prepare-for-college/choosing-schools/consider#accreditation
- Chicago, ILChicago, IL
Northwestern University School of Continuing Studies
Northwestern's 18 month program is accredited by the ABGC, and provides students with the competencies necessary to become a practicing genetic counse...
- Evanston, IL
- Chicago, ILChicago, IL
NPs are advanced practice nurses who work independently and collaboratively to diagnose and treat a wide variety of patients.
- Chicago, ILChicago, IL
Northeastern Illinois University
M.A. in Gerontology is to contributes to the quality of life of older adults through education, research and community service.
- Dekalb, ILDekalb, IL
Northern Illinois University
- Charleston, ILCharleston, IL
Eastern Illinois University
The purpose of this multi-disciplinary program is to provide an in-depth study of Gerontology.
- Schaumburg, ILSchaumburg, IL
- River Forest, ILRiver Forest, IL
Concordia University - Chicago
Concordia University Chicago's master of arts in gerontology is nationally recognized by the Association for Gerontology in Higher Education (AGHE). Gerontology programs at Concordia-Chicago are aligned with AGHE’s nat...
- River Forest, IL