Gerontology Certificate

Purpose of the Program

The Certificate Program is a 12 credit multi-disciplinary program administered through the School of Social Work. The program is designed to prepare graduate students, individual practitioners, and professionals to work in the field of aging in a variety of settings, integrating gerontology into the student's primary discipline. Adding the gerontology certificate to existing educational and/or work experience is likely to enhance an individual's career opportunities and options.

Read the university's gainful employment disclosure on this program.


For admission into the Graduate Gerontology Certificate Program, the applicant must satisfy the following requirements:

  1. Meet Wayne State University Graduate School admission standards
  2. Hold a master's degree from an accredited educational institution or be actively pursuing a master's or doctoral degree at Wayne State University
  3. Have a combined undergraduate and graduate GPA of 2.75 or above on a 4.0 scale or have completed a graduate degree at Wayne State University.

Program Requirements

To earn the Graduate Gerontology Certificate, the student must successfully complete 12 credits of approved courses for the Certificate Program. Up to nine of the 12 credits may be applied to both the Certificate and the graduate degree, subject to approval of the relevant academic department and the graduate school. 

There is a three year-limit in which to meet certificate program requirements.

Students will work with their advisor to develop a plan for their coursework based on their background and career goals. Most students enroll in one or two courses per term. Courses are offered by several departments throughout the University and most are offered at least once per year. 

For students that have already completed a master's degree, the certificate is awarded when they have met all the requirements. For students earning the certificate concurrently with a master's or graduate degree, the certificate is awarded when all the requirements of the certificate and the degree have been met.

Program Goals

Completion of the program will develop and/or enhance knowledge in a number of areas to include:

  1. Psychological aspects of aging in the context of human development
  2. Aging in a political and economic context
  3. Health, biological and physiological aspects of aging
  4. Provisions of services to older persons in a variety of settings
  5. Communication with older persons
  6. Public policy and administration of programs for older adults.


Applications are accepted throughout the year and students may begin the program during any semester. Please apply here Graduate Admissions application. Once you apply please make an appointment with Naelah Burks, to complete your advising form.


Click here for easily printed additional program information.

For questions regarding the gerontology certificate, contact the Gerontology Certificate Coordinator, Joy Ernst, PhD at or Lawrence Robinson, Program Advisor at

For additional information on local and national senior services, careers in aging, elder care legislation and more view our Links to Senior Services