Undergraduate Program

Gerontology Interdisciplinary Minor

What is gerontology?

The Gerontology Interdisciplinary Minor helps students to develop an understanding of the aging process, including the biological, psychological and social aspects of adult development and aging. This minor is offered on campus and online..

Why should students earn a minor in gerontology?

The United States Administration on Aging reports that by 2030 one in five individuals will be age 65 years and older. Furthermore, it has been estimated that there will be 70 million older persons, more than twice the number as in 1999. Because of the “Graying” of America, qualified and well trained professionals will be greatly needed to support successful aging and older adults.

What career choices do students enrolled in the gerontology minor pursue?

Students who earn a minor in gerontology in addition to their bachelor’s degree may pursue employment opportunities as: an adult educator focusing on continuing education and career development; dietitian for older adults; elder law advocate; exercise physiologist, geriatric care manager, or housing specialist focusing on the needs of older adults; long-term care administrator; occupational, physical, and speech therapist focusing on the needs of older adults; physician’s assistant, geriatric clinician, public relations specialist, recreation therapist/activities director in a long-term care facility, or retirement counselor. Please note this is not an exhaustive list of employment opportunities and job titles. Other career choices can, of course, be pursued with a gerontology minor.

What do gerontology students and alumni say about the program?

Enrolled students and alumni find that the minor gives graduates many learning and career opportunities. One student stated that she is “able to interact with individuals that have experienced the things [she has] only read about in text books.” Another student, who was hired full-time in a gerontology related position before graduation, states that “the [gerontology minor] gave [her] a better understanding of older adults on many different levels. Now that [she has] a job working in long-term care, [she] can see how nutrition, exercise, physical limitations and other factors work together to impact individuals.”

What scholarships are available for gerontology students?

Every year the College of Health and Human Sciences awards scholarships to students enrolled in the gerontology minor. These scholarships are funded by the Columbine Health Systems of Fort Collins. Only students who are enrolled in the minor and who have taken or are enrolled to take HDFS 201: Perspectives in Gerontology are eligible to apply for these scholarships. In addition, there are state and national scholarships in gerontology for which students may apply with the support of CSU academic faculty.

What are the Gerontology Interdisciplinary Minor requirements?

Students pursuing an undergraduate or post-baccalaureate Gerontology Interdisciplinary Minor are required to take all of the following courses and 5 to 8 elective credits.

Required Courses (15 credits):

HDFS 201 Perspectives in Gerontology (fall only course on campus) (3 cr.)

FSHN 444 Nutrition and Aging (online course on Canvas) (1 cr.) or FSHN 459 Nutrition and the Life Cycle (3 cr.)

HDFS 312 Adult Development: Middle Age and Aging (3 cr.)

HES 434 Physical Activity throughout the Lifespan (3 cr.) (or previously taken HES 444 Successful Aging)

SOWK 371E Social Gerontology (spring only course on campus) (3 cr.)

Practicum or internship (3 cr.)*

*Please note: The practicum or internship placement site must directly relate to the field of adulthood and aging. Students are required to complete 135 contact hours over the course of the semester. Please see an HDFS major advisor for more details, placement advising, and course prefix and number.

Elective Courses (6 to 8 credits):

HDFS 332 Death, Dying and Grief (3 cr.)

HDFS 402 Families Studies (3 cr.)

HDFS 403 Families in the Legal Environment (3 cr.)

HDFS 412 Mental and Physical Health in Adulthood (3 cr.)

BMS 300 Principles of Human Physiology (4 cr.)

BZ 433 Behavioral Genetics (3 cr.)

FSHN 450 Medical Nutrition Therapy (5 cr.)

FSHN 451 Community Nutrition (3 cr.)

HES 345 Population Heath and Disease Prevention (3 cr.)

LIFE 201 Introductory Genetics (3 cr.)

LIFE 210 Intro to Eukaryotic Cell Biology (3 cr.)

MU 241 Introduction to Music Therapy (3 cr.)

OT 355 The Disability Experience in Society (2 cr.)

PHIL 305C Philosophical Issues: Caring Professions (3 cr.)

PHIL 366 Philosophy of Aging (3 cr.)

PSY 296 Group Study – Psychology of Aging (3 cr.)

PSY 320 Abnormal Psychology (3 cr.)

PSY 452 Cognitive Psychology (3 cr.)

PSY 496 Group Study - Psychology of Aging (3 cr.)

SOC 330 Social Stratification (3 cr.)

SOWK 371C Social Work with Special Populations - Adult Offenders (3 cr.)

SOWK 371D Substance Abusers (3 cr.)

SOWK 410 Social Welfare Policy (3 cr.)

Other Electives: (please discuss with an HDFS major advisor)

What internship opportunities are available for gerontology students?

Students can select from a list of various placement sites. These include but are not limited to placements in the local Fort Collins community. For example, placement sites include Columbine Health Systems, Elderhaus Adult Day Services, Fort Collins Senior Center, Hospice of Larimer County, and PVH Aspen Club. Please consult with an HDFS major advisor to discuss appropriate internship sites for you.

How can students learn more about the Gerontology Interdisciplinary Minor?

HDFS students should discuss the minor with their assigned HDFS advisor. Students not in the HDFS major are encouraged to set-up an appointment with the HDFS Undergraduate Advising Director to discuss the program and career opportunities in gerontology. Please use the HDFS Advising Online Scheduler to schedule an appointment.

How can students enroll in the Gerontology Interdisciplinary Minor?

HDFS students can add the minor during an appointment with their assigned HDFS advisor. Students not in the HDFS major can meet with the HDFS Undergraduate Advising Director to enroll in the minor. Please use the HDFS Advising Online Scheduler to schedule an appointment to add the minor.