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Admissions for the Graduate Certificate in Gerontology will be paused for the 2022 - 2023 Academic Year.

The objective of the Graduate Certificate in Gerontology is to prepare both graduate students and practicing professionals to assume key roles in improving the quality of life for older adults and furthering understanding of the aging process and the status of older adults.

The Graduate Certificate in Gerontology offers students and professionals specialized training in aging from a multi- and inter-disciplinary perspective. Persons working toward their Certificate include:

  • Graduate students preparing for careers in public service and program administration that relate to understanding and meeting the needs of the older population;
  • Graduate students in the basic and applied sciences, such as biology or chemistry, who are interested in the study of aging;
  • Students seeking professional degrees in human service professions, such as nursing, pharmacy, physician assistant studies, physical therapy, or social work who plan to provide specialty services to older adults;
  • Professionals with an interest in the field of aging who desire further course work in gerontology to enhance their professional development. 

Applicants for admission to the Graduate Certificate in Gerontology must be approved for admission by the Certificate Director, who shall notify the Graduate School of the student’s admission. Approval of the application occurs in collaboration with the Certificate Director and an interprofessional advisory committee. The advisory committee includes members from the UK Colleges of Arts & Sciences, Pharmacy, Health Sciences, and Public Health, among others. 

Admission to or award of a Graduate Certificate in Gerontology does not guarantee admission to a degree program in the same or any other discipline. 

Application Process

Students already enrolled in a graduate degree program may apply at any time. For those not currently enrolled please follow the Graduate School deadlines and all application materials must be received at least one month before the semester you plan to begin your coursework.

Pre-approved Certificate courses already completed may count toward the curriculum requirements (This does not include practicum or research projects.) Requests to include these courses are made on the application. No more than six hours previously completed at UK can be counted toward the Certificate.

Students must apply to the UK Graduate School.  Graduate School application deadlines and forms may be obtained through their website at:

Official transcripts:

Official transcripts are required for undergraduate and graduate work from universities other than the University of Kentucky. A GPA of 3.0 is required for admission.

Other requirements:

Two letters of recommendation

  • The student must have letters submitted on their behalf from two (2) sources. If you are currently pursuing a graduate degree, one reference must be from a faculty member in your academic department.

Personal statement

  • Describe any work experience relevant to Gerontology.
  • Briefly describe (a) your reason(s) for interest in the Graduate Certificate in Gerontology, (b) your career goals in relation to Gerontology and (c) the specific topic in Gerontology in which you are most interested and why.


Graduate School Certificate Application


The Graduate Certificate in Gerontology is awarded to individuals who complete 15 graduate credit hours in an approved multi- and inter-disciplinary curriculum in gerontology. This includes four classes (12 credit total) and one practicum or research project (3 credits).

Twelve hours of coursework must include at least one course (3 hours) in each of the following areas:

  • Biomedical and Health Sciences (B)
  • Social and Behavioral Sciences (S)
  • Policy, Planning and Ethics (P)

Students must receive an A or B in all Certificate coursework.

You may petition the Director of the Graduate Certificate in Gerontology to take a course not listed below and have it count toward your Graduate Certificate.  In addition to regularly taught courses, you may petition for special topics, guided readings, or guided research courses to be counted toward the Certificate. The requested course must have substantial gerontological content in order to be accepted for certificate credit.  In cases where there is any ambiguity regarding the degree of gerontological content, the Director of the Graduate Certificate will refer the petition to the Graduate Certificate Committee, which will render a decision on the applicability of the course. 

If you have any questions regarding a particular course, do not hesitate to contact the Director of the Graduate Certificate, Dr. Beth Hunter, at

Please note that, in all cases, approval to count a non-listed course toward the Graduate Certificate in Gerontology, permission must be obtained prior to taking the course.

Required Courses

GRN 601(formerly GRN 770) Aging in Contemporary Society (3hr) (S, P) (Spring)

GRN 602 Practicum in Gerontology

Regularly Taught Electives

GRN 775 - Clinical Gerontology (3 hrs) (Fall) (B)

PPS 813 - Geriatric Pharmacy (3 hrs) (Fall) (B)

GRN 585- Aging and Environment (3 hrs) (Fall) (S)

GRN 662 Long Term Care and an Aging Society (3 hrs) (Spring) (P, S)

PAS 620 Overview of Health Care Delivery Systems (3 Hrs) (Spring) (P)

PAS 640 Survey of Geriatric Medicine (3 hrs) (Summer- 4 weeks) (B)

GRN 786- Independent Readings in Gerontology (1-3 hrs) (Spring, Summer, Fall) (B, P, S)

GRN 610- Psychology of Aging (3 hrs) (Fall-biannually) (S,B)

Study Abroad Opportunities

HSE 670 Exploring health and care of older adults-Great Britain, 2 weeks every June (3hr) (Summer) (P)

FAM 759 Education Abroad, aging focus, 10 days, not available yearly, contact the Family Studies Department (Spring) (S)

Practicum or Research

Course work must be complemented by a 3 hour applied experience. This may be either a field placement practicum or a research project conducted under the supervision of a faculty member.

Option 1: Field Experience - GRN 602 - Certificate Practicum in Gerontology

A practicum focused on aging of a minimum of 120 hours will satisfy the field experience option. This practicum can be completed in conjunction with a practicum requirement from a degree program, or can be arranged independently for the Certificate.

Students will work with a faculty advisor during the proposal stage and as they develop a prospectus for their practicum. Proposals must be submitted to the Certificate Director prior to beginning work.

Once the proposal has been approved, work may begin. For a practicum, it is usual practice for the on-site supervisor to meet with the student weekly to offer feedback and discuss his/her progress toward the goals and objectives of the experience.

At the midpoint of the field experience (completion of 60 hours) a mid-practicum assessment is to be provided by the student and on-site supervisor to formally evaluate progress in meeting the goals of the practicum. Upon completion of the field experience, the on-site supervisor is asked to complete an overall evaluation. Students are required to submit a final report/evaluation with a copy of any materials developed during the practicum to the Certificate Director for final approval.

Option 2: Research Project - GRN 785 - Independent Research in Gerontology

An independent research project may be completed to fulfill the three (3) hour applied component of the graduate certificate. Students will work with a member of the Graduate Center for Gerontology core or affiliate faculty (for list of Graduate Center Core and Affiliate Faculty members click here) in developing a research proposal and conducting an applied research project in gerontology or geriatrics. Students may petition the Graduate Certificate Committee (through the Program Director or Program Coordinator) for approval of another appropriate faculty member to serve as the preceptor of their research.

Proposals for research projects (to be approved by the Graduate Certificate Committee) must utilize the Graduate Certificate in Gerontology Research Project Proposal form and should include a statement on the purpose of the research and how it fits into the student’s certificate or overall educational goals, a list of objectives, a description of the research design and methodology to be employed, study population, procedures of analysis, timetable, and a statement of proposed outcomes/products anticipated to result from the research; e.g. a final report or article of publishable quality.

Once the proposal has been approved, and appropriate signed Institutional Review Board approval has been received, work may begin. It is expected that each student will meet with their preceptor on a regular basis (normally at least monthly) during the conduct of the research project.

Upon completion of the research experience students are required to submit a final report/evaluation with a copy of materials developed during the research project to the Director or Program Coordinator. In addition, the faculty preceptor will submit a final report/evaluation. These reports will be submitted to the Graduate Certificate Committee for final approval.