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Graduate Certificate


Certificate Overview

The Center for Gerontology studies aging from a multidisciplinary perspective, with a focus on both typical and problematic aspects of aging. Certificate students complete courses in the social, psychological, and physical aspects of aging. They may also complete a practicum and research on a topic in gerontology. Students normally take the certificate courses as part of their degree plan of study.


Why choose this program?

  • The Graduate Certificate in Gerontology is a university-approved program of advanced study offered by the Center for Gerontology. 
  • The Graduate Certificate in Gerontology distinguishes you as a knowledgeable, skilled, and committed professional in the field of aging. Numerous employment opportunities in teaching, service, administration, and research that focus on older adults’ needs and interests can be found in government programs and agencies; public and private institutions that provide health, education, and social services; research centers; special interest groups and associations; colleges and universities; and corporate human resources divisions.
  • Our program was established in 1977-78 and have over 94 affiliate faculty members.
  • Our small program enables students to get individualized attention with award-winning and research active faculty. 
  • The Center for Gerontology is designated a Collaborating Centre by the International Association for Gerontology and Geriatrics, signifying that the center meets the association’s criteria for excellence, including being a sustainable university-level research center, offering a gerontology training program, engaging in research resulting in peer-reviewed publications, and having multiple research affiliates.

What You'll Study

The required minimum of 9 credits focus on three core gerontology competency domains, namely aging processes and outcomes related to (1) biological changes and health, (2) dimensions of psychological functioning, and (3) contemporary social and societal issues. The principal goal of the curriculum is to offer learning experiences consistent with the recommendations of the Association for Gerontology in Higher Education.

The Graduate Certificate in Gerontology requires 9 credits:

• HD 5104  Adult Development & Aging I

• PHS 5714  Health of the Elderly

• HD 5114  Adult Development & Aging II

• SOC 5714  Aging in Social Context

• 5904  Project and Report

• 5964  Practicum/Field Study

• Other approved course; assignments will be focused on gerontology

An optional practicum or field study may be arranged through the student's academic department or the Center for Gerontology. The contract or letter of agreement with the host agency is reviewed and signed by the Center's director, the student, an agency representative, and the faculty supervisor before the experience occurs in order for credit to be granted. A copy of the final written report on the internship or field study must be submitted to the Center for Gerontology for the student's file. See Practicum Guidelines for more details.

The research topic of the thesis or dissertation must be on an issue in adult development and aging. This requirement is not meant to supersede the authority of the student's committee. Its aim is to assure that an issue in gerontology is examined in the research. To meet this requirement:

Meet with the center associate director to discuss the topic of the thesis/dissertation before completing the proposal.

After the advisory committee has approved the final draft of the thesis/dissertation, submit a signed cover sheet and abstract to the Center for Gerontology.

New to Virginia Tech (Certificate Applicants Only):

International  Application Deadlines:

  • Fall: April 1st
  • Spring: Sep 1st

Domestic (Blacksburg Campus Only) Application Deadlines:

  • Fall: Aug 1st
  • Spring: Jan 1st 

Pamela Teaster, Program Director
203 Grove Lane
Blacksburg, VA 24061

Cynthia G. Booth, Program Coordinator
Center for Gerontology
230 Grove Lane
Blacksburg VA. 24061

Faculty in Gerontology