Feb 25, 2024  
USC Catalogue 2020-2021 
USC Catalogue 2020-2021 [ARCHIVED CATALOGUE]

Gerontology (MS)


The Master of Science in Gerontology prepares graduates to assume major leadership roles in the field of aging, primarily in the planning, administration and evaluation of programs in the private and public sectors, as well as executive positions in the delivery of direct services to older people and their families and in the instruction of older adults and service providers. The Master of Science in Gerontology requires 44 units of course work. This includes 32 units of required courses and 12 units of electives. As part of this curriculum, a field practicum assures that these skills can be applied in agencies and institutional settings.

All students take core courses in physiological, psychological, sociological, social policy and professional issues relating to aging, as well as research methods and the capstone course.

The course work includes instruction on the processes of aging and professional courses designed to develop the skills needed for practice. The field practicum includes one or two semesters of practical experience working in an organizational setting.

Continuous registration in the program is required. There is a five year completion time limit for the degree. Leaves of absence are available for limited times and are excluded from the total time limit. A maximum of two absences (one year each) is allowed. Most courses are offered on campus and online.

Prerequisites for Admission

Students applying for admission to the Master of Science in Gerontology program must have a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university. In selecting applicants for admission, the School of Gerontology considers both academic potential (as reflected in undergraduate study or scores on the Graduate Record Examinations) and professional potential (as reflected in experience, references and career goals). The school requests information from applicants to supplement that supplied by the USC Application for Graduate Admission. Such supplemental information usually includes a resume, statement of interest in gerontology and letters of reference. Interviews may be required.

Probation and Disqualification

Probation and Warning: Any graduate student whose cumulative or semester grade point average in the university falls below B (3.0) will be placed on academic probation. A graduate student whose semester average falls below B (3.0) but whose cumulative grade point average in the university is 3.0 (A = 4.0) or higher will be placed on academic warning.

Disqualification: A graduate student on academic probation will be disqualified if his or her cumulative record accumulates more than 12 units of C work. A graduate student, whether on probation or not, will be subject to disqualification if the Student Affairs Committee of the USC Leonard Davis School at any time determines deficiency in academic achievement.

Common Requirements

All candidates for the Master of Science degree must complete the following common requirements:

Total units: 28

Additional Requirements

Common requirements for all programs include the 28 required units and GERO 555 , totaling 32 units. In addition, each candidate must complete the 12 units of electives chosen from the complete list of electives approved by the student’s adviser.

Field Practicum

The field practicum provides the opportunity for the student to gain valuable experience and develop needed skills by working in a community agency or institution. It involves a minimum of 240 hours of involvement. Students may elect to take an additional 4 units of GERO 591 Field Practicum  as an elective.

Field placement assignments are made by the internship coordinator of the school in consultation with the student and in accordance with the resources available in the community. Every effort is made to secure placement, which will reflect the student’s capacity to assume the responsibilities of a professional in gerontology. Evaluations of the student’s performance are sent to the school by the community agency; the student receives a grade of credit/no credit in GERO 591 Field Practicum .