Program Description

Gerontology is the comprehensive study of aging across lifespans, with a focus on the specific issues of older persons and their families. Gerontology is an interdisciplinary field covering the fields of biology, health and health care, policy, law, and other behavioral and social sciences. This graduate certificate program combines theoretical and applied coursework in aging with a graduate curriculum in any department. Because gerontology is multidisciplinary, students must take coursework outside of their major field.

What it costs

The total cost for this program is $762.00 per credit hour for VA state residents or $1,650.00 per credit hour for Non-VA residents. See the Cost tab below for a breakdown of tuition and fees. All of Mason’s tuition rates and fees can be found on our Student Accounts site.

Application Deadline

This program has an application deadline of April 1 for Fall and November 1 for Spring. For all application information and deadlines, see the Admissions site.

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Program Summary

100 Percent Online

Program: Gerontology

Degree: Graduate Certificate

College/School: College of Health and Human Services

Credits: 15 total

Who should apply?

A graduate certificate in gerontology is ideal for social workers and other professionals or graduate students seeking additional training on topics of aging. This certificate will provide you with important knowledge and skills to better serve the older adult population in a wide range of careers – as an elder law attorney, a certified geriatric pharmacist, a strategic policy analyst, an educational gerontologist, and much more. Older adults are the fastest growing sector of today’s population and deserve attention by practitioners, policy makers, and researchers alike.

Why choose George Mason?

Studying gerontology at George Mason University provides you with many unique opportunities such as:

  • Learning from some of the top gerontologists in the country. Mason faculty have received awards and grants from the National Institute on Aging, the Virginia Center on Aging, HRSA, and many other government agencies and foundations.
  • Collaborating on funded research projects. Faculty from a variety of departments and academic backgrounds are working on projects related to aging. They will provide you with a holistic view of the field and diverse research opportunities.
  • Participating in the development of inter-generational services and programs. Students may help develop evidence-based training modules for long-term care workers around dementia, depression, and delirium; create programs for kinship care families; and research aging-related projects.
  • Traveling internationally to study aging-related programs and policies.

This graduate certificate combines theoretical and applied coursework in aging with the student’s graduate curriculum in any department. Because gerontology is by definition multidisciplinary, students are required to take coursework outside their major field. Program requirements may change; please refer to the Mason Course Catalog for the most up-to-date requirements.

Requirements: 15 credits total

  • 12 credits core courses
  • 3 credits elective courses

Sufficient courses are offered to complete the entire program online. Most courses are delivered asynchronously and offerings vary by semester. Students must complete coursework with a minimum GPA of 3.00.

Core Courses (12 credits)

  • HHS 646 Social Gerontology | 3 credits
  • SOCW 689 Clinical Practice with Older Adults | 3 credits
  • SOCW 655 Aging Programs and Policies | 3 credits
  • HHS648 Aging and Health | 3 credits

Electives (3 credits)

Choose one of the following:

  • SOCW 655 Aging Problems and Policies
  • PSYC 614 The Psychology of Aging | 3 credits

Departments may offer special topics courses that students can substitute for electives. Please contact Cathy Tompkins ( for more information.

Tuition (2019-2020)

Virginia Resident$581.00
Non-Virginia Resident$1,469.00
Distance Learning Fee$35.00
Mandatory Student Fee$146.00
Total Cost per Credit for VA Residents$762.00
Total Cost per Credit for Non-VA Residents$1,650.00
Graduate New Student Fee$60 (non-refundable, one-time fee)

Please Note: In addition to the tuition and fees described above, various course and lab fees may be assessed depending on the course(s) in which the student is enrolled. Please refer to the Students Accounts Office website for more information on tuition and fees.

Financial Aid

For information on loans and scholarships, visit the Office of Student Financial Aid. For information regarding grants, tuition waivers and other merit aid, please inquire with your graduate department. Also, there are gerontology scholarships available for students who are a part of the aging studies minor or gerontology certificate programs.

Career Opportunities

This certificate will prepare you for careers in a variety of organizations such as:

  • Adult Day Care Centers
  • Assisted Living Centers
  • Continuing Care Retirement Communities
  • Federal, State, and local government agencies
  • Legal offices
  • Pharmacies
  • Retirement Communities

Careers you may consider after completion of this certificate include:

  • Kinship Care Provider
  • Corporate Gerontologist
  • Senior Center Director
  • Geriatric Nurse
  • Gerontological Social Worker
  • Geriatrician (MD)

As a Mason student, you may also contact the George Mason Career Services center for more career information and counseling.

Program ContactCathy Tompkins
Department of Social Work
Phone: (703) 993-2838
College ContactCollege of Health and Human Services (CHHS)
Graduate Admissions
Phone: (703) 993-1736
Program Website
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All applicants should review College of Health and Human Services (CHHS) Graduate Application Requirements. For international applicants, see guidelines for International Graduate Requirements.


Application Materials

  • Graduate application
  • Application fee
  • Official transcript from all colleges and universities attended
  • Resume
  • Three letters of recommendation
  • Goals statement

If you have any questions during the application process, please contact the CHHS Office of Graduate Admissions at or 703-993-1736.