Gerontology | Certificate

Become a Gerontologist

Pacific University’s online graduate certificate program in gerontology for the healthcare professional is a post-baccalaureate program designed for many different employment opportunities including leadership, entrepreneurship, aging specialist, and health educator. Learn more about opportunities in Why Study Aging (pdf).

Our program develops ethical, visionary leaders who want to advance their knowledge and skills to improve societal health and well-being in the aging population.

Why Study Gerontology at Pacific University

The graduate certificate program in gerontology for the healthcare professional has a unique mission to foster and facilitate transdisciplinary education that enhances the quality of life of older adults. The certificate program emphasizes the science of aging and the experience of aging. The program focuses on:

  • health and aging
  • elder rights and health disparity in aging
  • creating change in the healthcare environment by developing, leading and managing innovative programs to better serve older adults

At Pacific, we focus on authentic learning, or developing real-life knowledge and skills. The program encourages students to create tangible and useful products to be shared with their world. In the gerontology program, students develop and implement ideas in their own workplaces. Pacific professors provide motivational challenges. They nurture and provide the necessary criteria, planning, timelines, resources and support to accommodate student success.

Here, the professor guides and facilitates. Assignments become processes for creating change and better outcomes in services to older adults. The capstone project is a real-life task that provides the learner with opportunities to connect with the real world.

Instead of vicariously discussing topics and regurgitating information in a traditional way on an exam, Pacific’s gerontology program provides learners with support to achieve a tangible, useful product worth sharing with their community and their world.

Apply Now

For more information, visit Apply Now or view the Application (pdf)

Program Features

  • 18 credits (six courses completed in 15 months)
  • Online format designed to meet the needs of a working professional
  • Interdisciplinary faculty and students
  • Evidence-based approach
  • Courses designed to empower students to create change in their work environment
  • Flexible program start date

Explore our NEW Joint-Degree Option

  • Master of Healthcare Administration degree and Gerontology Certificate completed concurrently.
  • Download our sample schedule (dates TBD) and review course curriculum for MHA.

For more information on the Gerontology program and other School of Healthcare Administration programs, download our informative brochure.

Gainful Employment Disclosure

The Gerontology Program is designed to provide working professionals and other health professions students an opportunity to receive their certificate in gerontology simultaneously in an online environment.

  • Students take six courses for a total of 18 credits.
  • Curriculum culminates in a final capstone project that optimizes care and/or care environments for older adults
  • Courses build upon each other, thus students are expected to complete the curriculum in sequence
  • All courses are completed online, with no residential requirements
  • Class size limited to 20 students.

Gerontology Certificate

Fall 2016


Course Title

First Year Courses
Aug 29- Oct 21

GERO-501: Interdisciplinary Approaches to Aging Research

Oct 24 - Dec 12

GERO-550: Aging Brain and Body*

Second Year Courses

Aug 29- Oct 21

GERO-625: Health Disparity in Aging

Oct 24 - Dec 12

GERO-650: Capstone Course: Creating Change*


Spring 2017


Course Title

Jan 9 - Feb 24

GERO-525: Health Literacy and Communication

Mar 6 - April 28

GERO-575: Dementia and Memory*

*Some courses may be longer to accommodate Spring and Thanksgiving breaks.


Gerontology Certificate / Master of Healthcare Administration Joint-Degree Option

First Year: Fall

Course Number

Course Title

MHA 625

Accounting and Finance I

GERO 501

Interdisciplinary Approaches to Aging Research
GERO 550

Aging Brain and Body

First Year: Spring

Course Number

Course Title

MHA 630

Healthcare Finance II

MHA 615

Healthcare Strategic Planning & Marketing

GERO 525

Health Literacy and Communications

First Year: Summer

Course Number

Course Title

MHA 610

Organizational Behavior in Healthcare Systems

MHA 530

Negotiations and Conflict Resolution

Internship, Independent Study or Applied Research Project


Second Year: Fall

Course Number

Course Title

MHA 601

Introduction to Executive Leadership and Ethics

MHA 605

Healthcare Management Strategies
GERO 625

Health Disparity and Aging

Second Year: Spring

Course Number

Course Title

MHA 620

Healthcare Operations Management
MHA 550

Quality Management in Healthcare

GERO 575

Dementia and Memory

Second Year: Summer

Course Number

Course Title

  Internship; Independent Study; Applied Research Project
GERO 650

Capstone Course: Creating Change


Courses must be completed within four years of entering the program. See our Program Requirements for more information.