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Prepare to pursue a fulfilling career working with the fastest growing segment of the population, adults age 65 or older.

Program Type

Undergraduate Certificate

Semester Start

Fall, Spring

Study Options


Minimum Duration

9 Months

UMass Boston’s award-winning Frank J. Manning Undergraduate Certificate in Gerontology focuses on training and preparing you to pursue a fulfilling career working with the fastest growing segment of the population, adults age 65 or older. It’s designed for students and professionals who want to hone their skills and add a certification to their résumé. Explore the issues and trends affecting quality of life for aging populations. Learn how to utilize the existing network of major health and social welfare programs and services available for older adults. Gain an understanding of the aging network and aging process through direct service, research, field placements, social and public policy, and legislative advocacy for older people. Apply these skills to virtually any field — from advocacy to research to administration and management, and more. You can also apply certificate credit towards a BA in Global Aging and Life Course Studies.

This certificate program is named after Frank J. Manning, a key figure in the senior power movement and founding member of the Legislative Council of Older Americans.


  • This program consists of six 3-credit courses, or 18 credits.
  • Online tuition is $410 per credit.
  • Additional fees total approximately $120.
  • Total estimated cost to complete this program is $7,500.
  • Estimate is based on completing program by minimum duration. Other fees may apply. Request Info to connect with a program representative for further details.


  • There is no application deadline for this program. 

Application Checklist

  • Fill out and submit the application form.
  • There is no application fee for this program.
  • Frontiers in Global Human Aging (GERON 150)
    Get an overview of research and knowledge in human aging. You’ll build a framework for understanding the biopsychosocial aspects of human aging and the characteristics of older adults in the world today. Explore the latest findings across many disciplines that study global aging (e.g., psychology, sociology, political science, public health, social work, nursing). For example, you’ll explore a number of variables that are important to human aging such as personal health and well-being, social support, and race and cultural contributions to the life course. You’ll also learn the basic aspects of planning and delivering health and social services for older adults.
  • Policy and Aging (GERON 240)
    Get an overview of policy and aging. The course provides you with a general framework for understanding and analyzing social policy and introduces you to the study of public policy. In addition, you’ll get an overview of aging policy in the United States, with attention to financial security, access to health care, long-term care, and the Older Americans Act. You are also introduced to policy analysis. This course includes two sections: the first section introduces the legislative bodies and administrative agencies. This section allows you to critically analyze the state legislative process and to master verbal reasoning skills necessary to engage in strategic planning for influencing the decision makers. The second section provides a general framework for understanding and analyzing social policy and introduces you to the study of public policy.
  • Health and Physical Aspects of Aging (GERON 260)
    In this course, you’ll focus on the physical changes in the body associated with normal aging. There is a lessened reserve capacity in all organ systems in the body that increases susceptibility to disease and illness. Emphasis is on health promotion and disease and disability prevention.
  • Applied Research in Aging (GERON 325)
    This course is a project in conjunction with a community organization about an issue affecting the elderly. You’ll learn to clearly articulate significant questions, develop a research methodology, prepare instruments, and gather data that informal debate on the issue. You will participate in the design and implementation of a group field project. You’ll also use mixed methods to explore the attitudes and behavior of these older adults.
  • Aging and Society (GERON 342L)
    Get an overview of aging across the life course. You’ll cover various topics, including the sociological components of aging from birth through childhood, young adulthood, adulthood, old age, and dying. Special emphasis is placed on the impact of gender, race, and social class on the aging process in the United States.
  • Service Delivery Issues for Aging Populations (GERON 355)
    Explore the link between consumers and aging services in settings with well-developed formal services. The aim of the course is to provide you with an understanding of the structural problems that underlie the challenges that consumers face in using formal services. You’ll cover a wide range of services that older people may need; the complementary relationship between formal and informal services; boundaries issues among service specialties and service professionals, service coordination and integration; and the role of both consumer direction and professional case management in negotiating service systems.  

At the end of this nine-month program, you’ll be awarded a certificate in Gerontology. The certificate will demonstrate your expertise in the field on your résumé, as well as in interviews and workplace evaluations. The certificate will prepare you for a career improving the quality-of-care and quality-of-life for older adults, conducting research, developing social and public policy, and/or advocating to improve the growing network of age-related programs and services. You can also apply certificate credit towards a BA in Global Aging and Life Course Studies.

Why UMass Boston Online?


Among the lowest online tuition rates of an accredited, public research university.


Study full-time to finish fast, or part-time to suit your schedule. Live sessions scheduled with the working professional in mind.


The same courses taught by the same academic departments as on campus. No third-party providers.

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Gerontology Undergraduate Certificate

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Get the inside scoop on the Gerontology experience, career outcomes, events, and more.