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Enhance your knowledge and working skills regarding the impact of aging on the individual and society.

Program Type

Graduate Certificate

Semester Start

Fall, Spring

Study Options


Minimum Duration

9 Months

UMass Boston’s online, 5-course Gerontology Graduate Certificate is designed to enhance your knowledge base regarding the impacts of aging societies for personal or professional benefit. According to analysis by, the number of gerontology-related job postings has increased 75% since 2005. This program is your opportunity to explore your areas of interest and earn a valuable professional credential. Continue for an additional year, if you choose, to complete a master's degree in Management of Aging Services.

Go at your own pace and choose any five courses from topics such as:

  • Social, economic, and health care impacts of aging
  • Long-term services and supports, housing, policy issues, and family issues
  • Structure of aging services and programs on national and local levels.

Apply these skills to virtually any field — advocacy, aging policy, care management, community programming for the elderly, financial services, nonprofit management, sales and marketing, senior housing and transportation, and more. 

Ready to talk? Schedule a phone consultation with the program director.


  • This program consists of five 3-credit courses, or 15 credits.
  • Online tuition is $575 per credit.
  • Total estimated cost to complete this program is $8,625.
  • Estimate is based on completing program by minimum duration. Other fees may apply. Request Info to connect with a program representative for further details.


  • Apply by July 1 for fall admittance and December 1 for spring admittance.

Application Checklist

  • Review the university's general application requirements for graduation admission. 
  • If you are an international applicant, please see additional requirements
  • GRE Scores are NOT required for this program.
  • All students must have an undergraduate degree to register for a course or get permission from the instructor.

To apply online, you'll need to submit:

  • A brief cover letter indicating you would like to be considered for admission
  • A Statement of Purpose — Attach a three to four page essay/letter of intent on your experiences and why you wish to enter our program.
  • Official Transcripts — Submit official transcripts from each college or university you attended, even if you were not awarded a degree. You must demonstrate evidence of a bachelor's degree.
  • GRE Scores (optional) — You may provide your official GRE Score Report. Use institutional code is 3924 when you register for the exam.
  • Letters of Recommendation — Submit two letters of recommendation from people familiar with your academic abilities.
  • Application Fee

Courses (Pick Five):

  • Understanding Data: Research Methods for Managers (GERON GR 610)
    Use data and understand and apply evidence to your management of aging services. Get an introduction to basic research methods, train to understand and use social science research literature, and get an overview of monitoring and reporting program performance. You’ll learn about the scientific method and the basics of research, including sampling, measurement, basic statistics, and research design options. The course also trains you to be critical consumers of scientific research, teaching you to locate, evaluate, and summarize published research.
  • Health Aging Perspectives (GERON GR 612)
    Examine the physical process of aging and the effects on physical health, mental health, social and economic factors, and relationships from an applied gerontology perspective. Apply these topics to disease prevention, health promotion, health maintenance, and selected disorders that affect health and independent living. Public policy and program development issues will be addressed and incorporated into management and administration of aging services.
  • Aging in Society (GERON GR 622)
    Get an in-depth look at the sociological aspects of aging from an applied perspective useful to administrators and managers. You’ll focus on how social arrangements impact aging individuals and their families and how aging individuals impact society. You’ll also discuss emerging trends in the long-term care systems, such as technological advances, consumer directed care, aging in place, and alternatives to nursing home placement.
  • Aging Policy and Programming (GERON GR 624)
    Get a general framework for understanding and analyzing social policy, employing an applied perspective relevant to administrators and managers in organizations such as nursing homes, assisted living facilities, home health care, and state and local government agencies. In addition, you’ll get an overview of aging policy at the federal and state levels, with attention to financial security, access to health care, long-term care, and the Older Americans Act. You’ll gain experience in both policy analysis and policy advocacy.
  • Aging and the Economy: A Dynamic Relationship (GERON GR 627)
    The course takes the perspective of administrators of a variety of aging service organizations and examines the most pertinent and pressing economic policy issues in the United States as related to older persons, their families, the local community, and states. Economic status of the elderly population is influenced by rapidly changing demographics; evolving policy in Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid; housing constraints and options; and social support options for elders are the principal topics covered in this course. The course takes a pragmatic perspective on why and how programs have economic benefits or consequences for older persons.
  • Psychological Impact of Aging (GERON GR 629)
    This course focuses on psychological processes in the second half of life. Administrators and managers will benefit from a foundation in the psychological issues that accompany the aging process. The course addresses both normal aging and psychopathology. You’ll analyze normal age-related psychological changes, common psychopathologies, dementia, and the psychodynamics of caregiving for older adults. The policy implications of psychological changes in later life are presented with attention to the delivery of effective and efficient interventions.
  • Residential and Long-Term Care Management (GERON GR 630)
    Get a comprehensive overview of the responsibilities of residential care administration for older people. The National Association of Boards of Registration in Nursing Home Administration supports state licensing programs for residential care managers, including nursing home administrators. You’ll get a broad understanding of aging issues, and specific elements of administration in residential service settings, while addressing the requirements for licensure.
  • Leadership and Ethics in Aging Services (GERON GR 635)
    Increasing numbers of baby boomers will enter the services offered by the aging network. This growing population will require the leaders in the network to manage with limited resources. Decisions about programs and services will need to be made with innovation, forethought and deliberation, and will need to be based on law and ethics. How should limited resources be offered to this growing elder population? Will they be allocated, and how? Is allocation ethical? And, as society moves forward, how will other changes impact elders? This course prepares you for the decisions you will need to make as you become a leader in the field of aging.
  • An Overview of Environmental Gerontology: A Micro- to Macro- Continuum (GERON GR 638)
    Get a comprehensive overview of design interventions for older adults. Important related theories and frameworks, details of home modifications, components of age-friendly communities (urban, suburban, and rural - both public and private), and important policies that inform this work are covered. You’ll have the opportunity to conduct environmental micro- and macro-level audits and to interview allied professionals. Readings provide details that you can immediately apply to your current aging services work.
  • Introduction to Senior Transportation (GERON GR 640)
    As the baby boomers come of age, transportation will become a major challenge. This course is designed for emerging and seasoned professionals in the field of aging services and transportation services who are interested in learning more about senior transportation challenges. You’ll discuss strategies for addressing those challenges and how we can plan to meet the mobility needs of an aging population. While the course will emphasize the concept and practice of Supplemental Transportation Programs for seniors (STPs), it also will discuss the wants and needs of older adult passengers.
  • Marketing Aging Services (GERON GR 645)
    Examine marketing principles as applied to aging services organizations. You'll learn about marketing concepts, objectives, and brand names. You’ll also explore the current structure of aging organizations in Massachusetts and relate these to current marketing principles and strategies. You’ll learn to apply marketing concepts to effectively manage and operate an aging services organization. This course provides you with the opportunity to see how marketing principles and practice come together within the context of various types of aging services organizations in Massachusetts.
  • Service Delivery Issues in Aging (GERON GR 650)
    Study the links between consumers and aging services in organizational 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, boundary issues among service specialties, boundary issues among service specialties and service professionals, service coordination and integration, and the role of both consumer directional and professional case management in negotiating service systems.
  • Organization and Financing of Aging Services (GERON GR 660)
    The influences of organizational and financial forces upon aging service are analyzed in this course. Three sources of public financing — Medicare, Medicaid, and the Older Americans Act — are examined in depth. The relative strengths of public and private financing are examined with attention to both access and quality issues. It is assumed that you do not have any background knowledge of accounting and finance. Therefore, foundational elements in accounting and finance will be covered in this course. You’ll acquire an understanding of accounting principles, economic decision-making, and industry factors as they pertain to aging service agencies. Students who are interested in pursuing career opportunities in the management of long-term care organizations will benefit from this course content.
  • Human Resources and Personnel Management (GERON GR 670)
    Become familiarized with the concepts of human resources management as they are applied tin primarily public, nonprofit settings. In particular, you’ll focus on human resources and personnel management as applied to the aging services field. The examples used in the course will come from organizations such as nursing homes, assisted living facilities, home health agencies, senior centers and councils on aging. Issues to be addressed will include hiring and supervision, performance appraisal, mentoring, career planning, equal employment opportunity, diversity, and collective bargaining. You’ll examine job design and pay systems, methods of personnel selection and training, issues of productivity and work hours, team building, effects of government regulations on working conditions, and personnel administration.

At the end of this two-semester program, you’ll be awarded a graduate certificate in Gerontology. The certificate will demonstrate your expertise in the field on your résumé, as well as in interviews and workplace evaluations. This certificate prepares you for a career in advocacy, aging policy, care management, community programming for the elderly, financial services, nonprofit management, sales and marketing, senior housing and transportation, and more. You may also apply certificate credits to the Management of Aging Services MS program.

Ready to talk? Schedule a call with a program specialist to learn more.

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 Graduate Certificate