The Gerontology Academic Program's mission is to engage and serve our community. We strive to continually shape the future gerontological workforce through high-quality education. Gerontology, the study of aging and older adults, is a dynamic, interdisciplinary field exploring the biological, physiological, communicative, psychological, social and health aspects of aging.

Through faculty mentoring, the GAP fosters student research, critical thinking and practical application of theoretical knowledge, while supporting student scholars to enter a variety of rewarding careers in the field of aging

The Gerontology Academic Program (GAP) offers two academic programs:

  1. Minor in Gerontology: 18 credits
  2. Certificate in Gerontology: 24 credits

Each program is designated as a "Program of Merit" by the Academy for Gerontology in Higher Education, making UNR one of only 12 universities nationwide to receive this important designation.

Gerontology Minor

This 18-unit course of study covers the biological, physiological, communicative, psychological, social, and health aspects of aging and includes 135 hours of service learning with older adults. With prior approval from the GAP Director, other courses may be accepted. Some courses may also be scheduled for Summer and/or Wintermester; contact the Gerontology Academic Program.

Gerontology Certificate

Students select the gerontology certificate program to acquire a deeper understanding of the field of aging; providing a foundation for professional development in many careers. The gerontology certificate program offers an interdisciplinary curriculum, and provides a broad base of knowledge as it is applied to the aging process. The program covers the biological, communicative, physiological, psychological, social, and health aspects of aging and includes a minimum of 135 hours of service learning experience with older adults.

NOTE: Students who are only enrolled in this program (not degree-seeking) are not eligible for Federal Financial Aid.

Service Learning

Service Learning is an important aspect of gerontological education. The GAP programs require a minimum of 135 hours of service learning. See the Minor and Certificate requirements for the number of hours required in specific courses.

  • Work hands-on with elders
  • Develop relationships with professionals in aging services
  • Advance your critical thinking skills
  • Grow a professional network
  • Share your service learning experiences in a variety of modalities, including a professional poster, journaling, performance art, video production, visual art and writing poetry.

Each year, students contribute to the selection of the Outstanding Service Learning Partner award, initiated in 2018 by the Sanford Center for Aging and Gerontology Academic Program

What Service Learning students say:

I'm really glad that I've had the experience to hang out with some of the older adults and get to know them, get to know their stories, tell jokes with them. ... to be a community. It's really great." - Rebecca Paulson, GERO 201 (Instructor: Tyler Livingston, Spring 2020)

"Service learning allowed me to apply the knowledge I learned in class to real-life situations. I was able to interact with a diverse population of elders that I would never have been able to without this experience." - Heather Rose Gonzales, GERO 431 (Instructor: Amy Dewitt-Smith, Spring 2019)