Aging Studies Minor

The mission of the aging studies minor is threefold:

  • To educate students about the interdisciplinary field of gerontology/aging studies
  • To build a community of scholars on campus with strong interests in improving the quality of life of older adults and the aging experience in society more generally
  • To foster interest among students to pursue gerontology-affiliated graduate education or careers

The aging studies minor provides opportunities for students to learn about the dynamic, interdisciplinary field of gerontology/aging studies and prepares them to make contributions to the improvement of the aging experience in society. The minor gives students:

  • a core understanding of the field (via an introductory course);
  • the flexibility to develop their own gerontology-focused interests through the selection of three elective courses from multiple disciplines that are aligned to their own learning or career interests;
  • experiential learning via a research and/or service-learning field experience course.

Learning Outcomes

Upon completing the aging studies minor, students will have learned:

  • the interdisciplinary nature of the field of gerontology/aging studies
  • historical and current theories and models of aging from an interdisciplinary perspective
  • quantitative, qualitative, and applied research on aging from an interdisciplinary perspective
  • the diversity and complexity of aging on a global level
  • the challenges and opportunities that face societies in regard to aging populations through classes and their field experience

Structure of the Minor

Requirements: Five courses in total – AGS 201; three approved elective courses from at least two different departments; senior project

Core course: Introduction to Aging Studies (AGS 201)

Electives: Three approved electives – at least one from Group A (see list below) and at least two different departments across Group A and Group B (see list below); students should consult with the program chair regarding other approved or possible options.

Senior Project: Applied Gerontology (AGS 490, 491), a field placement course in an organization working with older adults in which students conduct a research and/or service-learning project that culminates in a presentation to faculty affiliated with the Aging Studies Program and students with declared minors in aging studies.  This course will carry a W-designation; students will engage in at least 20 pages of iterative writing.  The nature and requirements of the written work will be determined in consultation with the faculty supervisor.

Tentative List of Elective Courses

Group A (select at least one of from the following):

  1. Adult Development and Aging (Psych 234) OR Lifespan Development I (Psych 230)
  2. Aging and age-related disease (Bio 310)
  3. Topics in Lifespan Development (Psych 35X, permission of program chair required)

Group B (current list of electives; select one [if both courses are taken from Group A] or two [if only one course is taken from Group A])

  1. Economic Issues in the Demand for Medical Care (Econ 329)
  2. Economic Analysis of the Health Care Industry (Econ 336)
  3. Women’s Health Issues (WGS 230)
  4. Buddhism: From India to Asia and Beyond (REL 212)
  5. Religious Healing and Health (REL 223)
  6. Bioethics (PHIL 245)
  7. Environmental Ethics (PHIL 255)
  8. Human Factors and Engineering Psychology (Psych 226)
  9. Biomechanics (ME 489)
  10. Introduction to Biomedical Engineering (ME 489)
  11. Bioengineering Design Clinic (ME 480)
  12. Psychopharmacology (Psych 255)
  13. Introduction to Neuroscience (NS 101)
  14. Physiological Psychology (Psych 325)
  15. Music and the Brain: The Neuroscience of Music (NS/MUS 255)
  16. Lifespan Development II (Psych 328)

Note: Additional courses will be added as appropriate; students can petition to count an existing course as an elective (program chair approval is required).

Aging Studies Advisory Committee

Jamila Bookwala, chair (psychology)
Elaine Reynolds (biology)
Yang Wang (economics)
Suzanne Westfall (theater and English)
Bonnie Winfield (director of community partnerships, Center for Community Engagement)

For more information, contact Jamila Bookwala,, (610) 330-5285.