Undergraduate Minor

Gerontology is the study of aging with a focus on late life. Our population is aging at a rapid rate and many employers want to hire individuals with training that indicates they know how to work with, plan for, and administer programs for and with older adults. The minor in gerontology will complement many majors and help students gain employment as many jobs touch on the lives of older adults.

The WMU undergraduate minor in gerontology is available to all WMU students. Students will learn about the experience of aging and late life in the prerequisite Introduction to Aging course (GRN 1000). Students will then complete four required courses covering health aspects of aging (GRN 2000), maintaining independence in the community (GRN 3000), social and health services (GRN 3500), and public policy related to late life (GRN 4000).  Students will complete service learning projects as part of coursework, as well as two elective courses. Beginning with the 2021-22 Undergraduate Catalog, the requirement for electives will be dropped.

Students must be seeking degrees at WMU to receive credit for the minor. To declare a minor in gerontology, you must contact the College of Health and Human Services advising office at (269) 387-2656.

Learning objectives

After completion of the minor in gerontology, students will have met the following learning objectives:

  1. Discuss biological, psychological, social and spiritual aspects of aging.
  2. Identify and discuss the systems that influence successful aging and disability, such as policy, the aging network and health systems.
  3. Identify the normal changes that occur with aging.
  4. Identify and explain the chronic conditions experienced by older adults.
  5. Identify and list developmental stages and life transitions that affect older adults and their families.
  6. Access and discuss research in gerontology and geriatrics.
  7. Define environment from a narrow to a broad perspective.
  8. Describe the impact that the environment may have on the function and independence of older adults.
  9. Identify the roles of interdisciplinary team members and the decision-making process for referrals.
  10. Integrate classroom learning experiences with service learning projects.
  11. Discuss the heterogeneity of older adults.
  12. Describe basic demographic information and identify policy implications at a national, state and local level.
  13. Identify the primary features of public policies for older adults relating to income security, health and long term care, particularly vulnerable groups.
  14. Monitor and evaluate current policy issues affecting older persons.