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Specialist in Aging Certificate

As more people in our population grow older, there is increasing need for professionals with specialized skills to work with older adults. Professionals in the field of aging need to have knowledge that includes biological, psychological, social, and cognitive functioning in later life. To address this need, the Specialist in Aging Certificate offers courses in several disciplines that, taken together, provide students with knowledge and skills to work with the older population.

The Specialist in Aging Certificate Program provides students the opportunity to develop individualized programs of interdisciplinary graduate study for academic credit in gerontology. The program draws upon the resources and course offerings of Literature, Science, and the Arts and the Schools of Public Health, Law, Pharmacy, Nursing, and Social Work, as well as other academic units.

The Specialist in Aging Certificate is awarded upon successful completion of academic course requirements and approved field instruction. Course requirements for the Specialist in Aging Certificate may be met by completing courses during the regular University Fall, Winter and Spring/Summer terms.

The Specialist in Aging Certificate is designed for four groups of graduate students:

  1. For social work students in the Aging in Families and Society concentration, this specialization will broaden their gerontological focus by taking courses in other disciplines.
  2. For social work students who are not in the Aging in Families and Society concentration, this specialization will provide an opportunity to take specialized courses in aging while pursuing another concentration.
  3. For graduate students in other departments, this specialization will provide an opportunity to take specialized courses in aging to augment their existing knowledge.
  4. For post-masters students, this specialization will provide an opportunity to take specialized courses in aging to augment their existing knowledge. (If you are not currently enrolled in the University, an application for admission to the School of Social Work as a non-degree student will be required prior to enrollment.)

Course Requirements

The Specialist in Aging Certificate requires students to complete at least nine credit hours of aging-related courses in the University of Michigan and an appropriately supervised practice of at least 50 hours with or on behalf of the elderly. To fulfill the interdisciplinary focus of the Specialization, students must take at least one course (1-3 credit hours) taught by a non-social worker. These courses could be regular courses, mini courses, and independent study courses. Students who are enrolled in the Aging in Families and Society concentration at the School of Social Work will take at least six credit hours from courses that are not already required in their concentration.

The Specialization in Aging Certificate draws from courses in: 1) the Aging in Families and Society concentration within the School of Social Work, 2) electives within the School relevant to gerontology, and 3) courses from other departments within the University.

Examples of eligible courses for the Specialist in Aging Certificate are:

Law School

  • Disability Law (LAW 471, 2 credits) *
  • Disability Rights (Law 620, 3 credits)
  • Legal Challenges for an Aging Population (LAW 869, 2 credits)

Kinesiology

  • Physical Activity Across the Lifespan (KINESLGY 413/MOVESCI 413, 3 credits) *
  • Disorders of Voluntary Movement (KINESLGY 421/MOVESCI 421, 3 credits) *
  • Aging and Motor Performance (KINESLGY 424/MOVESCI 424, 3 credits) *
  • Exercise and Successful Aging (KINESLGY 443/MOVESCI 443, 3 credits) *

Pharmacy

  • The Aging Patient (PHARMACY 757, 2 credits)

Psychology

  • Psychology of Aging (PSYCH 359, 3 credits) *
  • Aging and Cognition (PSYCH 447, Section 003, 3 credits) *
  • Proseminar in Developmental Psychology (PSYCH 759, 2 credits)

Nursing

  • Lifespan (NURS 152, 4 credits) *
  • Primary Care of Older Adults (NURS 646, 3 credits)

Public Health

  • Human Sexuality Across the Life Course (HBEHED 605, 3 credits)
  • Families and Health (HBEHED 629, 3 credits)
  • Aging and Health Behavior (HBEHED 630, 3 credits)
  • Epidemiology of Aging (EPID 677, 2 credits)
  • Advanced Seminar on Public Health and Aging (EPID 813, 1 credit)
  • Cross-national Comparisons of Aging and Health (HMP 671, 3 credits)
  • Nutrition in the Life Cycle (NUTR 510, 3 credits)

Art

  • Memory, Aging and Expressive Arts (ARTDES 398, 4 credits) *

Social Work

Taught by social workers

  • Topics in Disability Studies (SW 572, 1-3 credits)
  • Mental Health and Mental Disorders in Adulthood (SW 606, 3 credits)
  • Adulthood and Aging (SW 616, 3 credits) **
  • Death, Loss and Grief (SW 617, 3 credits)
  • Policies and Services for Older Adults (SW 644, 3 credits) **
  • Geriatric Integrative Seminar (SW 693, 3 credits)
  • Social Work with Older Adults (SW 694, 3 credits) **
  • Ethical Dilemmas in Health for Social Work and Other Health Professionals (SW 705, 3 credits)
  • Working with Individuals with Dementia and Their Families (SW 790, 1 credit)
  • Psychopharmacology for Social Workers (SW 790, 1 credit)
  • The Graying of the Gay Community (SW 790, 1 credit)
  • Mindfulness-based Cognitive Therapy (SW 790, 1 credit)
  • Building Empathy through Literature and Reflective Writing: A Lifespan Approach (SW 790, 1 credit)

Taught by non-social workers

  • Memory, Aging and Expressive Arts (SW 501, 4 credits)
  • Legal Issues of Older Adults and Persons with Disabilities (SW 790, 1 credit)

* Please note that special arrangements must be made with the instructor to obtain graduate credits when taking an undergraduate course. Otherwise the courses can be counted toward the Certificate in Aging but not toward the MSW Degree.

** These are required courses for students enrolled in the MSW Aging in Families and Society concentration. They are available to other students as space permits. These required courses do not meet the requirements of the Specialist in Aging Certificate for students in the Aging in Families and Society Concentration.

To Apply for and Obtain the Certificate

  1. Complete the following form which will be reviewed by Professor Berit Ingersoll-Dayton (bid@umich.edu; advisor for the Specialist in Aging Certificate Program).

    Application for Admission to the Specialist in Aging Certificate Program
  2. If you are not currently enrolled in either the MSW program or another graduate program within the University of Michigan, you will need to also complete and submit the following application for admission to the School of Social Work Office of Student Services, Room 1748 SSWB, for processing before you can enroll.
    Non-Degree/Special Student Application for Admission
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