Currently, about one in eight Americans is 65 or older. By 2030, the older adult population is expected to grow to 20 percent of the population. This is a worldwide trend that has created a demand for professionals trained to understand the unique needs of older adults.

The WSU Gerontology Certificate provides the knowledge and skills to help improve the quality of life for older adults. The certificate is ideal for professionals currently working with older adults who desire additional knowledge and skills and those who are interested in joining this diverse field. The certificate is also ideal for students pursuing a degree in human development who would like to specialize in gerontology. Students in other academic areas who plan to work with older adults should consider earning the certificate.

The core certificate courses offer a solid understanding of age-related social, physical, and emotional issues facing older adults. Students in the certificate program can tailor their education to match their career goals and interests by choosing from a wide variety of elective courses, and all students complete an internship with an organization that works with older adults. 

Potential Careers

The gerontology certificate program is designed to provide students with the knowledge and professional skills to seek employment in a variety of settings that focus on older individuals including: adult day services, nursing homes, home care services, health and social services, and community organizations that deliver services to older adults. Students may find additional career opportunities in leisure and recreation companies and investment firms.

For more information on careers in gerontology visit:

Program of Study—24 semester credits

All courses are 3 credits, unless noted.

A cumulative GPA of 2.6 or better is required in all courses used to fulfill this certificate.

An asterisk (*) indicates courses not offered through WSU Global Campus.

Required Courses

  • H_D 405 – Gerontology
  • H_D 497 – Professional Preparation Seminar
  • H_D 498 – Internship/135 hours (internship in an area that reflects the area of certification)
  • 15 credits from:
    • BIOLOGY 140 [BSCI] – Introduction to Nutritional Science
    • HBM 270 – Exploring the Business of Aging
    • HBM 497 – Special Topics (work with HBM advisor)*
    • H_D 308 – Adult Development
    • H_D 360 – Death and Dying
    • H_D 384 – Prevention and Intervention in Human Development
    • H_D 385 – Perspectives in Human Services
    • KINES 264 – Fitness Concepts*
    • MGMT 101 – Fundamentals of Business*
      MGMT 301 – Principles of Management and Organization (cannot receive credit for both courses)
    • PSYCH 320 – Health Psychology
    • PSYCH 363 – Psychology of Aging
    • PSYCH 490 – Cognition and Memory
    • SOC 351 [DIVR] – The Family
    • SOC 356 – Sociology of Aging and the Life Course*

Transfer Credits

The maximum number of credit hours earned at other institutions that may apply towards a WSU certificate shall not exceed ¼ of the total number of credit hours required for the certificate.

Awarding of the Certificate

At the beginning of the student’s final semester of coursework, the student should apply for the certificate through myWSU. This will notify the Registrar’s Office to confer the certificate. Here’s how: From the myWSU Student Homepage, select Academic Advising, then Apply to Graduate. The certificate should display as an option to select to Apply for Graduation. Certificates require a separate graduation application and are mailed separately from diplomas.