Academic Catalog


Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Science

Elizabeth J. Bergman, Associate Professor and Chairperson

The Ithaca College Gerontology Institute administers the aging studies major and minor for Ithaca College undergraduates.

Aging studies is the:

  1. study of the physical, mental, and social changes in people as they age;
  2. the investigation of the changes in society resulting from our aging population; and
  3. the application of this knowledge to policies and programs.

This interdisciplinary major draws on Ithaca College’s unique combination of liberal arts and professional programs to provide students with a liberal arts foundation, a broad-based understanding of individual and social aspects of aging, and professional skills relevant to their career goals.

Students have the option of enrolling in either the B.A. or the B.S. program in aging studies, depending on their educational and career interests. The majors prepare students for positions with an aging focus or for graduate education in gerontology/aging studies or a related discipline. The aging studies major has been designated a program of merit by the Academy for Gerontology in Higher Education.

The interdisciplinary minor in aging studies involves coursework in gerontology and several other departments and is available to students in any major. The minor addresses biological and psychological aspects of individual aging, as well as the societal implications of the rapidly increasing older population. The requirements for the minor are designed to complement or supplement a student’s major.

Fieldwork in an approved aging organization provides an important experiential learning opportunity for aging studies minors. For majors, an internship provides another important opportunity to gain valuable experience in the field.

Facilitating student growth and learning is a priority for gerontology faculty and staff. All majors and minors are assigned an adviser to assist with progress toward completing their degree requirements and to serve as a resource for exploring interests and career goals.

GERO 10100 Introduction to Aging Studies (LA)

Introduction to the broad spectrum of issues involved in the study of aging. Biological, psychological, and sociological concerns, in addition to services for the elderly, are presented in survey fashion. Field trips, lectures, discussions, and demonstrations comprise the instructional methods. (F-S,Y)
Attributes: 1, SS
3 Credits

GERO 12000 Aging by the Numbers (LA)

Using quantitative data, explores aging-related topics such as cultural stereotypes, the demography of aging, and the financing of retirement. Focuses on developing understanding of different research methods and awareness of the promise and limits of quantitative data for understanding people's lives. (Y)
Attributes: QL
3 Credits

GERO 13000 The Journey of Aging (LA)

Explores the impact of aging on mind, body, and spirit, as well as contemporary responses to the possibilities and challenges of aging, with a focus on aging as a universal journey that affects all areas of life. Includes service learning with elders in the community. (Y)
Attributes: SO, TMBS
3 Credits

GERO 19501 Age Matters: Discovering the Possibilities beyond Midlife (LA)

Explores the intersections of age and identity in a variety of contexts, including the treatment of elders in modern culture. Examines the demographic and cultural forces shaping the period between retirement and disability. We examine our own beliefs and values as they relate to age and engage in service learning with elders in the community. (Y)
Attributes: 1, SL, SO, SS, TIDE
3 Credits

GERO 20500 Gerontological Inquiries (LA)

Building on the basics of gerontology, this course develops students' ability to operationalize the social world in gerontological terms by introducing research methods in the discipline. Students learn how to write a social science research paper, including how to write a literature review. Prerequisites: Any 10000-level gerontology course. Open to aging studies Majors only. (Y)
1 Credit

GERO 21000 Health and Aging (LA)

Examines the health status of older adults in the U.S. and the impact it has on longevity and quality of life in the later years. Includes factors that affect the health and longevity of older Americans, health challenges in later life, prevention and health promotion, the need for culturally competent health care for older adults, and end of life choices and issues. Explores how U.S. health policy and the health care system affect the lives of older adults. Prerequisites: One 10000-level GERO course or HLTH 11300. (S,O)
Attributes: SS
3 Credits

GERO 22000 Sociology of Aging (LA)

This course presents the prominent sociological theories and research about aging and the ways in which the experience of aging is socially constructed. Cross-listed with SOCI 22000. Students may not receive credit for both SOCI 22000 and SOCI 22000. Prerequisites: One liberal arts course in any of the following departments: ANTH, CMST, CSCR, ECON, EDUC, GERO, HIST, PHIL, POLT, PSYC, SOCI, WGST. (F,Y)
Attributes: DV, SS
3 Credits

GERO 23000 Memory Loss and Aging: Myths and Realities (LA)

Memory loss has become one of the most feared stereotypes of aging. This course contrasts normal age-related changes in the brain with the effects of diseases that cause cognitive impairment. Prevalence, incidence, symptoms, causes, treatment, and caregiving issues are discussed, with emphasis on the history and personal, social, cultural, political, and economic impacts of Alzheimer's disease, which affects millions of older adults in the United States. Prerequisites: One 10000-level GERO course. (S,E)
3 Credits

GERO 25000 Lifespan Creativity (LA)

Examines the meanings and uses of creativity across the lifespan utilizing a variety of perspectives. Combines reading and discussion of academic literatures on creativity with experiential learning in the community. Prerequisites: Sophomore standing. (F,E)
Attributes: SO, SS, TIII
3 Credits

GERO 29010 Fieldwork in Gerontology (NLA)

Fieldwork gives students firsthand experience working and socializing with the elderly. Under the supervision of a trained professional within an organization in the Ithaca area, students engage in work activities, including direct service to the aged, as well as service to the host agency. An integrated series of seminars provides students with the context to better understand the needs of the community-based elderly, as well as the local, state, and national resources available and not available to meet those needs. Prerequisites: One 100-level GERO course. (F,S,Y)
1-3 Credits

GERO 29100 Field Placement in Gerontology (NLA)

Provides students the opportunity to interact with elders under the supervision of the sponsoring agency, and a gerontology faculty member. Placements are arranged individually. Students must complete the H&S internship application process. This course may be repeated for a total of three credits. Prerequisites: Sophomore standing, permission of instructor. (IRR).
1-3 Credits

GERO 31900 Aging and Social Policy (LA)

Examination of contemporary public health and social policies and programs that affect the well-being of older adults. The scope of these programs and policies, their historical development, and likely changes are explored. Prerequisites: One 20000-level GERO course. (S,Y)
Attributes: CNSL, DV
3 Credits

GERO 32500 The Long-Term Care System (LA)

Exploration of the continuum of long-term care services available in the United States. Examination of issues of access and financing; the combination of housing and services for disabled older adults; and challenges to the provision of a range of quality long-term care options. Prerequisites: One 20000-level GERO course. (F,O)
Attributes: CNSL, SS
3 Credits

GERO 37000 Counseling the Older Adult (LA)

Combines theory about and practice of basic counseling skills with information about issues faced by older adults and their families. Analyzes the lives of today's older adults within the frameworks of social institutions and race, class, and gender. Prerequisites: One 10000-level sociology course or one 10000-level GERO course; at least one of the following: GERO 22000, SOCI 30800, SOCI 30900, PSYC 36600, ANTH 34000, RLS 23800, HLTH 24000. (S,E)
Attributes: CNSL, SS
3 Credits

GERO 38000 End-of-Life Issues (LA)

Broad overview of basic concepts and psychosocial issues related to the meaning of loss and death, the process of death, and the experience of grieving. Consideration of health care practices along with community resources. Real-world topics and controversial issues explored through combination of lectures, hands-on activities, and field trips. Prerequisites: One 10000-level GERO course; junior standing. (S, E)
Attributes: CNSL, SS
3 Credits

GERO 38900 Selected Topics in Applied Gerontology (NLA)

Exploration, in a lecture or seminar format, of a professional or practical aspect of gerontology. Topics vary based on current trends and student and faculty interests. May be repeated for credit for different selected topics. Offered for depending upon the issue and the time required to adequately address the topic. Prerequisites: One 20000-level GERO course. (IRR)
1-3 Credits

GERO 39900-39905 Selected Topics in Social Gerontology (LA)

Exploration, in lecture or seminar format, of a specific area of social gerontology. Topics are based on current trends and student and faculty interests. May be repeated for credit for different selected topics. Offered for depending upon the issue and time required to adequately address the topic. Prerequisites: One 20000-level GERO course. (IRR)
1-3 Credits

GERO 40100 Gerontology Internship (NLA)

Provides a structured, intensive learning experience in an organization dedicated to research, planning, policymaking, or service provision for older adults. Supervision is provided by an on-site professional preceptor. Students are required to submit periodic written field reports, as well as a final internship experience report. Course may be repeated for a total of four credits. Prerequisites: GERO 29010; GERO 31900; Aging Studies major; permission of instructor. Pass/fail only. (Y)
0-4 Credits

GERO 48000 Gerontology Senior Seminar (LA)

This capstone experience provides a structured opportunity for gerontology majors to integrate knowledge and experience from coursework and internships as they explore a variety of theoretical and professional issues in gerontology. Prerequisites: GERO 31900; GERO 40100; senior standing; WRTG10600 or ICSM108XX or ICSM118XX. (S,Y)
Attributes: CP, SS, WI
3 Credits

GERO 49900 Independent Study (LA)

Individual research and writing on a particular area in gerontology, supervised by a faculty member in the gerontology program. Prerequisites: Permission of instructor. (F-S,Y)
1-4 Credits