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Catalog 2002-2003
School of Social Science and Human Services

Requirements of the Minor
Convener: Peggy McLaughlin

About the Minor

Gerontology is the interdisciplinary study of the social, physical and cultural dimensions of aging. Gerontologists are concerned with creating environments for successful aging and with ensuring the maintenance of quality life experiences for the aging in our population. Since increasing numbers of Americans are living longer, there is a need for people trained in understanding the complex interaction between aging and society.

The gerontology program at Ramapo College is designed to introduce students to the various aspects of aging: the biology of aging, the psychology of aging, the sociology of the aging population, and issues of death and dying. In addition, we require gerontology students to do fieldwork with the aged or in an agency devoted to issues of aging to enable the students to get hands-on experience.

The study of gerontology is highly recommended for students majoring in social work, psychology, sociology, nursing, or business administration. In addition to the gerontology minor program for matriculated students, Ramapo offers a certificate program in gerontology for non-matriculated students. This certificate program is designed for service workers presently working in agencies or institutions with the aged.

Career options for gerontology students are expanding rapidly and include administrative work in government agencies on aging, in hospitals and nursing homes, and in recreational programs for older people. Direct service provision may include home health care workers, social workers, and hospital workers. In addition, there are burgeoning business opportunities geared toward the older segment of the population.

The faculty who teach in the gerontology program come from a variety of disciplines within the college, and collectively have tremendous experience in the field. Some of their areas of expertise include:
  • the development of programs for caregivers
  • direct service provision for older adults
  • art therapy
  • issues of death and dying
  • human development over the life cycle
  • community programs for older adults
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