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Currently, we are not accepting applications for the Gerontology MA or certificate.

The Master of Arts in Gerontology prepares students to understand the diversity among older adults and how to address the unique challenges they face. Our graduates will:


Navigate the intersections of adult development, aging in families, health and nutrition, and public policy


Use research to design and support programs and policies that help older adults and their families


Examine the complex lives of older adults from many angles and create solutions with specialized knowledge about this growing demographic

Coursework and Degree Requirements

Master of Arts – 36 total credits

Required Courses (24 credits)

HDFS 7252: Adult Development (3)
HDFS 7255: Economics, Public Policy, & Aging (3)
HDFS 7256: Environments and Aging (3)
HDFS 7257: Aging in the Family (3)
HDFS 8251: Perspectives in Gerontologya (3)
HDFS 8253: Physical Health in Aging (3)
HDFS 8254: Gerontology Research Methods and Program Evaluation (3)
HDFS 8258: Professional Seminar in Gerontology (3)

Suggested Electives* (up to 12 credits)

HDFS 7259: Mental Health & Aging (3; Spring)
HDFS 7261: Biological Principles of Aging (3; Fall)
HDFS 8221: Gerontechnology (3; Fall)
HDFS 8087: Sexuality and Aging (3; Summer)
HDFS 8087: Cognitive Health (3; Summer)
*Or any other adviser-approved course

Independent Capstone Effort (choose 1 option):

HDFS 8972: Internship (variable credits, consult your adviser)
HDFS 8999: Comprehensive Exam (no course credit assigned)

No course credit is assigned to the exam option. Students typically complete the exam during their final semester of coursework. The Internship option is available by special approval only. Students must submit a formal petition to their adviser to enroll in the Internship option.

aHDFS 8251 should be completed in the first semester of enrollment.

NOTE: Up to 6 credits can be transferred from other graduate programs, if your adviser deems the courses relevant.

Gerontology Certificate – 15 total creditsThis graduate certificate works well as a stand-alone for those who want to enhance their skills and credentials in a variety of aging-related fields. It can also pair well for those who are students in other Master’s or Doctoral programs at Mizzou seeking to add specialized knowledge and skills related to older adults to their training.

Required Courses (6 credits)

HDFS 7252: Adult Development (3; Spring)
HDFS 8251: Perspectives in Gerontology (3; Fall)

Select Three of the Following Courses* (9 credits)

HDFS 7255: Aging Policy (3; Fall)
HDFS 7256: Environments and Aging (3; Spring)
HDFS 7257: Aging in the Family (3; Spring)
HDFS 7259: Mental Health and Aging (3; Spring)
HDFS 7261: Biological Principles of Aging (3)
HDFS 7262: Long-term care Administration (3)
HDFS 8253: Physical Health and Aging (3; Fall)
HDFS 8254: Program Evaluation and Research Methods (3; Spring)
HDFS 8258: Professional Seminar in Gerontology (3; Summer)
HDFS 8222: Creativity and Aging (3)
HDFS 8087: Gerontechnology (3)
HDFS 8087: Sexuality and Aging (3; Summer)
HDFS 8087: Cognitive Health (3; Summer)
HDFS 8087: Spirituality and Aging (3)
HDFS 8087: Theories of Aging (3; Summer)

*Or any other adviser-approved course

Graduates from Gerontology work in a variety of settings that improve the lives of older adults.

  • Adult education
  • Rehabilitation therapy
  • Interior design / architectural design
  • Community senior services
  • Health care services
  • Assisted living or long-term care facilities
  • County Extension offices
  • Public policy
  • Government agencies

Apply Now

The Online Gerontology program is flexible, affordable, and designed for you!
  • 100% online, no campus visits required
  • Flexible timeline to completion – continue to work while earning your degree
  • Rolling admissions – courses offered year-round
  • Customize electives to meet your professional goals
  • Flat-rate tuition – no added distance or out-of-state costs
  • Tuition reduction available for MU/Extension employees and military members
  • Federal financial aid eligible for both MA and Certificate programs
  • Applied focus to enhance your current work or support future career goals
  • Learn alongside other working professionals across the nation
  • Hands-on advisers help you meet your goals

Gerontology BrochureClick image to open brochure

Sonya Carney“I recently began my position in casework. Already, I can see how I will apply what I learned about the physical, psychological and emotional needs of older adults through the program. I have no doubt the program opened this door for me.”


KACIE SIMS“With this program, I was able to efficiently balance my family and work life. I had my daughter halfway through the program and I was still able to complete my courses in the timeline that I wanted.”


HDFS Online Graduate Program Partners

The Gerontology online graduate program is offered as a collaborative partnership in conjunction with several other university partners. Visit the Great Plains Interactive Distance Education Alliance (Great Plains IDEA) website for the most up-to-date information regarding tuition, course offerings, and teaching faculty.

Visit the Missouri Online website for more information about online programs, how to apply, and to request enrollment in our Gerontology courses.