College of Public Health students graduating

Certificate in Gerontology

Graduate School Certificate Application

Certificate Director
Graham D. Rowles, Ph.D.
Professor of Gerontology
Graduate Center for Gerontology
725 Rose Street, Suite 401C​
Multidisciplinary Sciences Building
University of Kentucky
Lexington, KY 40536
(859) 218-0145

Certificate Coordinator
Jamie Hunt
Certificate Coordinator
College of Public Health
111 Washington Avenue; Suite 111
Lexington, KY 40536
(859) 323-7341

The objective of the Graduate Certificate in Gerontology is to prepare both graduate students and practicing professionals to assume key roles in improving the quality of life for older adults and furthering our understanding of the aging process and the status of older adults.

The Graduate Certificate in Gerontology offers students and professionals specialized training in aging from a multi- and inter-disciplinary perspective. Persons working toward their Certificate include:

  • Graduate students preparing for careers in public service and program administration that relate to understanding and meeting the needs of the older population;
  • Graduate degree candidates in the basic and applied sciences, such as biology or chemistry, who are interested in the study of aging;
  • Candidates seeking professional degrees in human service professions, such as nursing, pharmacy, physician assistant studies, physical therapy, or social work who plan to provide specialty services to older adults;
  • Professionals with an interest in the field of aging who desire further course work in gerontology to enhance their professional development.

Applicants for admission to the Graduate Certificate in Gerontology must be approved for admission by the Certificate Director, who shall notify the Graduate School of the student’s admission.

Admission to or award of a Graduate Certificate in Gerontology does not guarantee admission to a degree program in the same or any other discipline.

Application Process

Following Graduate School deadlines, all application materials must be received at least one month before the semester you plan to enter the program. Remember to include adequate time for letters of reference to be submitted.

Pre-approved Certificate courses already completed may count toward the curriculum requirements (This does not include practicum or research projects.) Requests to include these courses are made on the application. No more than six hours previously completed at UK can be counted toward the Certificate.

Students must apply to the UK Graduate School. Graduate School application deadlines and forms may be obtained through their website at:  

When completing the Graduate School application, please address the following in your personal statement:

  • Describe any work experience relevant to Gerontology
  • Briefly describe (a) your reason(s) for interest in the Graduate Certificate in Gerontology, (b) your career goals in relation to Gerontology and (c) the specific topic in Gerontology in which you are most interested

Official transcripts

Official transcripts are required for undergraduate and graduate work from universities other than the University of Kentucky. A GPA of 3.0 is required for admission.

Letters of Reference

The student must have letters submitted on their behalf from two (2) sources. If you are currently pursuing a graduate degree, one reference must be from a faculty member in your academic department.

Questions about the application process? Call Jamie at 859-323-7341.


The Graduate Certificate in Gerontology is awarded to individuals who complete 15 graduate credit hours in an approved multi- and inter-disciplinary curriculum in gerontology.

Twelve hours of coursework must include at least one course (3 hours) in each of the following areas:

  • Biomedical and Health Sciences
  • Social and Behavioral Sciences
  • Policy, Planning and Ethics

Students may choose courses according to their preference and course availability. To ensure an interdisciplinary experience, no more than 2 courses may be taken from each department. Special requests for a waiver of this policy must be submitted to the program director or coordinator and approved in advance. 

Students must receive an A or B in all Certificate coursework.

Elective Courses

Biomedical Sciences and Health Sciences

GRN 612 - Biology of Aging (3 hrs)

GRN 618 - Epidemiology of Aging (3 hrs)

GRN 704 - Mental Health and Aging (3 hrs)

GRN 706 - Health Promotion and Aging (3 hrs)

GRN 775 - Clinical Geriatrics (3 hrs)

GRN 786 - Independent Readings in Gerontology (3 hrs)

NUR 510 - Older Women and Their Health (3 hrs)

PAS 640 - Survey of Geriatric Medicine (3 hrs)

PPS 813 - Geriatric Pharmacy (3 hrs)

Policy, Planning and Ethics

FAM 661 - Health and Financial Issues of Aging Families (3 hrs)

GRN 715 - Health Policy and Aging (3 hrs)

GRN 773 - Ethics and Aging (3 hrs)

GRN 774 - Public Policy and Aging (3 hrs)

GRN 786 - Independent Readings in Gerontology (3 hrs)

HSM 510 - Organization of the Long-Term Care Sector (3 hrs)

NUR 511 - End of Life Care in the Acute Care Setting (3 hrs)

SW 613 - Urban Ecology and Aging (3 hrs)

Social and Behavioral Sciences

BSC 760 - Aging, Health and Decision Making (3 hrs)

BSC 770 - Psychosocial Issues in Health and Aging (3 hrs)

BSC 779 - Behavioral Factors in Death and Dying (3 hrs)

GRN 585 - Aging and Environment (3 hrs)

GRN 610 - Psychology of Aging (3 hrs)

GRN 644 - Demography and Aging (3 hrs)

GRN 651 - Qualitative Gerontology (3 hrs)

GRN 660 - Aging and Family Values (3 hrs)

GRN 705 - Cognitive Aging (3 hrs)

GRN 720 - Gerontology/Geriatric Dentistry (1 hr)

GRN 770 - Special Topics in Gerontology (1-3 hrs)

GRN 771 - Aging in Rural Environments (3 hrs)

GRN 772 - Aging and The Life Course (3 hrs)

GRN 782 - Women's Health and Aging (3 hrs)

GRN 783 - Public Health and Aging (3 hrs)

GRN 786 - Independent Readings in Gerontology (3 hrs)

SW 642 - Psychological Aspects of Human Aging (3 hrs)

SW 580 - Topical Seminar in Social Work: Working with Older Adults (3 hrs)

You may petition the Director of the Graduate Certificate in Gerontology to take a course not listed above and have it count toward your Graduate Certificate.  In addition to regularly taught courses, you may petition for special topics, guided readings, or guided research courses to be counted toward the Certificate. The requested course must have substantial gerontological content in order to be accepted for certificate credit.  In cases where there is any ambiguity regarding the degree of gerontological content, the Director of the Graduate Certificate will refer the petition to the Graduate Certificate Committee which will render a decision on the applicability of the course. 

If you have any questions regarding a particular course, do not hesitate to contact the Director of the Graduate Certificate, Dr. Graham D. Rowles at or (859) 218-0145.

Please note that, in all cases, approval to count a non-listed course toward the Graduate Certificate in Gerontology, permission must be obtained prior to taking the course.


Course work must be complemented by a 3 hour applied experience. This may be either a field placement practicum or a research project conducted under the supervision of a faculty member.

Option 1: Field Experience - GRN 602 - Certificate Practicum in Gerontology

A practicum focused on aging of a minimum of 210 hours will satisfy the field experience option. This practicum can be completed in conjunction with a practicum requirement from a degree program, or can be arranged independently for the Certificate.

Students will work with a faculty advisor during the proposal stage and as they develop a prospectus for their practicum. Proposals must be submitted to the Certificate Director prior to beginning work.

Once the proposal has been approved, work may begin. For a practicum, it is usual practice for the on-site supervisor to meet with the student weekly to offer feedback and discuss his/her progress toward the goals and objectives of the experience.

At the midpoint of the field experience (completion of 105 hours) a mid-practicum assessment is to be provided by the student and on-site supervisor to formally evaluate progress in meeting the goals of the practicum. Upon completion of the field experience, the on-site supervisor is asked to complete an overall evaluation. Students are required to submit a final report/evaluation with a copy of any materials developed during the practicum to the Certificate Director for final approval.

Option 2: Research Project - GRN 785 - Independent Research in Gerontology

An independent research project may be completed to fulfill the three (3) hour applied component of the graduate certificate. Students will work with a member of the Graduate Center for Gerontology core or affiliate faculty (for list of Graduate Center Core and Affiliate Faculty members click here) in developing a research proposal and conducting an applied research project in gerontology or geriatrics. Students may petition the Graduate Certificate Committee (through the Program Director or Program Coordinator) for approval of another appropriate faculty member to serve as the preceptor of their research.

Proposals for research projects (to be approved by the Graduate Certificate Committee) must utilize the Graduate Certificate in Gerontology Research Project Proposal form and should include a statement on the purpose of the research and how it fits into the student’s certificate or overall educational goals, a list of objectives, a description of the research design and methodology to be employed, study population, procedures of analysis, timetable, and a statement of proposed outcomes/products anticipated to result from the research; e.g. a final report or article of publishable quality.

Once the proposal has been approved, and appropriate signed Institutional Review Board approval has been received, work may begin. It is expected that each student will meet with their preceptor on a regular basis (normally at least monthly) during the conduct of the research project.

Upon completion of the research experience students are required to submit a final report/evaluation with a copy of materials developed during the research project to the Director or Program Coordinator. In addition, the faculty preceptor will submit a final report/evaluation. These reports will be submitted to the Graduate Certificate Committee for final approval.

Students have up to five (5) years to complete the Certificate. Extensions beyond this time require formal approval of the Graduate Certificate Committee.