College of Public Health students graduating

Who We Are


The Ph.D. in Gerontology has been the mainstay and foundation of the Graduate Center for Gerontology since its founding in 1996. Students seeking to become national or international leaders in aging research, teaching, and service are best served by this degree. The Graduate Center for Gerontology continues to be an innovator in holistic and integrative gerontological research and maintains this mission with faculty member interests that include: studies of neurodegeneration; functional studies of muscle hypertrophy; intervention strategies for health behavior and health promotion; health literacy; cancer rehabilitation; investigation of high risk decision making strategies; transactional perspectives on aging/environment interactions and their relationship to health and wellbeing; environmental gerontology; aging in rural and Appalachian environments; life course dynamics in health trajectories and behaviors; gerontological education; and local, state, national, and international public policy.


Gerontology embraces a wide array of disciplines and scholarly perspectives that include the social sciences and humanities, biology, biochemistry, medicine, and the health sciences. Studies of aging and of older persons have long been situated within these individual disciplines and have generally assumed the theoretical foundations and dominant methodological approaches that characterize particular disciplines. The Graduate Center for Gerontology (GCG) takes a different approach.

The GCG at the University of Kentucky recognizes diverse approaches for exploring aging and older persons. Instead of limiting students to a particular discipline, we encourage development of an integrative way of thinking. The GCG embraces the continuum of sub-cell to society, an approach to the study of aging that seeks to improve the human condition on every level. Although students at the doctoral level cannot become experts in all areas and scales of inquiry, we expect our graduates to be able to:

  • Critically assess disciplinary approaches to studies of aging and older persons;
  • Integrate relevant concepts and theories from diverse disciplines to effectively plot important research directions; and
  • Effectively employ the best possible research designs and methods in addressing scholarly and applied questions in gerontology; and
  • Establish expertise in a clear area of scholarship, while situating this expertise within a multi-scale and interdisciplinary context that acknowledges the complexity associated with becoming and being old.


Graduate Center for Gerontology
Multi-Disciplinary Science Bldg.
725 Rose Street, Suite 401
Lexington, KY 40536-0082

Administrative Associate - Suzanne Greer
Director Graduate Studies- John F. Watkins, Ph.D.
Director Graduate Center for Gerontology- John F. Watkins, Ph.D.