May 30, 2024  
2015-2016 UMass Dartmouth Undergraduate Catalog 
2015-2016 UMass Dartmouth Undergraduate Catalog [Archived Catalog]

Aging and Health Minor

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Aging in the 21st Century: Healthy aging is a triumph of science. People are living longer due to advances in health, science and technology.  As a result, the population is aging all over the world and in our own communities. Consider these numbers:  11% of the world’s population is over 60. In the U.S., 13% of the population is over 65. In Massachusetts, 14% of the population is over 65. In nearby Barnstable County the number of adults 65+ is a dramatic 25%. The numbers are only going to increase:

  • In the U.S. by 2030, the number of adults 65 and older (20 million) will be nearly the same as the number under 18 years of age (21 million).
  • In the U.S., in less than 20 years the number of adults over 65 is expected to increase to 20% of the population. In 2030 the so called “Baby Boomers” (those born between 1946 and 1964) will begin turning 85. Currently, people over 85 are the fastest growing age cohort in the U.S.

The growing aging population will have a widespread impact and bring unprecedented change health care, medicine, work, lifestyle (family, housing, transportation, travel, and recreation), business (consumer needs, marketing, customer service, service delivery) and public policy.  By having a comprehensive understanding of Aging and Health, students will be better prepared to meet the challenges and opportunities the “Age Wave” brings.

Introduction: The Aging and Health minor is the scientific study of aging and older adults from a biological, psychological, and social perspective.  It is a multidisciplinary program supervised by faculty from many disciplines and colleges within the university.  Our students are trained in basic science, health, social science, and statistics.

The minor is open to all students and is intended to open educational and career opportunities for students who have an interest in the scientific study of aging. The program is appropriate for students who want to more fully understand the aging process as it relates to the individual and society from the health perspective. The program is structured for students without previous experience or training in aging and health, yet could also be combined with complementary programs to prepare students for health careers and graduate training.


Qualified students may complete an academic minor. To declare a minor, the student must be a degree candidate who has earned no fewer than 24 earned credits, with a minimum cumulative grade point average of 2.000 and a minimum 2.500 grade point average in the major. Approved minors consist of at least 18 credits, of which at least 9 must be at the upper division (300‐400) level and may only be counted toward the minor. A college may define electives that are permitted to be used towards the minor. A department offering a minor may establish other requirements beyond these minimal requirements. Entry into courses with the PSY designation will generally require a 2.75 cumulative GPA or higher, unless otherwise approved. Entry into courses with the LCE designation will require a 3.00 overall GPA or higher.

Application for admission should be made to the Director of the Gerontology Center or Program Coordinator.  Course substitutions are at the discretion of the Center Director or Program Coordinator. Non-degree candidates may enroll in individual courses with approval.

A minor must be completed at the time of the degree and will be so noted on the student’s transcript.  A student cannot be readmitted to the University to complete only a minor.


For additional information and discussion of the Aging and Health Minor, students should contact the Ora M. DeJesus Gerontology Center at 508-999-8376 or visit

Required Courses (18 Credits)

Students are required to take a total of 18 credits from the approved list of courses.

Two courses are required for the Aging and Health Minor (6 credits):

Ethics or Data Analysis or Fieldwork (3 credits)

Students must also take 3 credits from the approves list of Ethics or Data Analysis or Fieldwork electives below:


At least 9 of the 18 credits must be at the upper-division level.

For students selecting a Fieldwork elective to fulfill the third category, the student would complete either a research experience (Research emphasis) or a practicum in aging (Practitioner emphasis) for three credits. The research experience can be as part of an independent study, honor’s thesis, directed study in selected departments or experiential learning when completed through a faculty member’s research laboratory. The practicum in aging is for students desiring work experience for careers in age-related fields and can be part of a gerontology practicum course, directed study in selected departments, or experiential learning at a community agency, hospital, or other facility with interaction with older adults. The applicable courses include, but are not limited to: ENL 298, NUR 298, NUR 495, GRT298, GRT495, GRT496, PSY298, PSY495, PSY498, and PSY499.

Example Combinations of Courses for Most Common Majors:

Psychology Students: PSY 301, PSY 475, NUR 105, BIO 101, SOC 177, and PHL 215.

Nursing Students:  PSY301, PSY475, BIO221, NUR105, SOC101, and PHL317.

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