Minor in Gerontology

An older couple sits on a bench overlooking a park and mountain range.

The Gerontology Program equips students with the knowledge and skills to work with the burgeoning population of older adults in the 21st Century. The Gerontology Program focuses not only on skills needed to work with aging individuals and their families but also with the greater social issues that impact older adults. The Gerontology Program is multi-disciplinary and is designed to serve professionals in a range of occupations, including social workers, nurses, care managers, rehabilitation counselors, audiologists, administrators, health care workers, educators as well as business professionals.


Photo of an older man smiling at the camera.

Gerontology is the study of the biological, psychological, and sociological phenomena associated with old age and aging. Courses in gerontology are designed to complement studies in a variety of other disciplines. The individual elective courses can be used as social work or in other disciplines as electives.

Because of our location in the capital city, Little Rock, students have immediate access to hands-on learning through our affiliations with organizations such as Arkansas State Hospital, Central Arkansas Veterans Health Administration, UAMS, and other area agencies.


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The Gerontology program interfaces with other undergraduate programs, allowing students to develop interdisciplinary skills to enhance their careers in gerontology. The curriculum includes classroom learning through traditional, online, and blended course offerings and hands-on experiences that meet the personnel needs of both public and private agencies.


The Gerontology program offers an undergraduate minor (18 credit hours). The minor is designed to provide professionals with knowledge of the biological, sociological, and psychological aspects of the aging process as well as an understanding of the social policies and services that respond to the needs of the older adult.

Minor (18 hours)

Required Courses (9 hours)
  • GERO 2300 Introduction to Aging and the Older Adult OR SOWK/GERO 4310 Social Gerontology
  • GERO/SOWK 4336 The Social Aspects of Death and Dying
  • GERO/SOWK 4337 Adult Development and Aging
Elective Courses (9 hours)

Up to 6 credits for electives can come from an undergraduate degree. Nine credits in total are needed as electives.*

*Please contact the program coordinator for questions about elective requirements.

Retention & Graduation Requirements

Retention Requirements

Students must maintain a 2.5 GPA to remain in the BSW program.

Graduation Requirements

Completion of all courses on degree plan with grades as required.

Course Descriptions

For a full list of courses and descriptions, please visit the UA Little Rock undergraduate catalog.

Gerontology and Social Work Courses

GERO 2300 Introduction to Aging and Older Adults
Prerequisites: RHET 1311 and 1312 or equivalents. SOCI 2300 or PSYC 2300 recommended. An overview of older adults as they relate to their social environment, with emphasis on the biological, psychological, and sociological aspects of aging. Three credit hours.

GERO 4310 Social Gerontology
This course explores the social aspects of aging – how do older adults affect society and how does society affect older adults? The interaction of older adults with society is examined along with many of our social institutions such as family, healthcare, government, and the economy. Also examined are the issues associated with our aging population and how those issues affect people of all ages. A number of current controversies associated with our changing population structure will be discussed in class. Three credit hours.

GERO/SOWK 4336 The Social Aspects of Death and Dying
Gerontology and social work seek to apply knowledge from the social sciences, medicine, and the humanities with the skills and values of the helping professions. The multidisciplinary study of death (thanatology) itself comes out of studying these different disciplines. There are many social, psychological, philosophical, and religious theories concerning the passage of death—for both ourselves and those around us. We will study many diverse contributions to the social aspects of death and dying. Three credit hours.

GERO/SOWK 4337 Adult Development and Aging
This course emphasizes the life course perspective as it looks at adult development and aging within the context of the social environment. Aspects of “successful aging” that will be examined cover growth and development from emerging adulthood to old age, and the impact that culture, gender, ethnicity, and individual differences have on these processes. Human development and aging is examined during early adulthood, middle adulthood, and late adulthood. We will study aspects of development that are common to persons of all ages across the life course, individual differences in development, and differences that characterize the separate age cohorts. Three credit hours.

SOWK 4330 Animal Assisted Therapy
Prerequisite: junior status. The course provides an overview of the interdisciplinary field of animal-assisted therapy and the human-animal bond. The course will include observations of AAT visits to human service settings and web-enhanced classes. Three credit hours.


Photo of Dr. Rosalie Otters

Rosalie Otters, Ph.D., MSW, D.Min. (LCSW)

Gerontology Coordinator
Associate Professor

Photo of Dr. Carolyn Turturro

Carolyn Turturro, PhD

Associate Professor


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The field of gerontology offers some wonderful resources to students and other interested parties. Please view the sections below to learn more about those resources. Some of the resources below may redirect you to another website.

Code of Ethics

Code of Ethics

Professional codes of ethics set forth the principles and ethical standards that underlie the responsibilities and conduct of helping professionals—for member gerontologists, social workers and nurses, among other helping professionals. These principles are to be used as guidelines when examining everyday professional activities. They constitute normative statements and provide guidance on issues that helping professionals may encounter in their professional work. Membership in helping professional organizations as the National Association for Professional Gerontologists (NAPG), the National Association of Social Workers (NASW) and any of a number of nursing professional organizations commit members to adhere to the helping profession’s code of ethics. Members are advised of this obligation when they are accepted as members. Violations of the membership ethical code often leads to the imposition of sanctions.

The National Association for Social Workers
The National Association for Professional Gerontologists

Student Resources

Arkansas Gerontological Society

CSWE Gero-Ed Center

Gerontological Society of America

Institute of Medicine
“Retooling for an Aging America: Building the Healthcare Workforce” is a full-length ebook describing the changing healthcare needs of older adults and how the healthcare industry needs to respond to those needs.

International Council on Active Aging

NASW Gerontology Blog

National Institute on Aging
leading the federal effort on aging research

UAMS Reynolds Institute on Aging

Student Support Services

Academic Success Center
Academic Success Center provides the opportunity for students to develop their skills in a way that promotes advanced achievement, administration, and demonstrates self-coordinated learning through astounding support services.

Blackboard Student Support
Blackboard Student Support offers a variety of resources for students taking classes online at UA Little Rock including tutorials, links to helpful resources, and answers to students’ frequently asked questions. Our support staff will try to respond to your help request within 24 hours, excluding weekends and U.S. holidays.

Career Services
Our Career Services program provides one-on-one guidance support for career planning, professional development, and job searching. We help our students recognize and explore career opportunities/options, distinguish and research prospective company openings that prompt your definitive profession objective, and develop resumes, introductory letters, and savvy interviewing techniques.

Community Connection Center
Community, Careers, and Extended Education (CCEE) promotes career building and learning that will enhance the lives at UA Little Rock. We encourage group networking, promote experiential learning to increase student involvement, and enhance collaborative faculty and student research.

Counseling Services
Counseling Services aims to give the best individual and group advising/counseling assistance to students experiencing mental, social, or learning complications.
Counseling Services provides evaluation, and steady and psycho-instructive directing appropriate to the UA Little Rock students.

Disability Resource Services
Our Disability Resource provides accessible services to people with disabilities so they may thrive and actively participate in their communities. We strive to work proactively with the campus on accessibility issues by developing convenient course design and accommodating all disability complications.

Financial Aid
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Green Dot initiative
The Green Dot initiative is all about creating a safe and positive campus environment through the power of community and we believe that any behavior‚ choice‚ word‚ or attitude has the capacity to promote the safety and well-being of all of us. The Green Dot Initiative communicates zero tolerance for violence and we are dedicated to making sure your experience at UA Little Rock is a danger-free zone.

Health Services
The UA Little Rock Office of Health Services aims to improve the health and wellness of the university community by providing all-inclusive, quality health care, and wellness promotion services. We believe in pushing aside barriers and hope to rekindle close relationships through our wellness building system.

Mathematics Assistance Center
The Mathematics Assistance Center (MAC) is an excellent place for students to study and receive exceptional guidance from experienced tutors. Needing help with an assignment at the last minute? No worries! We provide walk-in tutoring services in a friendly and relaxing environment for your needs!

Ottenheimer Library
The Ottenheimer Library provides students access to FREE and useful research databases and sources including but not limited to scholarly articles, journals, and essays. Wanting to check out a book or dvd? Come on down!

Writing Center
The University Writing Center (UWC) provides quality feedback about your writing, problem-solving strategies for your writing, and assistance with academic technology through both face-to-face and virtual writing consultations. If you are having trouble completing that essay for a class or starting that rough draft, we are here to aid you. Our services are free and accessible to all colleges, so don’t be shy! You have the “write” to be here.


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