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 Jacqueline Burse

Jacqueline Burse, PhD

Gerontology Coordinator
Assistant Professor

  • Office: Ross Hall 401L
  • Phone: 501-916-5836
  • Email: jrburse@ualr.edu


Image of an open laptop and an orange cup full of coffee sitting on a wooden table.

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


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We’re here to help you through the financial aid process every step of the way. At UA Little Rock, we believe everyone should be able to receive a college education and that cost shouldn’t be a barrier to that education. Financial Aid can seem scary, complicated, and intimidating at times—but it doesn’t have to! Please visit the official site for the Admissions and Financial Aid Office for more information.


We’re always happy to answer any questions you might have about our available programs. Use the form below to submit your inquiries to the School of Social Work advisors or call us at 501-916-3240.

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