Aging and Longevity Studies Program

NOTE: The "Aging Studies Program" at the University of Iowa has been renamed the "Aging & Longevity Studies Program" effective January 2017. The new name will be phased in during the spring semester of 2017 and will fully replace the former name by August 2017. 

The Aging & Longevity Studies Program is a multidisciplinary curriculum program consisting of courses in the Psychological, Biological/Health, and Social/Cultural aspects of aging which have been coordinated and sequenced to provide a planned program of study for students with academic, research or service career interests in aging—which includes geriatrics and gerontology.  The Aging & Longevity Studies Program serves both undergraduate and graduate students.     10 minute overview of Certificate and Minor at University of Iowa

The Program draws upon existing courses and works with faculty to develop new courses.   Aging-specific core courses are principally focused on older persons and/or the aging process.  Aging-related cross-listed courses have at least 50% of the content related to aging, longevity and/or older adulthood. To see the courses available each semester check the University of Iowa course lists and type in "ASP."   The in-person and on-line courses available each semester will be listed.  Course selection--especially in terms of electives--varies from semester to semester and from year to year.

The program is administered by the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences in cooperation with other colleges of the University, and housed within the School of Social Work. A tenured faculty member, Mercedes Bern-Klug, serves as director of the program. An Advisory Committee advises on matters of curriculum. See the menu at the left for additional resources on aging or to join the Aging & Longevity Studies listserv.

There are many options for specializing in Aging  & Longevity Studies:

  1. Certificate in Aging & Longevity Studies
    Students successfully completing 18 semester hours of approved coursework who have also completed the requirements for an undergraduate degree will be awarded a certificate by the Registrar and an entry will be made on the student's transcript indicating completion of the requirements for the Aging & Longevity Studies Program.  This option is available to University of Iowa undergraduate and graduate students.  It is also available to persons who have already earned an undergraduate degree from any accredited US college or university, as well as to persons who have not earned a college degree.    Click HERE for Undergraduate check list        Click HERE for  Graduate check list     8 minute video on earning the Certificate
  2. Minor in Aging & Longevity Studies
    Undergraduate students may choose to obtain a minor instead of a certificate by successfully completing 15 semester hours in Aging & Longevity Studies. Click HERE for a check list.    4 minute video on Minor
  3. Specialization in Gerontological Social Work       Undergraduate social work students have the option of earning 12 credits in aging-related classes and specialize in gerontological aging.  MSW students can declare their Field of Practice to be gerontology/aging by earning 15 credits in aging.    Click here for more information. Cllick HERE for a check list.  Another option is to watch a short video about the MSW Field of Practice in gerontology/aging.
  4. Individualized Major in Aging Studies
    Undergraduate students in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences also have the option of designing an individualized program in Aging Studies leading to a Bachelor of Arts by applying to and being accepted by the Interdepartmental Studies Program. Entry into the program requires approval of a plan of study that includes 36 semester hours of upper-level coursework. 
  5. Nursing students can use  6 credits of their required nursing credits toward earning  a Certificate or a Minor in Aging & Longevity Studies.  Click HERE for a short video explaining the arrangements for nursing students to earn a credential in Aging & Longevity Studies.

Eligibility & Enrollment

The Aging & Longevity Studies Program is open to all UI undergraduate and graduate students.  Students who have completed an undergraduate degree at any accredited university in the US can earn a Certificate in Aging studies.  Earning a certificate is also open to students who have successfully completed high school. It is strongly suggested--especially for persons who have not earned an undergraduate college degree-- that students first complete Aging Matters: Introduction to Gerontology (formerly called: Basic Aspects of Aging) before taking other aging-related classes.

All UI students in good standing are invited to begin working toward a certificate or minor in Aging Studies, or to design a major in Aging Studies through Interdepartmental Studies. There is no formal application to join the Aging Studies Program; however, we ask that when you register for classes,  you indicate in "MyUI" that you are working toward a certificate or a minor in aging studies.  That way we know who is in the pipeline :).


 Drop-in weekly office hours with Dr. Bern-Klug are Tuesdays  9:00am -  noon during the fall and spring semesters, Room 207, North Hall.  Office hours include the option for an in-person meeting, a ZOOM on-line meeting, or a phone call.

UI Aging & Longevity Studies Program
Director, Mercedes Bern-Klug, PhD, MSW
Room  207 North Hall  (mailing address is 308  North Hall)
University of Iowa
Iowa City, IA 52242
Phone: (319) 335-1265
Fax: (319) 335-1711