Aging and Longevity Studies Program

Is a Certificate or a Minor in Your Future? 

The Aging and Longevity Studies Program provides students the opportunity to earn a credential in gerontology.  We offer a CERTIFICATE  (18 credits) which can be earned at the undergraduate or graduate level or an undergraduate MINOR (15 credits).

The certificate 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 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 online 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 is housed within the School of Social Work. A tenured faculty member, Mercedes Bern-Klug, serves as director of the program. An Advisory Committee provides guidance on matters of curriculum and program development. See the menu at the left for additional resources on aging or to join the Aging and Longevity Studies listserv.

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

  1. Certificate in Aging and 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 and 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 and Longevity Studies
    Undergraduate students may choose to obtain a minor instead of a certificate by successfully completing 15 semester hours in Aging and 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 specializing 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 for MSW students.  Watch a short video about the MSW Field of Practice in gerontology/aging.   Some changes are being considered --  please check with Professor Bern-Klug if interested.
  4. Nursing students can use  up to 9 credits of their required nursing credits toward earning  a Certificate or a Minor in Aging and Longevity Studies.    See checklist HERE.
  5. Health and Human Physiology Students.   Students can use credits from HHP courses toward the certificate in Aging and Longevity Studies. We will accept the course "Physiology of Aging" [HHP: 4470] as having met the requirement for the "Biology of Aging" course.   We will also accept HHP Practicum  [HHP:4350] as having met the ALSP internship requirement as long as ithe HHP pracitcum is in a setting with 50% or more clients aged 60 and older.  Therefore, HHP  students need only complete 12 additional credits to earn the certificate.    Click HERE for a checklist.
  6. 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 Interdepartmental Studies Program requires approval of a plan of study that includes 36 semester hours of upper-level coursework. Please contact the Interdepartmental Studies Program if you are interested. 

Eligibility & Enrollment

The Aging and 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 and Longevity Studies.  Earning a certificate is also open to students who have successfully completed high school. It is strongly encouraged --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 and Longevity Studies, or to design a major in Aging Studies through Interdepartmental Studies. To  enroll, please complete an enrollment form AND when you register for classes, indicate in "MyUI" that you are working toward a certificate or a minor in aging studies.


Please refer to the UI General Catalogue of courses for a short description of  aging-related classes:

Contact with your questions:

Professor Mercedes Bern-Klug  

319 335-1265