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College of Human Environmental Sciences

Graduate Certificate in Gerontological Social Work

older person with groceriesWelcome! The University of Missouri Graduate Certificate in Gerontological Social Work is open to MSW students from any social work program nationwide, as well as currently practicing social workers with a BSW or MSW degree. The University of Missouri School of Social Work has a long history of training gerontological social workers and conducting research in the field of aging.

Training Social Workers to Respond to a Growing Need

Gerontological social work is one of the fastest growing fields within the profession, with a 25-34% job growth in the past decade. Therefore, the demand for social workers who have specialized training in working with older adults is very high. This certificate program is designed to help train the next generation of geriatric social work practitioners. Individuals enrolled in this certificate program will build knowledge and expertise in working with older adults and their families in a variety of settings that serve the aging population. This program offers an interdisciplinary emphasis, as social workers often work on large, interdisciplinary teams on behalf of their older clients. In addition, this program also focuses on building awareness of aging policies and services, as well as advocacy of older adults.

As a result of earning this Graduate Certificate in Gerontological Social Work, students enrolled in an MSW program as well as practicing social workers who hold a BSW or MSW degree can expect enhanced employability in the field.

Graduate Certificate in Gerontological Social Work Curricula

This certificate program consists of 12 credit hours (see curricula below). In addition, for those currently enrolled in the University of Missouri MSW program, you are required to complete your full-time block practicum experience (i.e. 40 hours/week; 680 total hours) during your final semester of the program in a setting where you will gain skill in practicing with older adults.

These courses are available online, and some are available in-seat as well. If you would like to propose a substitution for one of these courses, please contact the Director with the course number, course name, and the course description. These requests will be taken into consideration and you will be notified with a decision of your request.

Please note that the semester in which courses are offered and the method of delivery (i.e. class type) can frequently change. Please consult the current degree offerings at MU to verify that a particular course will be offered when you aim to enroll. You may also contact the Director of the certificate program if you have questions about course offerings.

All students enrolled in the certificate program are required to complete the following courses offered through the MU SSW.

Number Course Name Credits Semester Offered Class Type
SW 7480 Helping Strategies with Older Persons 3 Fall Online
SW 8240 Social Policy for Older Adults 3 Fall Online

All students enrolled in the certificate program are required to complete one of the following courses offered through the MU SSW.

Number Course Name Credits Semester Offered Class Type
SW 7395 Death, Grief, and Loss 3 Fall In-Person Online (Summer)
SW 8210 Disability Rights Advocacy 3 Fall Online

All students enrolled in the certificate program are required to complete one of the following interdisciplinary courses. If you are currently enrolled at another university, you may substitute a course offered at your institution with the approval of the Director.

Number Course Name Credits Semester Offered Class Type
HDFS 7255 Aging Policy 3 Fall Online
HDFS 7256 Environment and Aging 3 Spring Online
HDFS 7257 Aging and the Family 3 Spring Online
HDFS 7259 Mental Health and Aging 3 Spring Online
HDFS 7260 Women and Aging 3 Spring Online
HDFS 7261 Biological Principles of Aging 3 Spring Online
HDFS 7500 Developing Plans of Care for Community-dwelling Older Adults 3 Fall Online
HDFS 7583 Personal Financial Issues of Older Adults 3 Spring Online
HDFS 7751 Psychosocial Function and Older Adults 3 Spring Online
HDFS 8221 Gerontechnology 3 Fall Online
HDFS 8222 Creativity and Aging 3 Summer Online
HDFS 8251 Perspectives in Gerontology 3 Summer Online
HDFS 8253 Physical Health in Aging 3 Fall Online
HDFS 8254 Gerontology Research Methods and Program Evaluation 3 Spring Online
HDFS 8258 Professional Seminar in Gerontology 3 Summer Online

For those currently enrolled in the University of Missouri MSW program, you are required to complete your full-time block practicum experience (i.e. 40 hours/week; 680 total hours) during your final semester of the program in a setting where you will gain skill in practicing with older adults. The Director of Field Education in conjunction with myself will work with students to choose a practicum setting that fits the MU SSW requirements and student interests.

Apply Now

Questions? If you have questions or would like to receive more information about this certificate program, please contact the Director of the Graduate Certificate in Gerontological Social Work.