Santa Clara University

Psychology department

Gerontology Program

Gerontology Emphasis

Director: Patricia M. Simone

Gerontology is the study of adults over 65 and of the aging process. Majors from any field may enhance their credentials and their ability to work with this population through the gerontology certificate program. Students examine influences on the roles and quality of life of older adults as well as physical and psychological aspects of aging. Courses investigate perceptions about older adults in various societies and how the experiences of older people differ according to culture, ethnicity, class, and gender. Students complete a practicum that gives them experience working with this population in various settings. Completion of the gerontology certificate program is noted on a student’s transcript and students receive a certificate acknowledging their achievement.


Requirements for Certificate

Students must complete the following requirements to receive a certificate in gerontology:

Lower-Division Courses

At least one of the following four courses:

  • SOCI 1: Principles of Sociology
  • ANTH 1 or 3: Intro to Biological Anthropology or Intro to Social & Cultural Anthropology
  • PSYC 1 or 2: General Psychology 1 or 1
  • PHSC 21: Health and Aging

Upper-Division Courses

Upper division Requirements- At least Five (one must be ANTH 172 or PSYC 196 and one must be 198)

  • ANTH 172: Anthropology of Aging
  • PSYC 117: Health Psychology
  • PSYC 119: Psychology of Death, Dying and Loss
  • PSYC 196: Psychology of Aging
  • TESP 157: Ethics in Health Professions
  • SOCI 172: Management of Health Care Organizations
  • SOCI 138: Population in India, China, in the US
  • SOCI 148: Stakeholder Diversity in Contemporary American Organizations
  • PSYC:198: Gerontologoy Related Practicum approved by Director. Typically completed Sr. Year



After Graduation

While gerontological specialists devote most of their professional time working for or with older people, the roles that gerontological specialists carry out are diverse. Examples of jobs in traditional fields: clinical psychologists, counselors, educators and researchers, lawyers, long-term care administrators, nurses, physicians, recreation therapists, rehabilitation therapists, social workers, marketing specialists, managers, program planners.


For more information, contact Dr. Patti Simone at 408-554-4577 or


Department of Psychology
Santa Clara University
500 El Camino Real
Santa Clara, CA 95053