Are you passionate about community health, advancement, and advocacy? Do you believe that geriatric populations are too often marginalized or disregarded within large, important conversations about healthcare? Do you envision yourself leading research teams or healthcare providers toward more holistic care?
Then a master’s degree in gerontology may be for you!
What kind of online Master’s in Gerontology should you get?
Though each of the 15 programs on our list ensures a solid foundation in gerontology principles, each varies some in its emphasis and structure. For example, while some programs seek to prepare you for a career in fast-paced healthcare settings, others get you ready for a successful career in research methodology.
What’s most important is finding a program that suits your passion and career goals. That’s why here at College Choice we’ve been sure to differentiate those programs that provide hands-on learning from those that are based in psychological, sociological, and physiological theory. And, of course, many of programs lay somewhere in between (we’ve noted those as well!).
Though these degrees vary by emphasis, every one of them can be fully completed online. Not only is distance learning a flexible way to earn your degree, it’s often one of the most affordable ways to advance your education and career.
Whether you’re just considering online options or you’re ready to enroll, be sure to check out College Choice’s Most Affordable Online Colleges and Universities for a Master’s Degree.
How much money do people make with an online Master’s in Gerontology?
With a Master’s in Gerontology you will be ready for careers in diverse sectors of the workforce. Whether you’re seeking employment in a large hospital, a small clinic, or somewhere in between, the opportunities for one with this advanced degree vary widely. For that reason, it’s difficult to nail down an exact average salary. However, one thing is for sure. Those working in gerontology and community service make good money and have stable careers.
For example, social and community service managers make on average $64,680 annually. And that’s just the average. Gerontologists can make upwards of $79,530 a year! On top of all that good news, it’s projected that the field will expand another 18 percent in the next few years.
What can you do with an online Master’s in Gerontology?
Though most believe a graduate degree in gerontology puts them on the path toward direct client care—which it surely can—this degree is substantially more versatile.
For example, not only can a graduate degree in gerontology set you up to work as a geriatric care manager, but you will also be fully equipped to work in mental health and psychology. Likewise, you will learn the advocacy and communication skills that will make you a great leader and manager.
You can also find yourself in an array of settings, from nursing and retirement facilities to home healthcare, hospice, nonprofit agencies, and much more. Which is to say, an online MS in Gerontology can be used in countless ways and in countless contexts.
What are the requirements for an online Master’s in Gerontology?
To earn a Master’s in Gerontology online you will have to commit at least one year to full time study, if not two or three. The length of the program depends on its emphasis and structure. For example, some of these schools offer degrees that are notably hands-on, preparing students for careers in direct client-care. Often these programs require field work and practicums.
Either way, you will allocate either your first term or first full year to foundations in gerontology principles. This includes everything from adult development to aging psychology, healthcare systems, and sociology. From there you will dive into specialized gerontology classes such as:
- Public Policy: Economic and Social Impacts on Older Adults
- Aging in the Family
- Management of Healthcare Organizations
- Biology of Aging
In conjunction with your coursework you will participate in research opportunities, real-world case studies, and field practicums.
What are the best online Master’s in Gerontology?
Though some of these schools are small liberal arts colleges and others large research universities, all 15 have one thing in common: they are the nation’s best online Graduate Gerontology programs.
To determine the nation’s best programs we looked at every school offering the degree online. From there we narrowed our list by bringing in crucial factors such as the school’s reputation and retention rates. From there we examined the tuition rates as well as the salaries of graduates to get an idea of the return on investment.
This thorough research gave us the nation’s best online MS in Gerontology degrees.
University of Southern California
College Choice Score: 100
Average Net Price: $32,932
The University of Southern California is an elite research-based university. It is located in Los Angeles and is a known leader in the areas of health care, business, law, social work, and engineering. Approximately 45,000 students attend USC.
The renowned USC Leonard Davis School of Gerontology offers a MS in Gerontology degree that can be earned online. This two year program introduces you to the research and policy behind aging as well as how to enact strong leadership in advocacy foundations and organizations. In addition to a field practicum you will take the following classes:
- Physiology of Development and Aging
- Life Span Developmental Psychology
- Social Policy and Aging
- Integrating Gerontology: A Multidisciplinary Approach
Among all universities nationwide, USC is ranked 21st by U.S. News & World Report. It is also praised by USA Today, Reuters, and The Princeton Review, among others. USC is considered a “Top 10 Dream School” and one of the best universities on the West Coast.
University of Nebraska Omaha
College Choice Score: 95.73
Average Net Price: $11,223
The Omaha member within the wider University of Nebraska System is a public research-based school. It is designated an active research university by the Carnegie group and is known for its strengths in computer science, technology, and informatics. UNO is also a leader in healthcare.
UNO’s College of Public Affairs and Community Service offers a unique degree opportunity: a MA in Social Gerontology. This program gives students two options for study and specialization. For those who want to go into research and teaching, students can enroll in the thesis track. And for those who want to go into direct client care, the non-thesis option provides hands-on experience. Either way, you will take core classes such as:
- Psychology of Adult Development
- Health Aspects of Aging
- Baby Boomers and the 21st Century
- Programs and Services for the Elderly
U.S. News & World Report ranks UNO well across several categories. For example, not only is the university ranked nationally, but its online and graduate programs are equally renowned. Also, its continuing education program is among the most highly regarded.
Nova Southeastern University
College Choice Score: 93.74
Average Net Price: $25,344
Nova Southeastern University is located in Davie, Florida. It is a large school organized into nearly 20 discrete colleges through which it offers more than 250 areas of study. Around 25,000 students attend NSU.
The MA in Gerontology program at NSU emphasizes the social justice and humanitarian aspects of gerontological care. Therefore, students take unique classes on ageism, policy, and societal structures. Graduates from the NSU program have gone on to work in an array of settings, including though not limited to:
- Nursing homes
- Continuing care communities
- Home health care
- Mental health and family agencies
NSU is well-ranked by Forbes, U.S. News & World Report, and Washington Monthly. It is designated an active research university. In addition to its academic reputation, NSU is praised for its graduate income averages and its diversity.
Iowa State University
College Choice Score: 91.44
Average Net Price: $13,623
Iowa State University is a science and technology school. It is located in Ames, and is the largest university in the state of Iowa. Over 36,000 combined undergraduate and graduate students attend Iowa State.
At Iowa State you can earn an MS in Family and Consumer Science with a Gerontology specialization. Furthermore, through a breadth of electives you can explore and specialize in everything from gender and aging to sexuality, spirituality, gerontechnology, and more. But you will also take core classes that provide a foundation in gerontology principles, such as:
- Aging in the Family
- Nutrition and Physical Activity in Aging
- Environments and Aging
- Adult Development
Iowa State is a flagship university as well as a land and space-grant institution. It is nationally and globally ranked across the board, though it is specifically strong in the areas of health, agriculture, forestry, and engineering.
University of Florida
College Choice Score: 90.27
Average Net Price: $11,976
The University of Florida is located in Gainesville and is the leading member of the larger State University System of Florida. UF is organized into 16 academic schools and colleges. And with more than 40,000 students, UF is a sprawling research institution and one of the largest schools in the state.
This MS in Medical Sciences degree with a concentration in Gerontology is ideal for those who want to go into or advance their knowledge of direct-client care. The program provides students with a comprehensive overview of aging from clinical, psychological, sociological, physiological, and epidemiological perspectives. Classes include:
- Theories of Aging
- Geriatric and Age-Related Disease
- Population-Based Research on Aging
- Biology of Aging
UF is the site of vibrant, extensive research activity. Not only is the campus home to more than 150 research labs, centers, and initiatives, the school is known for its professional degree programs. UF is nationally ranked among the top 50 best schools in the U.S.
Kansas State University
College Choice Score: 89.36
Average Net Price: $16,431
Kansas State University is located in Manhattan, Kansas. It was founded as the first public school in the state and today is home to more than 25,000 students. KSU is a flagship school and a land and space grant university.
KSU’s Global Campus and the College of Human Ecology offer an MS in Gerontology that can be completed fully online. This program readies students to work in health promotion, counseling, management, and other direct-care settings. Classes you can expect to take at KSU include:
- Perspectives in Gerontology
- Public Policy: Economic and Social Impacts on Older Adults
- Aging in the Family
- Physical Health and Nutrition in Aging
An active research university, KSU is prominent in the fields of agriculture, horticulture, and conservation. Though over the years, the University has become strong in other affiliate areas, such as food safety, bioenergy, and health science.
University of Indianapolis
College Choice Score: 89.30
Average Net Price: $21,909
The University of Indianapolis is a mid-sized school owned and operated by the United Methodist Church. Today it has over 5,000 students and more than 100 academic degree programs. UIndy is comprised of nearly 10 colleges that specialize in everything from physical therapy to applied behavioral science.
The multidisciplinary MS in Gerontology program at UIndy sets students up for diverse career options. In addition to taking core classes on subjects such as the physical dimensions of aging, aging within communities, and the psychology of aging, you will also specialize in an area of your own choosing. Options include:
- Aging in Place: 21st Century Issues
- Programming in Health Promotion
- Applied Public Policy
- Ethics and Aging
UIndy is home to several renowned research and cultural centers. Among them are the highly regarded Professional Edge Center, the Richard G. Lugar Academy, and the Center for Aging and Community. The University is ranked among the best in the Midwest.
Wichita State University
College Choice Score: 88.38
Average Net Price: $14,175
Wichita State University is a large university with more than 15,000 students and over 200 academic areas of study. WSU is organized into six colleges through which it offers programs at all degree levels, from associate to doctorate. It is a public, research-based university located in Wichita, Kansas.
WSU offers an online Master’s in Aging Studies degree through their College of Health Professions. This program can be completed in as few as 12 months of full-time study, and it covers everything from the business aspects of gerontological care to holistic wellness perspectives. There are also three areas to specialize in:
- Public Health
- Social Sciences
The National Science Foundation has ranked WSU among the top five schools in the U.S. for its research expenditures. In addition to its academic and research rankings, WSU is also known for its social mobility, its extensive library collections, and its commitment to providing student research opportunities.
College Choice Score: 88.25
Average Net Price: $23,329
McDaniel College is a liberal arts school located in Westminster, Maryland, just outside of Baltimore. The College offers around 80 undergraduate and graduate degree programs. Just under 2,000 students attend McDaniel.
When you earn your MS in Gerontology at McDaniel you will come to better understand the complex relationships between health and social structures. You will also learn how to communicate effectively with clients, how to develop your research, and how to assess and apply gerontological research data. Graduates have gone on to work in:
- Local, state, and federal agencies
- Healthcare and long-term care institutions
- Community organizations
- Academic and educational institutions
McDaniel College is most praised for The McDaniel Plan. This initiative gives students both creative license to design their academic experience as well as access to directed studies, internships, and practicums. U.S. News & World Report ranks the college among the top liberal arts schools in the nation.
University of Utah
College Choice Score: 87.68
Average Net Price: $11,322
The University of Utah is a flagship university based in Salt Lake City. It is among the nation’s most active research universities, as designated by the Carnegie Classification. More than 32,000 combined undergraduate and graduate students attend UU.
Utah offers a MS in Gerontology degree that is notably interdisciplinary and can be completed online in as little as one year. Because this program crosses many departments and subjects, graduates have been able to secure careers in a range of fields, including recreational therapy, strategic policy analysis, grant writing, assisted living management, and so much more. Required coursework covers:
- Services and Programs for Older Adults
- Health and Optimal Aging
- Social and Public Policy and Aging
- Advanced Physiology and Psychology of Aging
Utah has graduated dozens of Nobel Prize winners, MacArthur Fellows, Pulitzer recipients, astronauts, Churchill scholars, and more. It is ranked among the top 50 U.S. universities by total research expenditure, and it is nationally ranked by U.S. News & World Report, Forbes, Washington Monthly, and more.
College Choice Score: 86.38
Average Net Price: $19,650
Brenau University is located in Gainesville, Georgia. It is a private school with four colleges, multiple campuses, and a sprawling distance education platform. Around 3,500 students attend one of Brenau’s campuses, earning everything from associate to doctoral degrees.
The MS in Applied Gerontology degree at Brenau is markedly interdisciplinary. It brings together core concepts in nursing, legal issues, business and management, and advocacy to give students a broad foundation in aging and gerontological care. You will be expected to complete fieldwork or a major project in addition to completing core classes such as:
- Cultural and Social Issues of Aging
- Effective Communication with the Elderly
- Death, Dying, and Loss
- Physical Aspects of Aging
Brenau consistently makes U.S. News & World Report’s annual “America’s Best Colleges” guidebook. Additionally, the online programs are also highly regarded, having been established more than 15 years ago. They are known for their affordability, quality, and student-centric emphasis.
College Choice Score: 76.38
Average Net Price: $19,650
Webster University is located in Webster Groves, Missouri, and is home to more than 14,000 students. Despite its size, and its many campuses, Webster provides a liberal arts education in addition to professional degree training. In fact, the University is organized into schools of business, fine arts, technology, education, and communications.
Webster University offers a MA in Gerontology degree that enables students to integrate theory and practice when it comes to healthcare in older populations. This program provides a comprehensive look at aging that includes physical, psychological, economic, and social science perspectives. Some of the classes you’ll take as a Webster student include:
- Economic Issues for Older Adults
- Physiology of Aging
- Social Science Perspectives in Gerontology
- Management of Programs for Older Adults
Webster is regionally ranked by U.S. News & World Report. Likewise, it is considered among the top 15 best schools in the nation for veterans. It is ranked 55th among the most affordable universities in the U.S.
Concordia University, Nebraska
College Choice Score: 86.34
Average Net Price: $19,335
The Nebraska branch within the ten-member Concordia University System is located in Seward. It is affiliated with the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod and organized into three small colleges: the arts and sciences school, the college of education, and the college of graduate studies.
For those who specifically want a healthcare-oriented perspective on gerontology, Concordia University in Nebraska offers the ideal program. This is an online Master of Healthcare Administration degree with a concentration in Gerontology. In addition to studying social gerontology, issues in aging, and long-term care, core courses include:
- Health Services Organization
- Healthcare Financial Management
- Management of Healthcare Organizations
- Healthcare Policy
Concordia University is ranked among the top 40 best schools in the Midwest by U.S. News & World Report. Not only is the university praised for its academic programs, both traditional and online, but it is ranked 10th nationally for its value and affordability.
University of Louisiana at Monroe
College Choice Score: 85.11
Average Net Price: $9,145
Nearly 10,000 students are enrolled in one of the many programs offered at the Monroe campus within the wider University of Louisiana System. Indeed, ULM is known for many of its academic and professional programs, though its most popular are in the health sciences, business, and education.
ULM’s MA in Gerontology offers six specializations to help students focus their education around their career goals:
- Long-term Care Administration
- Program Administration
- Small Business Management
- Grief Care Management
- Mental Health
- Aging Studies
ULM is a school with many rankings, accolades, and recognitions to its name. For example, U.S. News & World Report ranks it among the top 40 best public schools in its region. And it is ranked among the top 100 nationally for its online degrees.
Concordia University Chicago
College Choice Score: 82.81
Average Net Price: $19,980
Also a member of the Concordia University System, the Chicago campus is notably bigger than the Nebraska campus, with more than 5,000 students, most of whom are enrolled in a graduate program. Concordia University Chicago is a private, liberal arts school based just outside of downtown in River Forest.
Concordia University in Chicago provides an MA in Gerontology that can be completed fully online. This hands-on degree introduces you both to research techniques and direct client care strategies. In addition to foundational classes on development, research, and sociological perspectives, you will also have the opportunity to take classes such as:
- Aging, Values, Attitudes, and Ethics
- Diversity in Aging
- Public Policies and Aging
- Plus a Practicum in Gerontology
Ranked 75th among all Midwest universities, Concordia University Chicago is a well-decorated school. Its online programs are some of the best in the nation, and it is ranked 47th nationally in affordability.