Gerontology Thematic Sequences

Questions? Want to Register?

If you have additional questions about the thematic sequences in Gerontology or to declare a thematic sequence in Gerontology, please contact the advisor Dr. Sara McLaughlin at

Aging in Diverse Contexts

A significant paradigm shift has occurred within gerontology. The accumulation of research findings suggests that age alone predicts very little about the human experience. Instead, the impact of age and aging is mediated by a range of social and cultural factors. Social characteristics such as gender, race, ethnicity, and societal factors such as economic development and cultural traditions combine to produce a diverse range of experiences and patterns of aging. This thematic sequence begins with an overview of the social, cultural, and personal experiences of aging. The Tier 2 course will provide you with grounding in sociocultural analyses of the contexts of aging, and the Tier 3 course is an in-depth exploration of the sources of variation in the aging experience. Students who complete this sequence will understand the ways in which the meanings and experiences of aging are shaped by social and physical location, and the ways in which diversity among the older population is produced.

Tier 1: Big Ideas in Aging(GTY 154)

Tier 2: Global Aging (GTY 260) or Social Forces and Aging (GTY 318)

Tier 3: Issues and Controversies in Aging (GTY 354) or Research on Inequality in Aging and Health (GTY 479) or Families in Later Life (FSW 466)

Aging and Health

This thematic sequence explores health and aging. The Tier 1 course provides you with an overview of the processes of aging, especially in the United States. In tier 2, students select one of two courses, each examining health and aging from a different position along a continuum that ranges from micro- to macro/meso-level contexts. The tier 3 courses offer students the opportunity to integrate academic and applied aspects of health and aging, either through exploration of moral issues in health care, secondary data analysis, or a field experience in a health care setting.

Tier 1: Big Ideas in Aging (GTY 154)

Tier 2: Global Aging (GTY 260) or Social Forces and Aging (GTY 318) 

Tier 3: Applied Research in Gerontology (GTY 362) or Aging & Health (GTY 456) or Research on Inequality in Aging & Health (GTY 479)

Aging and Policy

This thematic sequence focuses on age-related policies. It is designed to introduce students to the broad topic of aging in American society, policies and programs, and fill a gap in the current curriculum by analyzing and debating current aging policy topics.

Tier 1: Big Ideas in Aging (GTY 154)

Tier 2: Introduction to Policies and Programs (GTY 365)

Tier 3: Policies and Programs in an Aging Society (GTY 465)