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Gerontology Graduate Programs

Gerontology is the study of aging throughout the lifecourse, and it is relevant to nearly every career and field imaginable. Miami is home to some of the top gerontology experts and programs in the world. Led by engaged, innovative faculty and internationally recognized research scholars, Miami offers a learning environment unlike any other.

Miami offers two graduate programs in gerontology:

Master of Gerontological Studies

The Master of Gerontological Studies (MGS) degree prepares you for work in a wide variety of aging-related fields. MGS graduates hold jobs in a range of public and private settings as administrators, planners, practitioners, researchers, advocates, and trainers. New job opportunities for well-trained gerontologists are constantly emerging. Many of our graduates go on to pursue doctoral degrees.

Doctorate in Social Gerontology

Our doctoral program encourages you to integrate knowledge and research methods from a range of behavioral and social sciences in your study of social gerontology. Our program–the first in the state of Ohio, and among the first in the nation–prepares scholars and educators who can meet the challenges, demands, and opportunities presented by global aging. You will be prepared to teach and conduct research in institutions of higher education, and hold positions in policy or service organizations.
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Scripps Gerontology Center: What we look for in student applicants

Scholarships and Funding

Like all of our colleagues at Miami, we embrace the higher education goal of nurturing critical and creative thinkers. For us, this means fully integrating education with research. We do this by including graduate assistantships in our proposals for research funding. This creates a learning environment at Miami unlike any other because it’s centered on the student research experience, grounding you in the essentials and empowering you with hands-on opportunities.

Graduate Assistantships are awarded to students who are working toward a master’s or doctoral degree. Students work 18–20 hours per week, receive a stipend, a waiver of tuition, and out-of-state tuition surcharge (if applicable). Graduate Assistants are also eligible for a service-free summer scholarship if engaged in study during the summer months.

Awards are competitive, and based on previous academic performance, reference letters, and the professional statement/letter required for application to our graduate programs.

If you plan to apply for an award, you must indicate so on the Application for Admission to the Graduate School. Please remember that the deadline for receiving applications is January 15. We must have all application materials to consider you for an award.


Scripps Gerontology Center: Shared Mentorship Model

Once a Student, Always Our Student

Whether you are a current student or a graduate of our gerontology programs, you are always a part of the family. And we love to showcase the stories and successes of our students, past and present. See what some of our current students are doing as a part of their program experience–view some of our Current Student Spotlights. Want to know what some of our alumni are doing with their degrees or what they have to say about the programs? Check out our Alumni Spotlights.


General FAQs

What is the focus of the MGS program?

This program is designed for students whose interests and career goals include research or applied work in the field of gerontology. The curriculum is flexible so that students can pursue areas of individual interest. The MGS program provides students with:

  • A thorough background in theory and research in social gerontology, 
  • Fundamentals of program management
  • Hands-on experience through an individualized and supervised field practicum
  • Opportunities to interact with professionals in the field of aging.

How many students will be admitted to the MGS program?

We admit 8-10 MGS students each academic year.

As a master degree student, am I required to write a thesis?

MGS students are not required to write a thesis. Instead, our master’s students write a culminating paper in their final semester in the program. Two faculty members will oversee and approve the paper. Following are examples of documents that could serve as a culminating paper for an MGS student:

  • A systematic literature review
  • A research paper
  • A document detailing the scientific rationale and blueprint for the development of a “product” that benefits older adults or an agency/program that serves older adults
  • Rationale and recommendations for the development or improvement of a policy or program
  • A purpose-driven case study of an organization, program, policy, or practice in the field of gerontology. 

What is the focus of the PhD in Social Gerontology?

The doctoral program focuses and builds on three rich traditions of gerontology at Miami University:

  • The multidisciplinary approach characteristic of the field
  • Expertise in both quantitative and qualitative methods
  • A critical gerontology perspective that emphasizes the social construction of age and aging

How many students will be admitted to the doctoral program?

We admit 4-6 doctoral students each academic year.

Who is eligible for admission to the doctoral program?

Applicants to the doctoral program include those who have earned a bachelor's degree and those who have earned or are in the process of completing a master’s degree. Individuals with a bachelor’s degree may apply to the PhD program, but if accepted are required to begin their studies by earning the Master of Gerontological Studies (MGS) degree (43 semester hours). Admission of individuals with only a bachelor’s degree into the PhD program is highly competitive and relatively unusual. Students are accepted into the doctoral program from a range of disciplines. For students who enter with a master's degree from a discipline other than gerontology, the faculty will determine which MGS core courses must be taken as part of their doctoral studies.

What is the relationship between the MGS and the doctoral program?

The MGS and PhD are distinct programs; the MGS is considered a professional degree. MGS and PhD students often take courses together. Ultimately 50% of MGS graduates pursue a PhD in gerontology or another discipline.

When may I apply for admission to either the MGS or PhD program?

Applications are accepted for fall admission only. Completed application and all accompanying materials must be received by January 15. We typically interview candidates in December and January and try to notify students about admission by mid-March, and those offered acceptance have until April 15th to accept admission into the program.

Are assistantships available to graduate students?

Yes, graduate assistantships are awarded on a competitive basis but we typically fund all full-time students. Continued funding is contingent upon satisfactory performance and availability of funds. The application for an assistantship is part of the Graduate School application process. Assistantships (9 months) for doctoral students are $22,938 and $17,138 for MGS students, but this amount varies each year and is not guaranteed.

Additionally, assistantships waive 93% of tuition and pay a stipend in exchange for working with faculty on research projects as a research assistant or on a course as a teaching assistant. Students with assistantships work 18-20 hours per week in the department.

What are my costs?

Typically, we are able to support our full-time graduate students on graduate assistantships (GAs) that waive 100% of tuition and 33% of the general fee. The remaining 67% of the general fee is your responsibility (as a GA), which is shown in the table below. The per semester cost starts at $563.38 for the minimum 9 credits for full time study as a GA.

100% Instructional Fee Waiver & 33% General Fee waiver

Student Costs for General Fee Per Semester

Academic Year 2024-2025 - Per Semester Cost to Student

(67% of $97.17 = $65.10 per credit hour)

Credits  Per Semester Cost to Student

x 9 credits

(minimum needed)

x 10 credits $651.00
x 11 credits $716.10
x 12 credits or more $781.20

The One Stop will give you the costs per credit details (without a GA); please see the "Oxford Graduate Academic Year" section at the top of the page with the "Fall/Spring Semester Per Credit Hour" drop down.

What is the minimum grade point average (GPA) that is required for admission to the Graduate School?

The Graduate School minimum undergraduate grade point average is 2.75 out of 4.0. If you were educated outside of the United States, an equivalent U.S. grade point average will be calculated for you as part of the application review process. We do not require applicants to submit credential evaluations, such as WES or ECE.

Are my GRE scores required for admission into either the MGS or PhD program?

GRE scores are not required.

Are all international applicants required to take an English proficiency exam?

International applicants to the MGS or PhD who have not received an undergraduate or graduate degree from a U.S. institution are required to take an English proficiency exam.

According to the Graduate School International Application website, the following information is required for international applicants:

  • Applicants who study in a country where English is not the official language must submit proof of English proficiency. Test scores are valid for two years and must be valid at the time of application. 
  • Students who study at an institution where the language of instruction is in English but the country's official language is not English, are required to submit English proficiency test scores. 
  • In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, we are accepting the Duolingo English Test for the 2021-2022 application cycle as an alternative to the TOEFL, IELTS, or PTE test. Your Duolingo English Test scores must include the subscores. If you took the test prior to July 15, 2019, you will need to retake the test.
  • Minimum test scores for admission consideration are:
    • TOEFL iBT ≥ 80
    • IELTS ≥ 6.5
    • PTE ≥ 54
    • Duolingo ≥ 110
  • The Graduate School accepts unofficial score reports for TOEFL, IELTS, and PTE with the application. An official score report must be sent prior to studying at Miami University.
  • An official Duolingo score report must be sent to Miami University - Oxford - Graduate Admissions for your application, unofficial scores are not accepted.
  • Some graduate programs may offer Conditional Admission to applicants with English scores below the minimum requirement. 

For more information, go to the English Language Proficiency web page.

Are there any application fee waivers?

There are three fee waivers available:

  • You have earned a graduate degree (masters or higher) from Miami University.
  • If you are a Ronald E. McNair Scholar or Alum.
  • If you are from a low-income country designated by the World Bank (countries listed at bottom of the page).

What are the disciplinary backgrounds of the departmental faculty?

What are the disciplinary backgrounds of the departmental faculty and Scripps researchers?

  • Departmental faculty are trained in demography, gerontology, psychology, public health, social welfare, social work, sociology. 
  • Additionally, Scripps researchers represent education, exercise and health studies, and human development and social policy. 
  • Scripps Gerontology Center Research Fellows represent the following departments from across campus: Anthropology, Art, Comparative Religion, Economics, Family Science & Social Work, Interactive Media Studies, Kinesiology & Health, Speech Pathology & Audiology, and Statistics.

Is online/distance education offered in the MGS and PhD programs?

Our MGS and PhD programs are offered on-campus only.

What is the relationship between Scripps Gerontology Center and the Department of Sociology & Gerontology?

Degrees are granted through Miami University's Department of Sociology & Gerontology. The Scripps Gerontology Center provides administrative support to the graduate programs and offers opportunities for involvement in its many research projects. Scripps also hosts lectures, presentations, and events that are an important part of gerontology education at Miami University.

Living in Oxford

Are you wondering what it would be like to live in Oxford, Ohio while getting your graduate degree in gerontology?  We asked our students what they thought about Oxford as a place to live while going to graduate school, and this is what they said:

MGS Student
“It is a warm and cozy place with traditions and family. I love Oxford, because even though I’m away from home, I feel at home.”

PhD Student
“Oxford is such a unique community.  You have the security and closeness of a small town, but you also have access to all the cultural, educational and social opportunities provided by the university.  It's really the best of both worlds.”

Come spend the day with us

If you’re considering one of our graduate programs, the best way to get to know the programs is to come for a visit! Whether you have already applied to a graduate program or not, a campus visit will be a helpful step in your graduate school decision process. We're centrally located on Miami's Oxford campus in 396 Upham Hall. Be sure to include time to find parking, as it can be scarce at certain hours of the day. During your visit, we’ll arrange time for you to meet with staff and discuss the details of the programs, spend time with our faculty, and we can help arrange a tour of one of the most beautiful campuses in the country. If you have already applied to the program, we’ll also arrange for an admission interview while you are with us. If you’re unable to visit us in person for your admission interview, we are available to connect by phone or video conferencing. Visits are scheduled on weekdays during normal business hours.


If you’re considering one of our graduate programs, the best way to get to know the programs is to come for a visit! Whether you have already applied to a graduate program or not, a campus visit will be a helpful step in your graduate school decision process.

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During your visit, we’ll arrange time for you to meet with staff and discuss the details of the programs, spend time with our faculty, and we can help arrange a tour of one of the most beautiful campuses in the country. If you have already applied to the program, we’ll also arrange for an admission interview while you are with us.

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If you’re unable to visit us in person for your admission interview, we are available to connect by phone or video conferencing. Visits are scheduled on weekdays during normal business hours.

For information, contact:

Leah Janssen, PhD, MGS
Associate Director for Academic Programs and Research Support
Scripps Gerontology Center
396 Upham Hall, 513-529-8748

Miami University Gerontology Alumni

Miami University’s gerontology academic programs date back to the 1970s. The Master of Gerontological Studies program was founded in 1977, the BA in Gerontology in 2000, the in Social Gerontology in 2005, and the Master of Population and Social Gerontology in 2010. We now have nearly 500 gerontology alumni from those four and an estimated 700+ alumni with a gerontology minor. Our alumni are out there making a difference around the world!

This page is devoted to our gerontology alumni. Here we will highlight your accomplishments, post alumni photos, invite you to connect with us online or at upcoming events, and make it easy to update your contact information and support current students.

If you are an alum and want more information about how to connect, please contact Leah Janssen, MGS, Ph.D.