Gerontology is the multidisciplinary study of the biological, physical, psychological, sociological, spiritual and economic aspects of aging. The Gerontology Graduate Certificate in Aging Care program at Dominican University addresses the need for professionally trained social workers to meet the demands of the older adult population.

In 2011 the first baby boomers turned 65 years old. Today roughly 10,000 baby boomers are turning 65 every day. By 2030, one out of every five people living in the United States will be an older adult, creating an unprecedented demand for social workers trained in working with a diverse and aging population. A Dominican Gerontology Certificate will provide excellent career opportunities in many clinical and administrative settings: hospitals, nursing facilities, family social services and retirement communities.

Dominican University’s Graduate School of Social Work is among the 16 accredited social work programs in the United States to be given a gerontology specialization grant by the Council of Social Work Education (CSWE) to implement a gerontology certificate program to prepare professionals needed to address the concerns, challenges and complex needs of aging adults.

The Gerontology Graduate Certificate option is offered to current MSW students upon graduation. If you already have an MSW, you may be admitted to the program as an extern.

MSW Program Overview with Gerontology Certificate
  • Time to complete: 1–2 years as a full-time student, 2–3 years as a part-time student (9 months with an MSW degree)
  • MSW plus Gerontology Graduate Certificate in Aging Care: 60 credit hours including required fieldwork
  • Gerontology Graduate Certificate: 12 credit hours including required fieldwork
  • Field placements with primarily older adults at the local, national and/or international level
  • Classes are conveniently scheduled: daytime, evenings and a few on weekends
  • Onsite classes are offered at our campus in River Forest or at the University Center of Lake County, in Grayslake
Our Faculty

You will study with top professionals and experts in wide-ranging fields:

Select Field Placements (a few of the options)
  • Advocate/Lutheran General Older Adult Services
  • Age Options
  • Aging Care Connections
  • Bethesda Home and Retirement Center
  • Chicago Department on Aging
  • DuPage Senior Services
  • North Shore Senior Center
  • Oak Park Township Senior Services
  • Plows
  • Silverado Memory Care
  • The Woodbine
Many Career Options

You will find Dominican graduates working in an array of social-work specializations. Among them:

  • Aging care specialists
  • Licensed social workers
  • Medical social workers
  • Mental health social workers
  • Therapists
Expand Your Network

Our classes are small and learning is team-based, so you will get to know your professors as well as your fellow students. All will become key members of your professional network.

Completion Requirements

Current students

Four 3-credit courses:

  • SWK 611 & SWK 651 (taken concurrently with field placement)
  • Two approved electives. The list of approved electives eligible for the certificate program may vary from year to year. All assignments in non-aging related electives must focus on older adults.

Completion of 2-semester field placement This should be with primarily older adults at the local, national, and/or international level.

Completion of all MSW degree courses, including relevant aging electives = 60 credit course
As soon as the student expresses intent to graduate with an MSW and a Gerontology Graduate Certificate in Aging Care, they should turn in an application form. It is the student's responsibility to ensure that the relevant courses are taken with input from the adviser. Electives should be completed prior to graduation.

Extern Students

For students who already have an MSW degree from a CSWE accredited program the requirements are as follows:
Four 3-credit courses:

  • SWK 611 & SWK 651 (Field placement taken concurrently with SWK 611 and SWK 651)
  • Two approved electives. The list of approved electives eligible for the certificate program may vary from year to year.
  • Completion of 2-semester field placement (total = 600 hours) This should be with primarily older adults at the local, national, and/or international level
  • Credit may be given to MSW students who already have taken aging-related classes and internships during their MSW program. They should write a petition to the Admissions Officer requesting credit for classes already taken. This letter should be written PRIOR to beginning the semester.

Total cost for Extern Students: $2,500 (includes 2 required electives at $500/per course and 2 required Field classes at $750/per course)

Application Process

Externs

Applicants must complete the required application materials to be admitted to the Gerontology Graduate Certificate Program. They should:

Hold a MSW degree from a CSWE accredited program

Incoming Students

Applicants to the Gerontology Graduate Certificate in Aging Care Program must follow and meet the admission requirements for the MSW program at Dominican. The applicant must indicate on the MSW admission application their interest in pursuing the Gerontology Certificate Program. In addition to meeting the general MSW admission requirements, applicants interested in the Gerontology Certificate program should disregard the general MSW personal statement questions and should instead answer the Gerontology personal statement questions.

Study Options

Students may complete the requirements of the Gerontology Graduate Certificate in Aging Care Program as a part-time or full-time student

The Dominican Difference

Our mission guides us to advocate for human rights and social and economic justice for all persons including socially excluded populations, and to promote human and community well-being. Both our faculty and our student body are ethnically diverse, and the average student age is 32.3.

For More Information

Please contact our graduate recruiting coordinator, Kate Costigan, at (708) 524-6571 or kcostigan@dom.edu.