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In the aging, adulthood and gerontology track of Dominican’s MSW program, you’ll examine the biological, physical, psychological, sociological, spiritual and economic aspects of aging.

This multidisciplinary program addresses the demand for professionally trained social workers to meet the needs 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.

The aging, adulthood and gerontology track is designed to give you an overview of aging across the middle and later years. This includes a national and global understanding of how the rising number of older adults affects individuals, families, systems and society. 

  • Gain hands-on experience through a field placement working directly with aging populations
  • Courses taught by leading faculty and experts in gerontology

Start advancing your career today. Request information today


Dominican University recognizes that social work professionals working with aging populations and their families require specialized knowledge of the unique issues they face.

You’ll learn to conduct geriatric assessments and employ effective social work interventions with empathy and respect, while assessing the needs of caregivers and mediating with family. You’ll be able to apply ethical principles to decisions on behalf of older clients, with special attention to those who have limited decisional capacity. And you’ll become an advocate for older adults and their families, and for the creation of age-friendly communities.

Students will become familiar with the resources and programs available to older adults and their families and be able to advocate for them where gaps exist.

All courses are taught on campus and online by leading faculty and experts in gerontology. You’ll enjoy access to a variety of field placement options where you will work directly with aging populations. You’ll be ready to provide competent service to this important population and to advocate for its social and economic well-being. Read detailed course descriptions

Required Courses

Students in the aging, adulthood and gerontology track are required to take the following courses in addition to the general MSW curriculum:

  • Global Aging (SWK 664)
  • And one of the following:
    • Successful Aging in Communities of Care (SWK 678)
    • Advanced Social Work with Older Adults (SWK 686)
Gain Hands-On Social Work Skills through Field Placements

We will connect you with our expansive network of agencies in the Chicago area that offer hands-on research and clinical opportunities. You will complete your field placement at an agency that provides services to older adults and their families.

Sample Field Placements
  • 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

Explore more field placement options


The Dominican University experience is one that embraces unique viewpoints, values hands-on learning and fosters collaborative relationships—among faculty, students and the communities that we hope to influence through our values-centered degree programs. When you study for your Master of Social Work here, you’ll get the benefit of modern learning designed for working professionals as well as a relationship-focused atmosphere that will help you become a stronger leader in your field.


Along with opportunities for financial aid through loans and grants, the School of Social Work offers a variety of departmental scholarships for outstanding academic achievement and graduate assistantships for those who wish to work with faculty while pursuing their degree.

MSW students interested in gerontology can apply for specific scholarships: Scholarships in gerontology

Contact our Office of Financial Aid to learn more. We can be reached at (708) 524-6809 or


What can I do with an MSW in the aging, adulthood and gerontology track?

This MSW degree track will prepare you for excellent career opportunities in many clinical and administrative settings: hospitals, nursing facilities, family social services and retirement communities. You will find Dominican graduates working in an array of related social work specializations. Among them:

  • Aging care specialists
  • Licensed social workers
  • Medical social workers
  • Mental health social workers
  • Therapists
Is geriatric social work a good career?

Protecting and advocating for this growing, yet underserved, demographic is a role of challenge and reward for social workers. As baby boomers retire, demand is surging for social workers who can advocate for better health care, government assistance and community resources. Social workers in this area can expect to see faster than average job growth, according to U.S. labor statistics. Because the field of gerontology encompasses so many aspects of aging, social workers are able to choose from a wide variety of jobs in many settings.

Ready to take the next step? Apply now online


Request information today