Aging Studies


  • Edward J. Saunders


  • Mercedes Bern-Klug
Undergraduate minor: aging studies
Undergraduate certificate: aging studies
Graduate certificate: aging studies
Web site:

The Aging Studies Program offers undergraduate and graduate programs and a selection of courses open to students in all majors.

Undergraduate students in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences who would like to focus on aging studies as their major or as a second major should consider the individualized plan of study track offered by the Interdepartmental Studies Program. See Interdepartmental Studies in the Catalog.

The Aging Studies Program is administered by the School of Social Work.

Undergraduate and Graduate Programs of Study

  • Certificate in Aging Studies (undergraduate and graduate)
  • Minor in aging studies (undergraduate)

The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences grants the undergraduate certificate and minor; the Graduate College confers the graduate certificate.


The Certificate in Aging Studies requires 21 s.h. The undergraduate certificate program is open to current University of Iowa undergraduate students and to all individuals who hold a bachelor's degree and are not enrolled in a graduate or professional degree program. The graduate certificate program is open to University of Iowa graduate students with aging-related career interests and needs. Students must maintain a g.p.a. of at least 2.00 in work for the certificate. Completion of the certificate is noted on the student's transcript.

Undergraduate students may earn the undergraduate certificate or the minor in aging studies, but not both.

The Certificate in Aging Studies takes a multidisciplinary approach to gerontology. Its course work has been coordinated and sequenced to provide a broad background in aging for students from varied disciplines. Students should talk with the Aging Studies Program coordinator about their intent to earn the certificate. They work with their academic advisors and the coordinator to develop an individual plan of study that complements their degree program and career interests.

The certificate's required 21 s.h. must be earned in Aging Studies Program courses [prefix 153 (ASP)] and other courses approved for the program. With permission from the Aging Studies Program coordinator, students also may be able to use other aging-related courses for the certificate. Students must earn at least 18 s.h. of certificate credit in courses numbered 100 (3000) and above, and they must earn at least 15 s.h. toward the certificate at The University of Iowa.

Certificate requirements include a core curriculum of six courses and an additional 5 s.h. of elective course work from the list of approved aging-related courses. Students may take core courses before or concurrently with other courses in the program, but they should complete the core courses before they enroll in the internship and internship seminar. Students who complete an aging-related internship or practicum in their major field may be able to count that experience as their Aging Studies Program internship; consult with the Aging Studies Program coordinator. Transfer credit requests are evaluated individually by the Aging Studies Program coordinator.

The Certificate in Aging Studies requires the following course work.

Core Courses

All certificate students must complete the following six core courses.

One of these; graduate students must choose 153:135 (ASP:3135):

153:135 (ASP:3135) Global Aging3 s.h.
153:181 (ASP:2181) The Anthropology of Aging3 s.h.

And all of these:

153:108 (ASP:3008) Basic Aspects of Aging3 s.h.
153:150 (ASP:3150)/031:050 (PSY:2915) Psychology of Aging3 s.h.
153:160 (ASP:3160) Biology of Aging3 s.h.
153:189 (ASP:4189) Aging Studies Internship Seminar1 s.h.
153:190 (ASP:4190)/042:190 (SSW:4190) Aging Studies Internship3 s.h.

Students must complete an additional 5 s.h. of electives selected from courses offered by the Aging Studies Program [prefix 153 (ASP)] and/or from approved aging-related courses offered by other academic units. Practicum and/or research courses offered by other academic units may be accepted for elective credit if they focus on aging; students who wish to apply course work from other departments should consult the Aging Studies Program chair.


Undergraduate students in the Colleges of Liberal Arts and Sciences, Education, Engineering, Nursing, or the Tippie College of Business may earn the minor in aging studies. Students must have the approval of their college or major department in order to earn the minor.

Students may earn the minor or the undergraduate certificate in aging studies, but not both.

The minor in aging studies requires a minimum of 15 s.h. in aging-related course work, including 12 s.h. in courses numbered 100 (3000) or above taken at The University of Iowa. Students must maintain a g.p.a. of at least 2.00 in the minor. Course work in the minor may not be taken pass/nonpass. The required introductory core course 153:108 (ASP:3008) Basic Aspects of Aging must be included in the 12 s.h. of advanced course work. Courses must be approved by the Aging Studies Program. Students earning the minor may not enroll in 153:190 (ASP:4190) Aging Studies Internship.


153:029 (ASP:1000) First-Year Seminar1 s.h.
Small discussion class taught by a faculty member; topics chosen by instructor; may include outside activities (e.g., films, lectures, performances, readings, visits to research facilities). Requirements: first‑ or second‑semester standing.
153:108 (ASP:3008) Basic Aspects of Aging3 s.h.
Social, psychological, and biological aspects; demographics of aging, health, economic issues, primary relationships, social services. GE: Social Sciences. Same as 042:108 (SSW:3008), 096:108 (NURS:3008), 169:108 (LEIS:3008).
153:120 (ASP:3920) Service Learning in Aging Studies1 s.h.
Experiential learning in settings with older adults. Corequisites: 153:108 (ASP:3008), if not taken as a prerequisite.
153:124 (ASP:3900) Independent Study in Gerontologyarr.
Individual projects and/or research.
153:130 (ASP:4300) Aging Studies Colloquium--Undergraduate1 s.h.
Current trends, practices, and research in gerontology and geriatrics. Requirements: aging studies enrollment.
153:135 (ASP:3135) Global Aging3 s.h.
Demographic factors that contribute to the world wide phenomena of population aging in context of WHO Active Aging and the United Nation's Principles for Older Persons frameworks. Same as 042:135 (SSW:3135), 152:153 (GHS:3050).
153:144 (ASP:5750) Medicare and Medicaid Policy3 s.h.
Health policies most pertinent to Americans over age of 65. Same as 174:144 (HMP:5750).
153:145 (ASP:8355) Introduction to Geriatric Dentistry2 s.h.
Biological, psychological, and social aspects of aging; normal aging and disease processes associated with aging; pathological changes that affect oral health treatment of dental diseases and patient management. Requirements: D.D.S. enrollment or completion of dental hygiene program. Same as 112:145 (DENT:8355).
153:146 (ASP:3246) Health Promotion for Older Adults3 s.h.
Problems, strategic efforts toward long‑term goal of health promotion; disease prevention; slowing the decline caused by chronic conditions to extend independent, rewarding lives. Same as 096:146 (NURS:3246), 169:146 (LEIS:3246).
153:147 (ASP:3740) End-of-Life Care for Adults and Families2-4 s.h.
End‑of‑life issues in care of adults, older adults, and their families. Requirements: RN license. Same as 096:147 (NURS:3740), 050:147 (MED:3740), 046:146 (PHAR:3740).
153:150 (ASP:3150) Psychology of Aging3 s.h.
The later years of human life viewed from perspectives of developmental psychology, biology, sociology. Prerequisites: 031:001 (PSY:1001). Same as 031:050 (PSY:2915).
153:151 (ASP:3151) The Anthropology of the Beginnings and Ends of Life3 s.h.
Examination of diverse understandings of birth and death, drawing on anthropological analysis of personhood, kinship, ritual, and medicine; how social inequality and new technologies shape human experience at life's margins. Prerequisites: 113:003 (ANTH:1101) or 113:010 (ANTH:2100). Same as 113:151 (ANTH:3151), 152:156 (GHS:3151).
153:152 (ASP:3152) Anthropology of Caregiving and Health3 s.h.
Diverse understandings and practices of care around the world; focus on relationships between caregiving practices and health across the life course. Same as 113:152 (ANTH:3152).
153:153 (ASP:3753) Programs and Services for Aging Adults3 s.h.
Major gerontological programs and services, practitioners' need for basic aging‑practice competence; aging network; income, employment, health maintenance programs; continuum of care (preventive and well‑elderly services, in‑home services, community‑based services, institutional care); assessment; major elder health issues, informal care; end‑of‑life care. Same as 042:153 (SSW:3753).
153:160 (ASP:3160) Biology of Aging3 s.h.
Biogerontology; definition of aging and senescence, biological theories of aging, demographics, model systems foraging, premature aging syndromes, aging of organ systems in humans.
153:161 (ASP:3610) Rhetorical Issues in Health Care3 s.h.
Role of rhetoric in health care practice, decisions, and ethics; rhetorical production of patient and professional selves in health care; varied practices, diverse perspectives, and situated production of medical and health care knowledge. Requirements: satisfactory completion of rhetoric general education requirement. Same as 010:161 (RHET:3610), 160:161 (PORO:3610).
153:165 (ASP:4165) Communication Disorders and Aging2 s.h.
Introduction to speech, language, and hearing processes and disorders among older adults; survey of characteristics of communication and communication breakdown, remediation, and strategies for improving communication with older adults with communication disorders; primarily for nonmajors and service providers other than speech‑language pathologists and audiologists. Offered spring semesters of even years. Same as 003:165 (CSD:4165).
153:168 (ASP:3168) Aging and Leisure3 s.h.
Status of the well elderly in relation to retirement issues, use of free time, and factors that support leisure activity; leisure services in long‑term care. Same as 169:168 (LEIS:3168).
153:181 (ASP:2181) The Anthropology of Aging3 s.h.
Comparative anthropological perspective on aging; ethnographies from diverse contexts used to examine intersections of kinship, religion, health, and medicine in later life. Same as 113:147 (ANTH:2181), 152:147 (GHS:2181).
153:185 (ASP:3785) Social Policy and the Elderly3 s.h.
Public social policies, their affect on well‑being of elderly, including women and minorities; U.S. and other nations' policies. Prerequisites: 042:143 (SSW:4843). Requirements: an introductory course on aging, and junior or higher standing. Same as 042:185 (SSW:3785).
153:186 (ASP:3786) Death/Dying: Issues Across the Life Span3 s.h.
Introduction to death and dying; historical, cultural, societal, personal perspectives. Same as 042:186 (SSW:3786).
153:189 (ASP:4189) Aging Studies Internship Seminar1 s.h.
Opportunity for students to exercise critical thinking related to experiences in their aging studies internship. Prerequisites: 153:108 (ASP:3008), 153:135 (ASP:3135), 153:150 (ASP:3150), and 153:160 (ASP:3160). Corequisites: 153:190 (ASP:4190).
153:190 (ASP:4190) Aging Studies Internship2-3 s.h.
Opportunities for students in various disciplines to relate their areas of study to older adults and aging; interdisciplinary relationships, approaches to meeting needs of older adults. Same as 042:190 (SSW:4190).
153:195 (ASP:3501) Introduction to Nursing Homes3 s.h.
Overview of nursing home roles in context of long‑term care system, characteristics of nursing home residents. Same as 042:195 (SSW:3501).
153:211 (ASP:5211) Individual and Family Development: Life Span3 s.h.
Infancy through senescence; families from their beginnings through their later years; theoretical, methodological issues. Same as 042:211 (SSW:5211).
153:219 (ASP:5219) Aging and the Family2-3 s.h.
Research related to aging and the family; intergenerational relations, marital status in later life, diversity of older families, caregiving, elder abuse, policy issues. Same as 042:219 (SSW:5219).
153:230 (ASP:5000) Aging Studies Colloquium1 s.h.
Current trends, practices, and research in gerontology and geriatrics.
153:241 (ASP:5401) The Care of the Frail Elderly3 s.h.
Clinical management of the elderly; emphasis on economic considerations, principles of gerontological care, common syndromes, ethical issues; clinical application experience in a long‑term care setting. Prerequisites: 096:224 (NURS:5029). Same as 096:241 (NURS:5401).
153:261 (ASP:6610) Epidemiology of Aging1-2 s.h.
Epidemiologic methods for studying health and social problems of older persons; applications including research and public health practice and policy. Offered spring semesters. Prerequisites: 173:140 (EPID:4400). Same as 173:261 (EPID:6610).
153:410 (ASP:7400) State of the Science in Biobehavioral Research on Aging3 s.h.
Analysis and evaluation of science in biobehavioral aging research; overview of aging research and interdisciplinary contributions; biobehavioral phenomena pertinent to aging populations; relevant epidemiologic research, population/community‑based research, primary prevention research, qualitative and quantitative analyses, instrumentation, intervention research, measurement studies; ethical and methodological issues, context of care; identification of literature gaps and future research agendas that promote successful aging. Requirements: for 096:410 (NURS:7400) — doctoral standing; for 153:410 (ASP:7400) — Ph.D. enrollment. Recommendations: knowledge of pathophysiology, research design, and statistics. Same as 096:410 (NURS:7400).
153:420 (ASP:7401) State of the Science in Geriatric Mental Health Research3 s.h.
Analysis and evaluation of science in geriatric mental health research in nursing and other disciplines; cognitive and affective function, substance abuse, and caregiver health/support; relevant epidemiologic research, population/community‑based research, primary prevention research, qualitative and quantitative analyses, instrumentation, intervention research, and measurement studies; review and analysis of program evaluation and services research, emphasis on ethical and methodological issues; identification of literature gaps and future research agendas that promote successful aging. Requirements: for 096:420 (NURS:7401) — doctoral standing; for 153:420 (ASP:7401) — Ph.D. enrollment. Recommendations: knowledge of psychopathology, research design, and statistics. Same as 096:420 (NURS:7401).