Master of Science in Gerontology?
The entire program can be completed either in person, online, or a hybrid of both. In other words, you don't have to come to campus to earn your MS in Gerontology.
You can complete the program at your own pace as either a full-time or part-time student.
Most courses are offered in the evenings to accomodate our students who need this extra flexibiliy due to family, work, or life.
Master's students can customize their program of study with specialty areas that are relevant to their career goals.
Our students have such a wide diversity of educational training and work and personal experience which makes for rich and dynamic learning.
VCU Gerontology has a strong positive relationship with the wider community, which provides students many opportunities for networking, learning, engaging, and applying knowledge and skills acquired from courses.
VCU Gerontology has a strong commitment to viewing aging as a lifespan journey toward elderhood, with a focus on disrupting ageism where we can.
Our Assisted Living Adminsitration speciality area is the ONLY NAB-accredited program in the Commonwealth of Virginia, and the first NAB-accredited program specifically for those interested in Assisted living Administration.
Our students get jobs! 100% of our students are employed following graduation.
There is no Gerontologist like a VCU Gerontologist!
“I have worked in aging services for close to a decade. I knew some of the material covered in the program would be things I am aware of, have practiced, and understand. In my first two semesters, I have already learned so much more than I had ever envisioned. My knowledge of the aging process has been enhanced and my curiosity and passion for learning has been piqued.” -Emily Daidone (current MS student)
“The AIT program at VCU is an excellent program that encompasses all required domains for becoming a well-rounded Administrator. This program allowed me to experience all departments in an ALF through a hands on approach that wipes away all insecurities. The AIT program is everything I needed to become a competent Assisted Living Administrator.” -Danielle Orr (MS 2016), Licensed Assisted Living Facility Administrator
VCU Gerontology Program Receives Academic Accreditation from the National Association of Long Term Care Administrator Boards (NAB)
[November 2016 press release]
Richmond, VA - The Department of Gerontology in Virginia Commonwealth University's School of Allied Health Professions became one of only 11 programs nationally to receive academic accreditation for its Assisted Living Administration Specialty Area from the leading organization in the country at a ceremony on November 11, 2016.
The NAB offered the recognition at their mid-year meeting in Atlanta, following a two-year process. The accreditation makes VCU Gerontology the only NAB accredited program in Virginia, and the first-ever accredited program in Assisted Living Administration. The NAB is the nation's leading authiority on licensing, credentialling, and regulating administrators of organizations along the continuum of long term care.
"Our mission is to foster a community of Gerontologists who will bring new ideas and cultural change around aging across the spectrum of academia, public policy, and practice," said Department Chair Dr. E. Ayn Welleford. "We are enormously proud to be the first Assisted Living Administration program to receive this accreditation, and we thank the NAB for their vote of confidence in our work."
VCU Gerontology, which marked its 40th anniversary in April, has acquired a reputation as a department committed to the university's overall mission to serve the community at large. The accreditation journey began in 2014, led by Co-Program Director of the Assisted Living Administration Specialty Area Jennifer Pryor. She and VCU Gerontology Professor Jennifer Inker appeared before the NAB governing board at their mid-year meeting before the final vote.
"This accreditation has opened VCU Gerontology's door to students across the country who want to become licensed assisted living administrators, by providing them a quality educational experience that has been endorsed by those who create the national standards," Pryor said. "This recognition also encourages those pursuing this career to receive a foundation in Gerontology - a field that continues to change the world a little bit each day."
Left to right: NAB Education Committee Chair Jennifer Johs-Artisensi, VCU Gerontology's Jennifer Pryor and Jenny Inker, and NAB Chairman of the Executive Committee Del Zook.
To learn more about NAB's Academic Accreditation, please visit NAB's website
The Department of Gerontology serves the people of the commonwealth of Virginia and the nation by providing educational programs related to the understanding of aging and promoting optimal aging. The department encourages education through discovery of new knowledge, interdisciplinary interaction, professional behavior and service to the aging network. The department’s primary focus is to prepare individuals for positions in the network of aging services. These gerontologists are educated to serve as supporters of optimal aging for older persons and families and caregivers. The master’s program provides quality education leading to careers as services providers, educators and researchers. The department’s assisted living administration specialty area is NAB-accredited and will prepare students who seek licensure as an assisted living administrator. The department also provides assistance and services to the community and engages in research and scholarly activities related to gerontology.
The goal of the program is to ensure that students in the program will:
- Understand the biological, psychological and sociological underpinnings of aging in U.S. society as established by Association for Gerontology in Higher Education core competencies.
- Gain understanding and respect for the interdisciplinary team process in effective gerontological practice.
- Through a lifespan biopsychosocialspiritual approach, gain understanding of empirically and theoretically based components contributing to optimal quality of life and performance in late life as well as knowledge and skills in best practices to promote optimal aging across the life span.
- Gain understanding of the existing aging network across federal, state and local levels. Thorough understanding will enable students to successfully identify their niche in the aging network, contribute to a growing field and deliver effective eldercare services.
1. Students will demonstrate understanding and application of the biological, psychological, sociological and spiritual theories of aging to gerontology practice.
2. Students will demonstrate understanding and respect for the interdisciplinary team process in effective gerontological practice and essential role of various disciplines on the care team. Students develop a clearer understanding of eldercare through the biopsychosocial approach, lifespan perspective and the theories within the field (as implicit in AGHE's core competencies).
3. Students will demonstrate a thorough understanding of the multiple paths, methods and techniques of optimal aging in order to assist older persons, their families, program providers and policymakers toward the goal of optimal aging. A comprehensive understanding of gerontology core concepts is essential to this goal.
4. Students will demonstrate an understanding of the aging network and will be able to make contributions to community-identified needs through the successful delivery of services in the aging network. Community engagement will take the form of field work, research, grant writing, service-learning opportunities, education and training.
All MS students are eligible to receive scholarships and are invited to apply each August. Scholarships are awarded by a faculty comittee based on each student's application, academic achievement, and need.
The Walters-Wilkerson Memorial Gerontology Scholarship
William and Patricia Wilkerson generously fund this scholarship to ensure that more recent undergraduates who demonstrate exemplary academic skills have access to Gerontological scholarship and its practical application in aging services.
Marion Cotter King Memorial Scholarship
Dr. J. James Cotter endowed this scholarship for students studying elder leisure in honor of the memory of his mother and in recognition of her love of travel, recreation, leisure, and overall personification of optimal aging.
The Theresa A. Thomas Memorial Foundation was established nearly 30 years ago by the late George Thomas to honor his wife, who was a nurse. Upon his death in 1975, Thomas left virtually his entire estate to the Foundation, with the hope that the money would make a difference in many aspects of healthcare. The Theresa Thomas Health Professional Scholarships were established as a means of carrying out Mr. George D. Thomas' desire to promote and develop medical specialists, and education for medical practitioners who plan to practice family medicine in rural Virginia. (No plaque presented)
A.D. Williams Award
An annual award is made to a student who demonstrates by virtue of high scholastic achievement and professional competence unusual promise and ability in the field of Gerontology.
Iris A. Parham Scholarship
The Iris A. Parham Scholarship was created by alumni in honor of Dr. Iris A. Parham and the Department of Gerontology 25th year anniversary. This award is given to a candidate who demonstrates outstanding achievements in the field of Gerontology.
Cathy Saunders Career Gerontologist Award
The Department of Gerontology has established the Cathy Saunders Career Gerontologist Award in order to honor her tremendous commitment to the field, and her generous donations to the Department and School of Allied Health Professions. Ms. Sauders also considers this donation as a challenge and leadership effort to encourage other alumni to provide support. This award was created as a scholarship fund to promote student enrollment among career gerontologists. As the only realtor in the Richmond area who is also a gerontologist, and her exemplary career as such, she has continued to promote gerontology related issues in the real estate community through assisting other realtors who are working with persons with Alzheimer's Disease, and referring realtors to gerontology related community resources.
Gerontology Student of the Year
Each year the faculty chooses a graduating student who has exhibited outstanding scholastic achievement and demonstrated service in Gerontology.
Guy M. Kinman, Jr. Award for Inclusive Gerontology
The Guy M. Kinman, Jr. scholarship is awarded to a Master of Science in Gerontology student who endeavors to study diversity and aging. The scholarship was created in honor of Mr. Kinman, a pioneer in LGBT advocacy, continuing up to and beyond his 100th birthday, December 23, 2017.
Age Wave Scholar Award
The Age Wave Scholar Award is awarded to a Master of Science in Gerontology student who has accepted an Age Wave Scholar position and who has shown exemplary service and partnership to further the mission of the Greater Richmond Age Wave Coalition to make the Richmond region a great place for all people to grow older.
Sigma Phi Omega is the National Honor Society formed in 1980 to recognize the excellence of those who study gerontology/aging, as well as of the professional aging service personnel. The purpose of Sigma Phi Omega is to promote:
* services to older persons
* to recognize exemplary attainment in gerontology/aging studies and related fields
Who is eligible for membership in SPO?
Membership is open to undergraduate and graduate students who are majoring or minoring in gerontology/aging studies and related fields, and who are in at least their second term (or second semester) of enrollment. Undergraduates must have a grade point average of at least 3.3 on a 4.0 scale, and graduate students must have at least 3.5 g.p.a. to be eligible for membership. Faculty, alumni, professional, and honorary memberships are also available.
How do I join SPO?
For an application and more information about joining the Society through affiliation with VCU (Epsilon chapter) contact Dr. E. Ayn Welleford. New members receive a certificate with their name and the name of their chapter and university, a lapel pin, a subscription to the Sigma Phi Omega Newsletter, and an invitation to participate in the national meeting and all activities of the Society.
What are the membership dues?
The fee for first year membership is $30.00 (covers society pin and certificate and administration costs) and annual renewal in $15.00. Dues for the Society are tax deductible. To apply fill out the application and email it to Dr. Tracey Gendron.
Sigma Phi Omega Faculty Advisor
Dr. E Ayn Welleford,
Department of Gerontology
730 E Broad Street
P.O. Box 980228
Richmond, VA 23298