Graduate School - Gerontology


Contact Information
Charlie Pruett, Advisor
Pruett Gerontology Center
ACU Box 27793
Abilene, Texas 79699-7793
Hardin Administration Building, Room 118

Phone: 325-674-2350
Fax: 325-674-6804


Page Links:

Gerontology (MS)

Certificate in Gerontology

Charlie Pruett, Associate Professor
Steven Wages, Associate Professor


Faculty from other departments who
teach in this program:
Denise Barnett, Instructor of Communication
                       Sciences and Disorders

Bill Culp, Associate Professor of Social Work
Kerri Hart, Assistant Professor of Exercise
     Science and Health

Dickie Hill, Professor of Exercise Science
     and Health



The interdisciplinary Master of Science (MS) degree in gerontology is offered through the Department of Sociology and Family Studies at the Pruett Gerontology Center. It is a 42-hour non-thesis program. A certificate in gerontology is also available on the graduate level.

Primary purposes of the gerontology program at Abilene Christian University are to prepare students:

  1. To assist an ever-growing older population in meeting its physical, emotional, social and spiritual needs;
  2. To assume leadership roles in residential care facilities for the aged;
  3. To become proficient in the planning, coordination and administration of private or public programs in aging; and
  4. To teach gerontology at the college or university level.

Course work in this interdisciplinary program is carefully integrated in an effort to add richness, depth and balance to a student’s background. Required courses come from such diverse fields as sociology, social work, psychology, biology, government, communication, administration and recreation.

A graduate certificate in gerontology is for those who do not wish to complete a degree in gerontology, but do wish to supplement their academic training or practical experience. The certificate is an 18-hour program and is a nationally-recognized credential in the field of gerontology education.

Since 1986, the Pruett Gerontology Center has worked to develop a curriculum in the study of aging, to respond to church and community service needs, and to develop a resource center to serve informational needs of individuals and organizations. The center sponsors numerous workshops, conferences and short courses to address needs and issues in aging being faced by churches, families and communities.

Admission Requirements
For admission criteria, please refer to the Graduate School Admission Requirements section of this catalog. In addition to the general Graduate School requirements, applicants to the MS in gerontology program must submit:

  1. An additional gerontology program application form to the Pruett Gerontology Center;
  2. An essay on why the applicant wishes to pursue a graduate degree in gerontology; and
  3. A personal interview with the gerontology advisor.

Entrance into the program is not limited to any specific undergraduate degree. However, a background in the social or behavioral sciences is desirable. A student’s professional experience in the helping professions (particularly with older adults) will be taken into consideration. Students seeking the master’s degree in gerontology who have less than 15 hours in the social or behavioral sciences may be required to complete leveling hours in these fields.

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Major Code: GERO

Requirements for the MS in gerontology are:

          1. Research, 6 hours:
              GERO 615 Social Research
              SOCI 516 Social Statistics

          2. Gerontology courses, 9 hours:
              GERO 548 Biology of Aging
              GERO 550 Sociology of Aging
              GERO 586 Older Adults and Their Families or
              GERO 631 Human Life Cycle II

          3. GERO 690 Practicum, 6 hours: consult with advisor.

          4. Electives, 21 hours.

21 hours must be 600-level courses.



Requirements for the certificate in gerontology are:

          1. Gerontology core, 9 hours:
              GERO 550 Sociology of Aging
              GERO 586 Counseling Older Adults and Their Families or
              GERO 631 Human Life Cycle II
              GERO 690 Practicum, 3 hours: consult with advisor

          2. Electives, 9 hours.

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