2011-12 General Bulletin

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226 Mather Memorial
Phone: 216-368-2703; Fax: 216-368-2676
Dale Dannefer and Gary Deimling, Program Co-Directors

This is an archived copy of the 2011-12 Bulletin. To access the most recent version of the bulletin, please visit http://bulletin.case.edu.

The Gerontological Studies program is a multidisciplinary program designed to integrate research and theory from multiple disciplines about aging, old age, and the life course. Prompted in part by broad social and technological changes that include the “graying” of the world’s population, humanists, scientists, social scientists, and professionals have become interested in understanding the position of the aged in society, the aging process in various contexts, and the meaning of aging to individuals. The program draws on the most recent thinking and research in a variety of disciplines to provide students with a background that will be helpful after graduation, both in work and in graduate or professional school.

In keeping with the interdisciplinary nature of the program, the core courses are drawn from five departments: Anthropology, Communication Sciences, History, Psychology, and Sociology. Students may choose from a variety of courses according to their own interests. Most of the electives are not specifically gerontology courses but cover topics that contribute to the understanding of aging and the aged. The perspectives gained in the core courses will provide the student with the background needed to relate the material in the more general courses to gerontological issues. The program is firmly grounded in the liberal arts and thus provides the student with the challenge to think and communicate effectively and to integrate diverse information, theories, and practice.

Gerontological Studies is an appropriate major or minor for students with a wide variety of career goals. The aging of the population has made available entry-level positions for persons with baccalaureate degrees in organizations that provide services to and formulate policy for the elderly. Many graduate programs now include an emphasis on aging for which a degree in Gerontological Studies would serve as a useful background. Students planning to pursue professional degrees will find that an increasing number of their clients or patients will be older adults and that problems with which they must deal will be related to the aged. The perspective provided by participating in the Gerontological Studies program provides students with excellent background in working with older populations. This background is particularly important for students who plan to pursue careers in human services, business, law, medicine, academics, or the sciences.

Faculty members associated with the program are engaged in a variety of funded research projects. These include studies of Alzheimer’s disease; cancer survivorship; patterns of care for the urban elderly in China; visual perception changes that accompany aging; the impact of high levels of physical activity on the biological aging process; grandparent-grandchild relationships; and stress, coping, and adaptation among urban community and institutionalized elderly.

Program Faculty

Dale Dannefer, PhD
Selah Chamberlain Professor and Chair, Department of Sociology; Co-Director, Gerontological Studies Program

Gary T. Deimling, PhD
Professor of Sociology; Co-Director, Gerontological Studies Program

Charlotte Ikels, PhD
Professor of Anthropology

T. J. McCallum, PhD
Associate Professor of Psychology

Undergraduate Programs


The Gerontological Studies program offers a major that leads to the Bachelor of Arts degree. However, it may be selected only as a second major, the first major being in a traditional academic department. The major consists of a minimum of 30 credits; 15 are in required core courses and 15 are in approved elective courses.  

Required core courses:
ANTH 304Introduction to the Anthropology of Aging3
COSI 345Communication and Aging3
PSCL 369Adult Development and Aging3
SOCI 369Aging in American Society3
SOCI 496Public Policy and Aging3
Any five of the following approved electives:15
Health, Culture, and Disease: An Introduction to Medical Anthropology
Biological Aging in Humans
Death and Dying
Young and Old Face the 21st Century
Health, Illness, and Social Behavior
Sociology of Stress and Coping
Sociology of Institutional Care
Sociology of the Family
Total Units30


At least two of the following *6-15
Introduction to the Anthropology of Aging
Communication and Aging
Adult Development and Aging
Aging in American Society
Total Units6-15



Additional hours may be met by either any three of the approved electives above or the remaining core courses above.


Graduate Certificate Program in Gerontology

University Center on Aging and Health
1420 Frances Payne Bolton School of Nursing
Phone: 368-2692; Fax: 216-368-6389
May L. Wykle, Director
E-mail: may.wykle@case.edu

The University Center on Aging and Health is dedicated to the premise that aging is a developmental process spanning the entire life cycle, and brings together social and behavioral sciences, health sciences, and the humanities to encourage teaching and research activities in every unit of the University. The Center sponsors a certificate program in gerontology for graduate and professional students and for those who already hold graduate degrees.

A student interested in a graduate certificate in gerontology must be enrolled in a master’s or doctoral program, or be a special non-degree student with at least a master’s degree (or equivalent). To receive a certificate in gerontology, a student must submit a formal application, be approved by the University Center on Aging and Health, and take 12 credit hours of course work.

The student must complete the following courses:

  1. Two three-credit courses in gerontology within the student’s discipline, one of which can be an independent study.
  2. One three-credit course in gerontology or independent study outside the student’s discipline.
  3. A three-credit seminar in gerontology offered by the center.

Any departures from the requirements must be approved by the center director. For further information, contact the University Center on Aging and Health.


GERO 496. Public Policy and Aging. 3 Units.

Overview of aging and the aged. Concepts in the study of public policy. Policies on aging and conditions that they address. The politics of policies on aging. Emergent trends and issues. Offered as ANTH 498, BETH 496, EPBI 408, GERO 496, HSTY 480, MPHP 408, NURS 479, NURS 579, POSC 480, and SOCI 496.

GERO 498. Seminar in Gerontological Studies. 3 Units.

Major themes in gerontology. Seminar members choose a problem area, explore the relevant literature from a multi-disciplinary perspective, and develop a research project using knowledge gained through community observation and library exploration.

GERO 601. Independent Study. 1 - 3 Unit.

For students enrolled in the graduate certificate program in gerontology.