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Gerontology Portfolio Program


Gerontology Portfolio Program is one of many programs provided by the Graduate School. To learn more about other Graduate School programs, visit UT Austin Graduate Portfolio Programs web site.

The portfolio programs in Gerontology prepare students for academic research or practical careers in the field of gerontology. Increasingly, prospective employers nationwide are demanding a certificate program in gerontology. There are growing and diverse needs for professionals with core knowledge and understanding of aging research and best practice approaches. The certificate program requires 12 credit hours distributed between foundation courses and elective seminars. In addition, students may engage in aging research (basic or applied) or practicum with both well and frail older adults, and will be given credit for this course work as part of existing requirements in their major program of study (home department).

The program's diverse faculty draws on the scholarship of more than 50 faculty affiliates from 10 graduate programs, including LBJ School of Public Affairs, College of Communication, College of Pharmacy, School of Social Work, School of Nursing, College of Education, College of Natural Sciences, College of Business, College of Fine Arts, and College of Liberal Arts, subsuming 22 academic departments. The wide array of graduate courses offered by this outstanding faculty provides exposure to cutting edge scholarship from multiple perspectives and offers students an unusual opportunity for cross-disciplinary inquiry at the graduate level.

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Objectives of Gerontology Portfolio Program

  • to promote dialogue among the many faculty and graduate students throughout the university who have research interests in gerontology;
  • to provide a forum for the exchange and interaction among the multiple and diverse perspectives on gerontological issues within the university;
  • to promote interdisciplinary collaboration among the many faculty and graduate students interested in meeting the increased demand for gerontological research and instruction that crosses traditional disciplines; and
  • to provide an organized curriculum of courses related to gerontological topics. It is expected that over the course of the semester students will develop
    • an understanding of the nature and scope of social, economic, physical, educational, and behavioral issues of aging;
    • an understanding of the conceptual, theoretical and institutional bases for the analysis of issues and problems in an aging population; and
    • knowledge in key methodological issues in the study of age related processes.

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Master's Portfolio Program Course Requirements

  • At least six hours among the four multidisciplinary core areas: Sociology of Aging, Psychological Aspects of Aging, Biology of Aging, and Aging Policy. See approved graduate level gerontology course (PDF).
  • Two electives (six credit hours) chosen by the student for the master's portfolio must be in an approved graduate-level course syllabi or approved by petition to the gerontology adviser. In addition, at least one of the electives must be offered in the department outside of the student's home department. See approved graduate level gerontology course (PDF).
  • Electives cannot be taken as a conference course.
  • Completion of a course in the critical evaluation of gerontological research methods is also strongly recommended, but not required.
  • Candidates for the master's portfolio will be encouraged to engage in a gerontology-related practicum or scientific research as part of their regular degree program course work.
  • If a student is enrolled in a master's program that requires a thesis or report, it is strongly recommended that s/he conduct a supervised research project on a gerontological topic.
  • In addition to the course requirements, students must attend two gerontology-related colloquia while they are enrolled in the program.
  • Students accepted into the program will be assigned a faculty adviser who will assist in selecting appropriate coursework in gerontology.
  • The gerontology adviser will monitor and evaluate the student's progress in the master's portfolio program. Students also must keep the gerontology adviser updated annually on their progress and obtain approval from the gerontology adviser for their completed portfolio.
  • The student must maintain an overall GPA of 3.5 or better in the master's portfolio courses.

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Doctoral Portfolio Program Course Requirements

  • Completion of four (12 semester hours) courses in the list of approved graduate level gerontology courses (PDF) with an overall GPA of 3.0 or better in the course.
  • The four courses must be taken from at least three of the four topical areas listed.
  • Of the four courses, no more than one course may be taken as an independent study, except in unusual circumstances. Taking more than one independent study course requires permission if the gerontology adviser.
  • Students interested in developing a portfolio in gerontology must complete an application form which will be reviewed by the gerontology adviser. The application must also include the signature of the student's graduate adviser. An integral part of the application process is the submission of a one-page essay describing the importance of the work in gerontology to the student's doctoral program and career goals.
  • Students who are accepted for the portfolio program will be assigned a faculty member who will assist in selecting appropriate coursework in gerontology and will monitor the student's progress through the portfolio program.
  • Students can enter the portfolio program at any point in their doctoral work.
  • Students in the portfolio program in gerontology must attend four gerontology-related colloquia during the course of their doctoral program.
  • A written scholarly report must be presented to the gerontology adviser, and be approved by the gerontology faculty, before the program is complete.
  • Students accepted into the gerontology portfolio program must keep the gerontology office updated each semester on their progress through approved courses.
  • Students should meet each semester with their assigned faculty in gerontology to update the faculty regarding their progress on their scholarly report.

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Application Forms

All files are in PDF format.

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