Gerontology Minor - Undergraduate - 2015 University Catalog

Gerontology Minor

Coordinator: Dr. Christine Price
Office: University Hall, Room 4028
Phone Number: (973) 655-3358

The minor in gerontology provides a program of study for undergraduate students who want to learn about the complex health, social, economic, environmental, psychological, transportation, housing, spiritual, intergenerational, recreational and aesthetic needs of older adults, their families and caregivers. At a time when close to one out of seven Americans is 65 or older, there is an increasing need for professionals in family studies, sociology, biology, psychology, health, adult fitness and recreation, anthropology, ethics, philosophy, business, tourism, legal studies, financial planning, accounting, music therapy and the arts to be trained to work in multiple contexts with a diverse population of senior citizens and their families. This multidisciplinary minor in gerontology is appropriate for students from most majors and challenges students to think critically about various aspects of healthy adult development and elderhood. The minor is distinctive in that it includes several service-learning courses which integrate academic coursework with "hands on" learning opportunities in a variety of community-based organizations.

Many of these organizations have had long-term partnerships with Montclair State University, its students, faculty and staff who have collaborated to increase the quality and quantity of assets and services for older adults in the surrounding community. The minor also requires a part time, supervised internship in an organization that works with older adults. These service-learning and internship experiences enable students to clarify career goals and/or provide background knowledge for working with elders in a variety of community-based service, public, private and non-profit settings. The employment outlook for students with some background in gerontology, whether their career interests are in business, finance, law, health, entertainment, recreation, travel, housing, family studies, counseling, etc., will only increase for the foreseeable future. One course in the minor meets a general education requirement and other courses may also meet a major requirement, a fact important to students who want to have a minor and still graduate on time.


Complete 2 requirement(s) for 18 semester hours:


    Complete 5 courses for 15 semester hours:

    FCST 201 Social Gerontology: The Study of Aging (3 hours lecture) 3
    FCST 305 Death and Bereavement in the Family (3 hours lecture) 3
    FCST 325 Adult Development and Aging (3 hours lecture) 3
    FCST 340 Aging and Social Policy (3.0 hours lecture) 3
    FCST 360 Families in Later Life (3 hours lecture) 3
  2. Complete 1 course from the following list.

    HLTH 440 Health Aspects of Aging (3 hours lecture) 3
    PEMJ 340 Fitness and the Aging Process (3 hours lecture) 3
    SOCI 309 Sociology of Health and Illness (3 hours lecture) 3

Course Descriptions:

FCST201: Social Gerontology: The Study of Aging (3 hours lecture)

In this course students examine issues related to aging in America from an individual and family perspective. They gain an understanding of biological, physiological, and cognitive changes related to aging and their impact upon families and daily life. Students also develop knowledge of the field of gerontology, utilizing a variety of perspectives including biological, psychological, and social aspects of aging and how personal values, attitudes, beliefs, race, ethnicity, and rituals affect the aging experience. Meets Gen Ed 2002 - Social Science. 3 sh.

Prerequisites: ENWR 105 or HONP 100.

FCST305: Death and Bereavement in the Family (3 hours lecture)

Students examine human responses to the dying process across the lifespan as well as the social functions of grief and mourning. Students also explore perceptions of death in various social, cultural, and religious contexts as well as substantive and controversial topics related to the end of life. 3 sh.

Prerequisites: FCST 200 or PSYC 101. Restricted to majors within the Family and Child Studies department or departmental approval.

FCST325: Adult Development and Aging (3 hours lecture)

In this course students critically examine topics related to change and continuity in the psychological, emotional, and biological ways that adults develop in mid-life and later adulthood. Students analyze issues of mental health, stress and coping, personality development, changes in memory, learning, and cognitive functioning, as well as intelligence, creativity, and psychopathology in later life. They compare models of development throughout adulthood and consider cultural, ethnic, gender, and socioeconomic variables that influence growth. Finally, students consider current research and contemporary issues as they pertain to adult development. 3 sh.

Prerequisites: FCST 200 or matriculation in the Gerontology minor and departmental approval.

FCST340: Aging and Social Policy (3.0 hours lecture)

Recognizing the importance of public policy as it pertains to a growing, aging population, this course will introduce students to a range of policy issues at the federal, state, and local levels. The process of policy formation will be reviewed including how political organizations, special-interest groups, and advisory groups influence policy development and implementation. The course will cover the major public programs for older adults in the U.S. that address income security, health and long-term care, and housing needs. In order to recognize the varying effects policy can have on the lives of seniors, older adults from diverse socioeconomic and ethnic backgrounds will be considered. Because families often struggle with the demands of caregiving and long-term care assistance, an evaluation of national and international public policy initiatives designed to address those needs will be conducted. Finally, students will be encouraged to identify and explore contemporary public policy issues that affect older adults on a regular basis. 3 sh.

Prerequisites: FCST 200; or matriculation in Gerontolgy minor and departmental approval. Restricted to majors within the Family and Child Studies department.

FCST360: Families in Later Life (3 hours lecture)

Applying the fields of family science and gerontology, students learn about family relationships, roles, and responsibilities in the second half of life. Students engage in discussion about later life families and the sociological and demographic implications of these families. Culturally and ethnically diverse populations are considered as well as issues of social justice. Multiple substantive topics related to aging families are examined (i.e., care giving, grandparenting, marriage and sibling relationships later life, housing, retirement, widowhood, aging parent-adult child relations, etc.). 3 sh.

Prerequisites: FCST 200 or PSYC 101. Restricted to majors within the Family and Child Studies department or departmental approval.

HLTH440: Health Aspects of Aging (3 hours lecture)

This course focuses upon changes in aspects of health during the middle and later years of life. Includes anatomy and physiology, nutritional requirements, sensoria and those phenomena associated with aging and sexuality. Common causes of morbidity and mortality explored as they relate to the aged. Attention given to the psychosocial and economic needs of the elderly as well as to those aspects of gerontology which deal with legislation and community organization. 3 sh.

Prerequisites: Health Education major or departmental approval. Starting Winter 2016: HLTH 355.

PEMJ340: Fitness and the Aging Process (3 hours lecture)

The anatomic, physiologic and social changes experienced by the older adult as he/she ages. The students will learn the bases for selection of appropriate activities and techniques for communicating with this specialized population. Field experiences involving older adults in fitness settings will be included in this course. 3 sh.

Prerequisites: PEMJ 320. Starting Winter 2016: PEMJ 320 or departmental approval.

SOCI309: Sociology of Health and Illness (3 hours lecture)

The focus of this course is on the relationship between society and health with a special emphasis on the role of culture and social structure. Health inequalities and the sociology of disability will be central concerns. Other topics will include social and cultural definitions of health and illness, the social role of the "sick", comparative medical beliefs and practices and medical institutions. 3 sh.

Prerequisites: SOCI 104 or SOCI 105 or SOCI 106 or SOCI 201 or SOCI 209 or SOCI 220 or SOCI 230 or FCST 200 or departmental approval.