1. K-State home
  2. »College of Health and Human Sciences
  3. »Center on Aging
  4. »Academics
  5. »Graduate
  6. »Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
K-State GPIDEA Online Master's in Gerontology & Online Certificate in Gerontology

What is Great Plains IDEA or GP-IDEA?

It stands for the Great Plains Interactive Distance Education Alliance. The Great Plains IDEA is an award-winning multi-state alliance of Human Sciences Colleges founded in 1994 as a means to create a marketplace for sharing distance education courses and programs at the graduate level. It utilizes the growing field of distance education to connect students around the country and afford them the opportunity to be admitted to one member institution and study at other member institutions via Internet-based courses. For more information visit the Great Plains IDEA website.

What online programs do you offer in gerontology?

We offer a 36-credit master's degree program and a 15-credit graduate certificate program, which consists of a subset of courses from the master's degree program. The certificate program is for students who want a credential in gerontology and who do not need a master's degree. We do not offer a web-based undergraduate degree in gerontology.

How does the program work?

Several institutions are participating in the online gerontology and certificate programs. Students are accepted into the program of their choice, enroll through their home institution, take web-based courses offered by all participating institutions, and meet graduation requirements at the institution through which they take courses. The program was developed and implemented by a team of graduate faculty representing all participating institutions.

What are the entrance requirements for admittance to a graduate program at K-State?

A bachelor's degree from a college or university accredited by the cognizant regional accrediting agency, undergraduate preparation in the proposed major field equivalent to that acquired by a graduate of Kansas State University, or evidence of an appropriate background for undertaking an advanced degree program, and a grade point average (GPA) of 3.0 or higher on a 4.0 scale in the last 60 hours of coursework. This GPA is based only on courses graded on a multi-level scale, usually A, B, C, D, F. For more information on admission and general requirements please review Chapter 2 of the Graduate Handbook.

How much does the program cost and what does that include?

By agreement among the institutions the common tuition rate for the 2018-2019 academic year is $580 per graduate credit hour. Books and classroom materials are not included. No other campus fees are assessed. Student fees are paid to the institution to which they are accepted and through which they enroll, regardless of which institution teaches the courses.

How long does it take to complete?

Students typically complete the master's program in four years if they are employed full time and taking only one course each semester. Students who take two classes each term (fall, spring and summer) can complete the program in 2 years. The certificate program may be completed in one year, depending on how many courses are taken each semester. Students may take classes on either a part-time or full-time basis.

How frequently are courses offered?

Each course is offered at least once a year with sustaining enrollment. New elective courses are added as they are developed. For information on when required and elective courses are offered, please see the gerontology course matrix.

Are the classes entirely online?

Yes. Some of the classes will be taught by your home institution and some will be taught by professors based at one of the other universities participating in the gerontology degree program. Typical students in the program may be located in the US or in other countries. Students are not required to visit the campus at any time during the degree program, although they have the option to attend graduation ceremonies in person if they wish to do so.

Does a student need to be admitted into the graduate program at all the participating universities?

You only need to be admitted to the university you select as your “home” university, which is the university through which you will enroll for courses and receive your degree.

What are the application deadlines?

The program at Kansas State University currently has rolling admissions and you may apply at any time of year. Please note that there are specific university deadlines for international student applications because they take longer to process. International applications will be reviewed after the deadline date. At that time the graduate committee will consider the request for admission to the Gerontology program and will forward the approved applications to the Graduate School. The Graduate School provides final approval and notifies applicants of their acceptance.

What are the credentials of your faculty?

All instructors are Graduate Faculty members at their respective universities. Faculty members teach courses in their particular area of expertise.

Is this an accredited program?

Kansas State University has been continuously accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools since 1916.

Is a practicum included in the program?

A 3-credit hour practicum may be used as an elective in the program by pre-arrangement and with advisor approval, although it is not required for completion. Students should visit with their major professor if they wish to add a practicum to their studies.

Can I transfer courses from another university?

Kansas State University accepts graduate credit from another university if the institution is accredited by the cognizant regional accrediting association to offer graduate degree programs. Under normal circumstances, graduate credit transferred from other universities may not exceed 10 credit hours, and only for courses graded B or better. Credits earned more than six years prior to the semester in which the program of study is approved may not be transferred. For more information review the Graduate Handbook.

Who will serve as my advisor for the program?

When you are admitted to the program you will be assigned an on-campus advisor. You may interact with your advisor in person, by phone and/or via email.

Who will answer my questions if I have a problem or concern?

If your question is about your application materials, please contact Pam Evans at the Center on Aging at gerontology@k-state.edu or 785-532-5945. Once you are accepted to the program the campus coordinator (Rachel Ohmes) should be able to answer your questions or direct you to other resources for assistance. Contact the coordinator at 785-532-5493 or gpideacc@k-state.edu.

Where do I purchase my textbooks?

Students may download course information sheets prior to enrolling from the K-State Great Plains IDEA website. Additionally, students will receive an email 3-4 weeks prior to the start of the semester which includes the list of required textbooks for a course, and a list of possible sources for purchase. Many times books are available through the teaching institution's campus bookstore, and students are given contact information to place their order. Books may also be available online through Amazon or Barnes and Noble, or directly from the publisher as either hard copies, ebooks, or as rentals. Students may shop around once they receive the textbook information to see where they can obtain the best price. When doing this, students should ensure they are purchasing the correct edition of the textbook and that the book(s) will be received in a timely manner prior to the start of class.

Is financial aid available?

In most cases, students must be enrolled in at least six credit hours to be eligible for financial aid. Contact the Student Financial Assistance office at ksusfa@k-state.edu or 785-532-6420. The Center on Aging and its staff cannot assist with questions or problems related to Financial Aid.

Is the gerontology program covered under VA benefits?

If a student is currently enrolled and has active benefits, then the coursework will usually be covered by VA benefits. For more information contact the Kansas State University Office of Veterans Affairs at veteran@k-state.edu or 785-532-7061. The Center on Aging and its staff are unable to assist with questions or problems related to VA benefits.

May I take any on-campus classes to use as electives in the program if I am located near the university?

Your graduate committee and/or major professor may approve on-campus gerontology courses to be used toward the requirements of the program.

What specific degree will I receive when I complete this program?

You will receive a Master of Science in Gerontology through Kansas State University. If you are enrolled in the certificate program, you will receive a Graduate Certificate in Gerontology. Students enrolled through our partner universities will receive a degree which may have a different title.

Will I be required to take the GRE for admission into the program?

Kansas State University does not require GRE scores for admission to the online gerontology program. The GRE may be required at the other participating schools. Please contact the particular school you are interested in for more information. For additional Graduate School information, please visit www.k-state.edu/grad/.

What is the procedure for admission into the program?

Complete and submit the following:

Once all application materials are submitted, the academic committee will review applications and make a recommendation on acceptance. 

What type of equipment will I need to complete this online program?

You will need a computer, the ability to access and download materials from the Internet, and an updated web browser. High-speed internet access is strongly recommended.

Is my current email address acceptable for use in this program?

When you are accepted into the program and enrolled at Kansas State University you will be assigned a K-State email address. This is the address you should use for all of your classes and correspondence because it is the address at which you receive communications from your instructor through K-State Online (KSOL), a course management system designed to deliver an interactive, web-based classroom to students. You may access K-State webmail through your web browser via a link on the K-State home page. Your K-State email address may be forwarded to another email address if you prefer, although this is strongly discouraged if you use a Yahoo! or Hotmail account due to bounced/undeliverable message issues.

What types of jobs can I get with a gerontology degree?

Depending on the area of the country in which you live, and whether it is rural or urban, you should have a number of job options in a number of areas. These might include direct services (health or legal services), program planning and evaluation, management and administration, marketing and product development, advocacy (health care, community services, government policy), education and training (instructional programs for older people or degree programs and continuing education of practitioners in the field of aging), or research. A good resource on job possibilities in the field of gerontology is an  This information can be found in the online publication titled, “Careers in Aging: Consider the Possibilities” by the Academy for Gerontology in Higher Education.

Is it possible to retain my current job while completing this degree?

Yes, students may take courses on a part-time or full time basis, depending on their individual needs and other responsibilities.

What is the pay scale for someone with this degree?

The pay scale would depend on the type of job, profit vs. non-profit agency, geographic location, etc. and there will be a wide variation based on the level of expertise required and/or level of responsibility. For specific information about the pay scale of jobs related to aging in your state, contact your state Department on Aging.

What library services are available to me with this program?

Off-campus access to K-State electronic resources includes the library catalog, databases, e-journals, and e-books; web-based subject guides; telephone or email help from a librarian (including your subject specialist); and web-based library instruction tutorials. More information can be found at the Distance Learning web page at K-State Libraries. Once you are accepted into the program and enrolled in classes, you will be given electronic access to these library resources.

What institutions are participating in this particular degree?

University of Arkansas, Iowa State University, Kansas State University, University of Missouri, North Dakota State University, Oklahoma State University and Texas Tech University.

What online degrees are available through the Great Plains-IDEA?

Community Development, Dietetics, Family & Community Services, Family & Consumer Sciences Education, Family Financial Planning, Gerontology, Merchandising, Youth Development and Military, Veterans & Families are available as online degree programs. There are also programs in Agricultural Education, Agricultural and Environmental Law, Agricultural Systems Management Technology, Bioenergy & Sustainability Technology, Food Safety and Defense, Grassland Management, Horticulture, Soil, Water and Environmental Science and Swine Science. For more information on these programs please visit the K-State Great Plains IDEA website.

Whom do I contact for more information and/or regarding application materials?

Questions about application materials and/or being admitted to the K-State Gerontology program should be directed to:

Pam Evans
KSU Center on Aging
253 Justin Hall
1324 Lovers Lane
Manhattan, KS  66506

Questions about enrollment and other issues after the student has been admitted to the program should be directed to:

Rachel Ohmes
Great Plains IDEA
119 Justin Hall
1324 Lovers Lane
Manhattan, KS  66506

Additional Resources

If you have other questions which have not been addressed in this document you may wish to visit the following websites: