Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Secondary Major in Gerontology, Long Term Care Administration or Minor in Gerontology
Question: What is gerontology?
It is the study of the social, psychological and physical aspects of aging and the effects of our aging population on society.
Why should I add this to my major? What are the advantages? How will this benefit my career? What kind of career can I pursue along with gerontology?
Many former students have stated that their careers and job opportunities were enhanced by their gerontology training. A secondary major provides extra credentials for employment by supplementing your knowledge base within your chosen career path. Americans are now living longer due to technological advances. They are also a diverse group with a wide range of needs and interests. There are almost unlimited possibilities for individuals to work not only in the field of healthcare and retirement planning, but also in the delivery of new products and services. Having a background in gerontology may provide job opportunities in the areas of financial/legal services, leisure/travel/hospitality, fitness/wellness, advocacy, marketing and product development, counseling, program planning and evaluation, architectural/environmental services and more. People working in the field of gerontology report great job satisfaction and feel that they are truly making a difference in the lives of older Americans. Want to work with the older population but not sure how? Look at our brochure with ideas about careers to pair with the secondary major in gerontology, the long term care administration program or the minor in gerontology.
What is a secondary major?
A secondary major requires more hours than a minor, but less hours than a double major. It allows you to get an area of specialization within your preferred area of study and is typically more interdisciplinary than a minor. Most students find it enhances their job opportunities after college. If a student is applying for medical school or additional degrees after their Bachelors degree, they find it gives them an edge in the application process. The Secondary Major in Gerontology at Kansas State University requires a total of 24 credit hours which may overlap with courses taken for the students' primary major. The secondary major may not be completed as a stand-alone program.
Is there a minor in gerontology?
A new 15-credit minor in gerontology is now available. It includes 6 credit hours of required courses (GERON 315 Introduction to Gerontology and GERON 510 Aging in America: Policy & Advocacy) and 9 hours of electives taken from our list of approved courses.
Is the program offered online?
The required courses and some of the elective courses are offered online. With careful planning, a student should be able to complete the program entirely online.
How does the secondary major program work?
Students take two required courses: GERON 315 Intro to Gerontology and GERON 600 Seminar in Gerontology plus 18 hours of electives taken from a list of approved courses. Electives must be completed in at least 3 separate departments. Courses not on the list may be approved if they include significant aging-related content and if they are approved in advance by the academic advisor and Center on Aging director. For information on getting approval of a course for gerontology credit, please contact the gerontology advisor.
What is the procedure for adding the Secondary Major or Minor in Gerontology?
Students should e-mail or call the gerontology advisor at 785-532-5945 or firstname.lastname@example.org specifying whether they want to add the minor or the secondary major. The advisor will send an electronic request to the Registrars office to be added to the students' record.
Do I need to take the required courses first or in any specific order?
Students should take the Intro to Gerontology in one of their first few semesters after adding the secondary major or minor because it provides background information for other gerontology courses. It does not need to be the very first class that a student takes in the program. Before a student enrolls in the Seminar in Gerontology, they must take 15 hours of other gerontology courses.
Do the classes have prerequisites?
Some of the courses offered by other departments on campus will have prerequisites. Some instructors will waive prerequisites for gerontology students. For more specific information you can check the course catalog for information about a class or you can contact the gerontology advisor.
Can a course count for both my major requirements and my secondary major or minor requirements?
Yes, students may use a course to count for both the major and the secondary major or minor. For example, sometimes the gerontology courses can be used as professional or unrestricted electives for their primary major.
Who will be my advisor for the Secondary Major or Minor?
Pam Evans serves as the advisor for the program and certifies completion of the requirements when a student is ready to graduate. She can be contacted by telephone at 785-532-5945 or by email at email@example.com. She will communicate with a student's major advisor as needed to ensure the student is meeting all necessary requirements.
Do I need to be a student in the College of Health and Human Sciences?
No, this is an interdisciplinary program. Students may be in any college and any degree program at Kansas State University. Some majors will naturally have more overlap of course requirements than others. However there are no restrictions on who can declare the Secondary Major as an undergraduate student.
Can I complete the Secondary Major or Minor without completing a bachelor's degree?
Students must complete an undergraduate degree at Kansas State University to receive official recognition of the Secondary Major on their records. The secondary major must be completed concurrently with a Bachelors degree. It is not a stand-alone program. The minor can be taken at any time and does not need to be paired with a degree program.
Is it possible to simply do the coursework and then declare this option when I'm getting ready to graduate?
You could do this, but it is best to declare this option as early as you can so that the gerontology advisor can oversee your coursework. This will ensure you get everything completed by your graduation date without any errors. Additionally, once you declare gerontology you will start receiving electronic student communications which include career information, announcements of upcoming events or activities, new classes being offered, part time job opportunities and other activities in which you may want to participate..
Can I earn graduate credit with this program?
No. The Secondary Major is for undergraduate students only and the courses completed must be taken for undergraduate credit. Students may be interested in the online Graduate Certificate in Gerontology or online Master's in Gerontology offered by Kansas State University after completion of their bachelor's degree.
Can I transfer credits from another program or university?
Yes. Up to six credit hours can be transferred into the gerontology program with the approval of the gerontology advisor. More information is available in the course catalog.
I found a course in the schedule that is not approved as an elective for this program, but I think it should count. Who do I contact about this?
The gerontology advisor and the Center on Aging director will review course information to determine whether it may be used in the program. The Center on Aging will usually require a copy of the course syllabus as well as information on textbooks used, and may also contact the course instructor in order to assess the gerontology content of the class.
I'm planning to complete an internship for my primary major in an organization that serves older adults. Can that course be used as an elective for gerontology?
It may be possible to use an internship to count toward gerontology studies requirements. Students must talk to the gerontology advisor in advance of an internship to see if that is possible.
I'd like to do a gerontology internship in the Manhattan area or in my hometown during the summer. Is there some benefit to doing an internship? What are the procedures and/or the requirements?
Many students find it is helpful to have an internship experience specific to gerontology on their transcript and resume when they begin to apply for jobs or to additional schools after graduation. Their comments indicate that employers like to see this type of experience, and students feel that they gained a lot of knowledge about the older population and real world experience during the internship. For more information on course requirements, credit hours and possible placement sites, please contact the gerontology advisor. Gerontology internships must be arranged prior to the start of the semester in which the student is enrolled in the course. Enrollment in the variable credit gerontology internship course is by permission only (from gerontology advisor). Students will be required to keep a daily log of their internship activities as well as complete a project during their internship.
I'm trying to complete my schedule for enrollment. Where can I find a list of all the classes offered next semester?
The Center on Aging advisor posts all of the gerontology courses for a given semester. This schedule is usually posted within a few days of the posting of the official university course schedule (prior to enrollment). Any course posted on this page will be accepted toward the Secondary Major in Gerontology. Questions about specific courses can be directed to the gerontology advisor.
Who teaches the gerontology classes at Kansas State University?
The required courses (Intro to Gerontology, Aging in Ameria, and Seminar in Gerontology) as well as any course with a GERON prefix are taught by Center on Aging staff. Elective courses are taught by faculty in departments across the university who have an interest in aging-related issues within their areas of expertise. See more information about these faculty members.
Will this be listed on my diploma when I graduate? How does K-State know that I've completed this program?
Minors and Secondary Majors are not listed on the student diploma. It will be listed on the student transcript, and the Center on Aging will provide a signed certificate listing the number of gerontology hours completed for the program. Students must apply for graduation for both their primary and their secondary major in KSIS during their last semester at K-State. The gerontology advisor will then review the applications for graduation and approve them in KSIS so that they become a part of the student's academic records.
Whom do I contact for more information?
Questions about the Gerontology program at Kansas State University should be directed to:
Center on Aging
253 Justin Hall
1324 Lovers Lane
Kansas State University
Manhattan, KS 66506-3501