Jul 21, 2024  
2024-2025 Graduate Catalog [Current Academic Year] 
2024-2025 Graduate Catalog [Current Academic Year]

Gerontology [Graduate Certificate]

Location(s): In-person/hybrid

The School of Social Work administers the Gerontology Certificate program through a coordinating committee of faculty from approximately 12 departments and programs throughout the campus. The 15-credit-hour multidisciplinary Graduate Certificate is designed for students with a Bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution of higher education wishing to pursue specialized study in aging short of a Master’s degree. It targets those working in the field of aging seeking formal education in gerontology, persons considering a career change, and students wishing to learn about the aging process to enhance their aging experience.

Although the Graduate Certificate in Gerontology does not require enrollment in a graduate degree program, it may be used as a cognate or concentration in other graduate programs, including Social Work [M.S.W.] , Psychology - Clinical Behavioral [M.S.] , Women’s and Gender Studies [M.A.] , Dietetics [M.S.] , Public Administration [MPA] , Occupational Therapy [M.O.T.] , Programs - Leadership and Counseling , Sociology [M.A.] , and other Master’s programs.

Program Admission

Admit Terms and Deadlines

Applications are accepted on a rolling basis; students may start the program in the Summer, Fall, or Winter. See Application Deadlines.

Minimum Graduate School Requirements

For full admission, applicants must have 1) Earned a four-year baccalaureate degree from a regionally accredited U.S. institution or an equivalent degree from a non-U.S. institution, 2) a minimum cumulative undergraduate grade point average of 2.7 on a 4.0 scale, or 3.0 in the last half of the undergraduate program. Conditional admission may be available to applicants not meeting minimum admission requirements.

Program Requirements

Applicants must also meet the following program requirements:

  • Submit a 1-2 page personal statement describing their professional history and interest in the field of aging (See guidelines ). In addition to submitting the personal statement with the graduate school application, please send a copy to the Graduate Certificate in Gerontology advisor.
  • Have an interview with the Gerontology program director (schedule a Graduate Certificate Admission Appointment).  For more information, please get in touch with Cassandra Barragan at cbarrag1@emich.edu.

Students must be admitted to the Graduate Certificate program before enrolling in required coursework.


Your application will be submitted using GradCAS, a Centralized Application Service (CAS) hosted by Liaison. After reviewing the admission requirements, please review the application instructions  and select the appropriate application.

Domestic Applicants Within the application, follow the instructions to submit an official transcript from all previously attended institutions.

International Applicants Before applying, applicants must review the international application/process deadlines at emich.edu/international as they may differ from general program requirements.

For additional information regarding the application process, please see Graduate Admissions or International Admissions.


School Information

Social Work 323 Marshall, 734.487.1418

Andrea Zakrajsek, PhD, Interim Director

Sarah VanZoeren, PhD, Graduate Coordinator

Advisor Information

Cassandra Barragan, PhDDirector, Aging Studies Program, 206H Marshall, 734.487.5823

Degree Requirements: 15 hours

The Graduate Certificate in Gerontology is awarded upon satisfactory completion of 15 credit hours, includes four required courses (9 hrs), restricted electives (3-4 hrs), and a 120-hour practicum (2-3 hrs). The minimum acceptable grade in each required course is 3.0 (B). Students scoring less than a B may repeat the course once before being dismissed from the program.

Critical Graduation Information

Each graduate student is responsible for fulfilling the requirements or their equivalents of the Eastern Michigan University catalog in force at the time of their initial registration or a subsequent catalog, including the one in effect at the time of their graduation.

Graduate Certificate requirements must be completed within three (3) years of first enrollment in a course applicable to the certificate. Dually enrolled students (certificate and master’s program) must complete both degrees within six years of first enrollment in the master’s degree. 

In the event a student does not complete the graduate certificate degree requirements within three years of the date of their original registration, the student may be required to have their credits re-evaluated by the academic department(s) of their degree in keeping with catalog requirements in force during the year of their graduation.

The following are the minimum requirements for all graduate certificate degrees awarded by Eastern Michigan University. Some programs require more than the minimum in one or more areas below.

  • A graduate certificate must require a minimum of 12 credit hours.
  • No more than six credits of independent study courses and 12 credit hours of special topics and independent study courses combined may be applied to a graduate degree.  
  • Residency Requirement - For students admitted to a graduate certificate program, at least nine graduate hours beginning the semester of acceptance and enrollment into the program must be earned at EMU. Students completing multiple certificate programs must have a minimum of 9 unique credit hours per certificate.
  • Application of completed certificates toward prior degree credit - Only credits from one completed graduate certificate may be applied to a master’s or specialist degree in a relevant field of study, as determined by the Graduate School and with the approval of the degree-granting academic department, and be included in the residency hours of the master’s program.
  • The Graduate School does not permit the use of undergraduate courses (499 and below) to meet degree requirements on graduate programs of study.
  • Students must maintain a 3.0 cumulative GPA in all graduate-level courses taken at EMU and in their program of study to remain in good academic standing and be eligible for graduation. Students do not need to be registered for classes during the semester of graduation.