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Palmetto College

Certificate in Gerontology

The Gerontology certificate uses a multidisciplinary approach by drawing required coursework from the sociology and psychology curriculum, electives from various programs, and an internship or practicum from the major to prepare students to support the diverse needs of older people.

The Palmetto College Online Gerontology Certificate is issued by USC Beaufort, one of USC's senior campuses.


The Certificate in Gerontology is available online for students majoring in Hospitality Management, Human Services, Psychology (B.A.), Public Health, and Sociology. The courses within the certificate prepare students for the growing number of careers in the field of aging, which will only increase in importance as the percentage of older adults nears 25% of the US population by 2060! 

The certificate includes interdisciplinary core coursework in sociology and psychology, as well as flexible elective credits and an internship in the major, working with or in service of older adults. Students can also opt to complete the Working with Older Adults course prior to their internship to engage in personal and professional development, gain experience interacting with older adults, and learn about the roles of formal and informal caregivers.


Why should I complete a Gerontology Minor?

Completing a certificate in gerontology will better prepare you for the variety of careers that work to promote the well-being of older adults, support older adults and their families, or seek to understand and respond to the opportunities and challenges resulting from population aging at the societal level. Gerontology professionals are employed in fields including healthcare, social work, advocacy, lifelong learning, recreation, research, and a range of businesses delivering specialized services. 



The student must complete the following three courses (9 credits):

  • SOCY B303 - Principles of Gerontology (3) (cross-listed as PSYC B303 and HMSV B303)
  • SOCY B313 - Sociology of Aging (3)
  • PSYC B328 - Psychology of Aging (3)

The student must complete a semester-long internship focused on aging and later life, approved by the gerontology certificate coordinator, preferably as part of the internship or practicum included within their major:

  • HMSV B290 - Human Services Internship I (3) (or HMSV B298 or HMSV B490 or HMSV B492)
  • NURS B326C - Clinical Care of Adults with Acute and Chronic Conditions (3)
  • NURS B425 - Clinical Care of High Acuity Adults & Elders (3)
  • PSYC B495 - Internship in Psychology (3)
  • PUBH B390 - Field Experience in Public Health (3)
  • PUBH B480 - Internship in Public Health (3)
  • SOCY B495 - Internship in Sociology (3)

The student selects any two courses (6 credits) from the following list, which include an aging component, at least one of which should be relevant to the student’s major:

  • ANTH B452 - Medical Anthropology (3)
  • NURS B257 - Nursing Concepts in Adult Health (3)
  • NURS B360 - Gerontological and Rehabilitation Nursing (3)
  • NURS B450 - Ethical Decision-Making, Legal Issues, and Health Policy (3)
  • PHIL B312 - Bioethics (3)
  • PSYC B209 - Human Growth and Development (3)
  • PSYC B302 - Learning and Memory (3)
  • PSYC B321 - Life Span Developmental Psychology (3)
  • PSYC B361 - Biological Psychology (3)
  • PSYC B401 - Cognitive Psychology (3)
  • PUBH B315 - Health Promotion across the Lifespan (3)
  • PUBH B320 - Chronic Disease and Risk Reduction (3)
  • SOCY B301 - Introduction to Gender Studies (3)
  • SOCY B305 - Sociology of the Family (3)
  • SOCY B315 - World Population: Problems and Polices (3)
  • SOCY B341 - Sociology of Death and Dying (3)
  • SOCY B356 - Sociology of the Body (3)
  • SOCY B360 - Sociology of Medicine and Health (3)
  • SOCY B403 - Working with Older Adults (3) (cross-listed HSMV B360 & PSYC B360)

Total Certificate Credit Hours (18)*


Ready to get started?

Begin the enrollment process by applying for admission to one of the following programs: Hospitality Management, Human Services, Psychology (B.A.), Public Health, or Sociology. Once enrolled, you will have the opportunity to declare the Gerontology Certificate with your advisor.

If you have questions or would like an unofficial pre-evaluation of your college work before applying please call, chat, or email us today! Our trained representatives can create a plan that takes into account your earned credits and your unique circumstances.

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