SFU gerontology department hosts information session

The program offers a diploma, masters degree, and PhD in gerontology

PHOTO: Bruno Aguirre / Unsplash

Written by: Mahdi Dialden, News Writer 

SFU department of gerontology hosted an information session for students interested in the program on November 5, 2020. The Department Chair Habib Chaudhury, Graduate Program Chair Barbara A. Mitchell, Department Manager Anne Marie Barrett, Graduate Program Assistant Sasha Gill, and alumni speakers all gave insight to prospective students. 

Gerontology is “a study of the aging process and individuals as they grow from middle-age through later lives,” which includes “investigation of changes in society resulting from aging populations.” The social science focuses on the psychological aspects of aging and the policy and programs associated with it. 

The department provides three different programs including a one-year post-baccalaureate diploma (PBD) program, a Masters (MA) program, and a PhD in gerontology. These programs provide an interdisciplinary workload with “both quantitative and qualitative research skills.”

Each program includes its own set of requirements and course work. The PBD program requires the “completion of a four-year undergraduate degree from a recognized university, with a minimum grade point average of 2.5.” The masters program requires “an undergraduate degree in a related discipline,” and “must satisfy the general admission requirements for graduate studies.” The PhD program requires a Masters degree in gerontology or a discipline that includes aging-related coursework with a minimum of 3.5 GPA. A practicum component for PhD students “would include a volunteer or unpaid position that would provide services to older adults.”  

The gerontology department is a “smaller unit within SFU, and by virtue of that, [they’re] able to give higher quality interaction with the students both in terms of the size of the classes and the interaction that we have from faculty and staff, with the students.”

There are 12 awards that are specific and exclusive to gerontology students. These awards range anywhere from $500 to $2,000, and can be found on the SFU Graduate Awards’ application system. 

The program is increasingly relevant because 18% of the Canadian population are 65 and over, and “in 20 years, about 68% more than what we have now,” according to Chaudhury. 

Eireann O’Dea, a current PhD student and master’s graduate in gerontology said, “One of [her] favourite things about the program I would say is that it’s highly interdisciplinary. And [ . . . ] for someone like me who often has trouble choosing a singular topic of interest or one area to focus on, I found [it] really valuable.”

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