Online Gerontology Degree Courses

Grow your career with your Bachelor of Arts in Gerontology from Ashford University. Your courses cover several topics, from mental well-being, to social policy, to demographics and diversity in aging.

Introductory Course

All Bachelor’s program students are required to successfully complete EXP 105 Personal Dimensions of Education as their first course. Students with zero (0) traditional college-level transferable credits are also required to successfully complete the Student Success Orientation prior to enrolling in credit-bearing coursework. Following successful completion of orientation, students are required to successfully complete EXP 105.

Student Success Orientation
The orientation is designed to provide students with a complete overview of the Ashford University experience, prepare them for success in their courses, and help them to self-evaluate their readiness to succeed in an online classroom setting. Students will be instructed on Ashford University policies and the learning resources that are available to them through interactive videos and assessments. Students enrolled in orientation must successfully complete all assigned activities.

EXP 105 Personal Dimensions of Education
This course is designed to help adult learners beginning their university studies to achieve academic success. Students will explore learning theories, communication strategies, and personal management skills. Adult learners will develop strategies for achieving success in school and work. Students will also be introduced to the University's institutional outcomes and learning resources. A minimum grade of C- is required to successfully complete the course.

Major Course Requirements

(36 credits, all courses are 3 credits, unless otherwise noted. Courses are listed in the recommended sequence.)

SOC 322 Sociological Aspects of Adulthood
Utilizing a multi-disciplinary approach, this course provides an introduction to the field of gerontology and its social implications. Social, psychological, and physical aspects of aging are overviewed as well as an exploration of the demographic shift taking place and the meaning and impact of the shift in terms of issues and policies arising from the graying of America. Other course topics include common aging changes/conditions, myths and stereotypes, the effects of health and illness on the individual, family, and society, and the impact of media, culture, and gender influences on aging.

GRO 200 Introduction to Gerontology
This course will provide an introduction to aging and an overview of the field of gerontology. The major concepts, theories and principles of gerontology will be introduced. Students will explore ageism in the United States, current demographic trends in our society, old age as a stage of lifespan development, health and healthcare concerns of older persons, issues of work, retirement, housing and economics, family relationships and social support, quality of life, and political issues of an aging society. Concepts, practices and other issues of aging will be explored.

GRO 202 Psychology of Aging
This course covers normal aging from a cognitive perspective as well as various forms of dementia, including signs and symptoms, risk factors, and neuropathology. Students learn about cognitive changes that occur with normal aging as well as risk factors for transient cognitive impairments. Alzheimer’s disease is discussed in detail as well as non-Alzheimer’s forms of dementia, including frontotemporal dementia syndromes, Parkinson’s disease dementia, Lewy body dementia, vascular dementia, and Creutzfeld Jakob disease. The course also includes a section on evidence-based factors related to successful aging and the future of aging research.

GRO 325 Aging & Health
This course examines the interface between health and aging. A broad range of health concerns and issues of older persons are explored from physical, mental, and emotional perspectives.

GRO 330 Social Policy & Aging
This course explores the context and process for policy making impacting older adults in the United States. Topics covered include elder advocacy, retirement, inequities in access and procurement of services, employment, Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, delivery and regulation of health care, elder abuse, and social/community services.

GRO 338 Mental Well-Being & Aging
This course explores models of mental health for older adults. The content examines mental well- being in older adults from both the individual (micro level) and societal perspectives (macro level).

SOC 326 Diversity & Aging
This course explores the diversity perspectives of culture, ethnicity, economic status, national origin, disability, gender, and sexual identity as related to aging. Emphasis is placed on the ethnic perspectives of aging across cultures.

GRO 410 Death & Dying
This multidisciplinary course offers an overview of psychosocial aspects of death and dying. Topics include attitudes toward death, preparation for death, care of terminally ill patients, funeral issues, mourning, grief practices, suicide, and euthanasia.

GRO 440 Ethics & Legal Aspects of Aging
This course explores major ethical and legal issues impacting older adults and the provision of services to this population. Case studies and court decisions are incorporated throughout the course to address legal and ethical considerations/issues from social, cultural, and individual perspectives.

HCA 442 Contemporary Issues in Aging
This course presents significant major interdisciplinary aging issues and controversies drawn from biological sciences, medicine, nursing, psychology, sociology, gerontology, public policy, and social work. With an emphasis on critical thinking, divergent views and perspectives of aging phenomenology are explored through the reading and research of selected articles and reports covering current topical content.

PSY 326 Research Methods
Research Methods is an introduction to the foundations of research methodology, design and analysis. Basic principles of qualitative and quantitative research are explored and evaluated. Understanding the results of statistical analysis as it applies to research is a focus of this curriculum.

GRO 497 Gerontology Capstone
This course is a synthesis of the major ideas, perspectives, and concepts gained from the study of gerontology. A substantive paper is developed which requires students to critically analyze their experiences and integrate knowledge gained throughout the program.


You may also choose to delve deeper into other areas of health care when you add a specialization to your degree program. A specialization consists of four (4) courses, each worth three (3) credits each. These courses are taught online as part of your degree program. Choose the following specialization:

Health Care Informatics Systems 

HIM 301 Introduction to Health Informatics 
This foundational course details the history and factors driving the emergence of health informatics. In addition to emphasizing the concepts, terminologies and scope of health informatics, the course delves into health information exchanges, data standards, health informatics ethics, online resources and E-research. The course includes and overview of basic database architecture, design and file structure and data warehousing and data mining in healthcare.

HCA 417 Electronic Health Records 
This course begins with an exploration of the evolution of electronic health records (EHRs) and then delves into the current forces driving the adoption of electronic health records. The components of EHR's are reviewed and the core functionalities of the EHR are examined. Major consideration is given to HIPAA and confidentiality regulatory requirements in terms of EHR management. In addition, the different methods of data capture and recording of data are reviewed, as well as a comparison of contents for an inpatient versus an outpatient EHR.

HIM 410 Health Informatics – A Systems Perspective 
This course focuses on the behind the scenes components of exchange, standards and interoperability of information in healthcare. The course will evaluate informatics-based support resources to include evidence based practice, clinical decision support and transport protocols.

HIM 435 Analyzing Healthcare Data 
This course is a synthesis of the major ideas, perspectives, and concepts gained from the study of health informatics. Students will learn about the construction and utilization of health care data sets; the use of computerized statistical packages in health care; and the role of health informatics in financial and performance improvement goals. The student will apply common performance improvement models and tools to develop data-driven organizational reports.

Recommended Minor – Long Term Care Administration

In response to a rapidly aging population, opportunities in the field of long-term care are expected to grow. Nursing home administration is one of those professions. The Long Term Care Administration minor is for students interested in enhancing current degrees from fields such as gerontology, nursing, health and human services, psychology and other health-related fields. The minor, worth 18 credits (six courses), in Long Term Care Administration can add value and specialized knowledge to improve your career options and meet current job market demands in an ever growing field.

HCA 333 Introduction to Long Term Care
BUS 303 Human Resource Management
HCA 417 Electronic Health Records
HCA 312 Health Care Finance
HCA 322 Healthcare Ethics and Medical
HCA 375 Continuous Quality Monitoring & Accreditation

If this program fits your personal and professional goals, contact Ashford University at 866.711.1700 to learn more, or request additional information.