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Aging Studies


The Aging Studies Program is designed to prepare students for careers in the development, management and provision of services to older persons.

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    The Center for Studies in Aging, administratively located within the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences and Social Work, serves as the coordinating entity for the university's multi-disciplinary Aging Studies minor. This program draws upon the university's existing resources in such fields as social work, sociology, biology, psychology, nursing, nutrition and dietetics, health sciences, recreation and leisure services, physical education, economics and various ethnic studies programs.

    Degree Options

    What are the degree options?

    The program is designed to prepare students for careers in the development, management, and provision of services to older persons. Another major thrust of activity at present is directed toward increasing the number of aging-related courses by departments of the university. With this accomplished, students interested in careers in the field of aging, either as practitioners or researchers, will have opportunities to expand their knowledge of aging along with their chosen discipline.

    Minor: Aging Studies (interdisciplinary)

    20-30 credits

    Required Courses: 14-16 credits
    AGST 310 Multidisciplinary Studies in Aging (5)
    Required of all students in the minor, this course draws upon a number of disciplines and fields (primarily biology, psychology, social work, sociology, economics, nutrition and dietetics, and ethnic perspectives) to provide a balanced view of both normal and problem aspects of aging. Presents theoretical issues and aspects of aging as well a programs, services and issues involved in working with older persons.

    AGST 410 Minority Perspectives in Aging (3)
    Required of all students in the minor, this course is oriented toward a critical examination of the variations of in aging experiences of minority elderly in the United States. Its focus is on the most salient themes, orientations and dimensions of the problems and processes of aging in the broader cultural tradition within each ethnic minority group. Particular attention paid to biological, material, and historical bases of such dimensions, regional variations among populations and the effects of such past events as conquest and colonialism. Prerequisite: AGST 310 or special permission of the instructor.

    Select two (2) of the following courses: 6-8 credits
    BIOL 343 Biology of Aging (3)
    Aging of biological organisms, viewed from the molecular level through the population level, with an emphasis on the human. Prerequisite: AGST 310 or a college level biology course.

    ECON 498 Economics of Aging (3)

    PSYC 432 Clinical Psychology of Adult Life and Aging (4)
    Psychological meanings of aging in terms of personal experience with with growing older, relations with older family members, and potential professional roles. Focus is on sensory, cognitive and personality changes, psychopathology, and coping with death. Prerequisite: PSYC 309 or prior permission of the instructor.

    SWKU 455 Social Policy and Programs in Aging (3)
    Social welfare policies and programs serving the aging are examines, past and present, in terms of their overall impact on the aged and on society at large. The needs and gaps in services to the aged are evaluated, as well as the adequacy with which these services are delivered, and the response of programs and services to the changing needs of the aged. Prerequisite: AGST 310 or prior permission of the instructor.

    SOCI 484 Sociology of Aging (5)
    Analyze demographic and institutional patterns, social roles, policies and various perspectives on aging in the United States and globally. Prerequisite: SOCI 101 (freshman/sophomore) or 361 (junior/senior).

    Electives: 6-9 credits (11-14 minimum credits if practicum required).
    Select from the following list of courses or select courses from the above list not already taken.
    SWKU 456 The Older Woman (3)
    Older women's needs, problems, and potential for change are considered. The social, economic, and health problems confronting older women are also examined, and policy and program alternatives to improve their lives will be explored. Prerequisite: AGST 310 or prior permission of the instructor.

    SWKU 457 Clinical Assessment of Aging (3)
    An introduction to the assessment skills required for professional social work practice in mental health and other clinical settings dealing with the elderly. The course is intended for social work practitioners and graduate students. Others may be considered for admission on an individual basis with instructor's permission. Prerequisite: AGST 310 and/or prior permission of the instructor.

    SWKU 458 Perspectives on Death and Dying (3)
    This course is designed to assist students in the helping professions who wish to work with the terminally ill. Focus will be on an increased ability to deal with one's own mortality; the development of beginning skills for working with the terminally ill and their families; an understanding of the complex social system which surrounds death in modern America; as well as the current moral, ethical, and philosophical issues in the field. Prerequisite: AGST 310 or prior permission of the instructor.

    Field Practicum (5 credits minimum may apply)
    A field practicum of 5 credits is required of those students not having completed a practicum in aging in their major.

    Note: Students in the physical sciences will be required to take courses in the social sciences, and students in the social sciences will be required to take courses in the physical sciences. See course descriptions under the participating programs and departments: Biology, Economics, Psychology, Social Work, and Sociology.


    What can I do with my degree?

    Careers include:

    Contact Information

    Center for the Studies on Aging
    Senior Hall 116
    Cheney, WA 99004

    phone: 509.359.4538
    fax: 509.359.6475

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