Social Work — M.S.W. with Gerontology — M.S.

Program director
Kimberly Freeman

The combined degrees M.S.W./M.S. program integrates the content of the distinct degree programs, thus preparing graduates for advanced practice with older adults.

Mission, goals, and objectives

The mission, program goals, and objectives build on elements from the M.S.W. and M.S. degree in gerontology.

General overview

The combined degrees M.S.W./M.S., seven-quarter full-time program begins with the social work core course work required for all students. Course work during the first year of study includes: generalist foundation social work practice, social welfare policy, religion, and social research methods. During the final year of study, students complete a clinical services specialization. An integrated practicum and specialized seminar class in gerontology typically begins in the summer quarter of the final year.

Area of specialization

The combined degrees M.S.W. and M.S. in Gerontology Program offers an area of specialization in clinical service.

This specialization develops students' knowledge and skills in locating and providing resources, services, and opportunities for older adults and their families; as well as acquiring knowledge that supports enhancing the problem-solving and coping skills of older adults and their caregivers. Students gain an appreciation for the social support factors and community systems that create opportunities or exacerbate problems in daily living. Students develop an understanding of the issues that impact the creation of effective systems of care and responsive social policies.

Liberal arts preparation

The M.S.W. and gerontology curricula are built on a liberal arts perspective. Individual applicants whose undergraduate degree does not reflect this perspective may be asked to enroll in additional courses.

Please note: Any prerequisite requirements must be completed before admission to the combined degrees M.S.W/ M.S. program.

Program options

Alternate program options have been designed to address the varying needs of students. As such, the program offers a  two-year option; a three-year option; and a four-year option.


Students wishing to take the dual degree must be admitted to both the M.S.W. and the M.S. in Gerontology program separately.  Applicants should refer to the admissions criteria for each program.

The M.S.W./M.S. in Gerontology degree consists of 93 units of didactic course work in addition to professional practica experiences. The program provides the mix of academic, experiential, and research activities essential for master’s degree level students.  Students must maintain a program grade point average of 3.0 (or a letter grade of B on a 4.0 scale) and meet the knowledge, skills, and professional performance competencies outlined by the program. The minimum acceptable grade for all courses is a B- (2.7). Courses with grades falling below this standard must be repeated. Students are financially responsible for the cost of repeating courses in which grades obtained do not meet the minimum standards.

Required cognates
RELE 522Bioethical Issues in Social Work3
or RELE 524 Bioethics and Society
Professional foundation courses
GERO 515Diversity and Aging3
SOWK 513Human Behavior and Cross-Cultural Environment5
SOWK 514Social Welfare Policies and Services5
SOWK 517Practice I: Individuals3
SOWK 518Practice II: Groups3
SOWK 519Practice III: Organizations and Communities3
SOWK 520Practice IV: Families 13
SOWK 521Global Practice3
SOWK 548Research Methods5
SOWK 682Legal and Ethical Aspects in Health and Mental Health Services3
SOWK 578Field Orientation 10
Conjoining curriculum and processes
SOWK 610Diversity Theory in Practice and Research3
SOWK 613Psychopathology, Psychopharmacology, and Diagnosis of Behavioral Health Conditions4
SOWK 671Social Work Administration3
Required curriculum nucleus
BHCJ 649Integration of Behavioral Health in Primary Care2
GERO 615Economics and Management Issues of Older Adult Services4
GERO 617Bio-psycho-social-spiritual Theories of Aging4
SOWK 681Behavioral Health Policies and Systems2
Clinical services concentration
GERO 654ATherapeutic Interventions with Older Adults I3
GERO 654BTherapeutic Interventions with Older Adults II3
SOWK 648Co-occurring Processes and Interventions3
SOWK 661Psychodynamic Therapies3
SOWK 661LPsychodynamic Practice Lab1
SOWK 662Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies4
SOWK 662LBehavioral and Cognitive Therapies Practice1
SOWK 663Crisis and Trauma Interventions3
Culminating curriculum and processes
SOWK 675Supervision3
General Selective 5
Select 2 units from the following list:2
Medical Social Work
Recovery in Behavioral Health
Degree completion options6
Non-thesis option:
Advanced Research Methods
Advanced Research Methods
Advanced Research Methods
Thesis option: 2
Applied Research
Practicum and seminar 6
Advanced Professional Practicum and Seminar
Professional Foundation Practicum and Seminar 3
Professional Foundation Practicum and Seminar 3
Professional Foundation Practicum and Seminar 3
Advanced Professional Practicum and Seminar 4
Advanced Professional Practicum and Seminar 4
Advanced Professional Practicum and Seminar 4
Total Units93

Not eligible for waiver.


Thesis option is available for students meeting program criteria.


Hours: 160 + 20; Not eligible for waiver


Hours: 200 + 20


 Students wishing to take courses that are not included in this list of approved selectives must obtain an academic variance through the department's Academic Standards Committee prior to enrolling in the course.


700-numbered courses are not calculated into the total didactic units required for the degree.

Normal time to complete the program

7 academic quarters (includes didactic courses and practicums) — based on full-time enrollment; part time permitted