Program director
Kimberly Freeman

Closed to admission for the 2023-2024 academic year.

Social work and gerontology—within a behavioral health framework—address the models of wellness, recovery, and resiliency needed for working with older adults and their caregivers. The program’s multidisciplinary approach considers the biological, psychological, social, and spiritual well-being of older adults and provides students with knowledge and skills in providing resources, clinical services, and opportunities to older adults and their families. As such, the combined M.S.W. and M.S. degree in gerontology program offers a unique opportunity for individuals interested in working with older adults within a variety of behavioral health settings.

Mission, goals, and objectives

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

General overview

The combined M.S.W./M.S. degrees in gerontology program is a seven-quarter, full-time curriculum that begins with the social work core coursework required for all students. Coursework during the first year of study includes the generalist practice curriculum, which is grounded in the liberal arts and the person-in-environment framework. Within this framework, students learn to promote social well-being, and build on the strength and resiliency of all human beings through a range of prevention and intervention practice methods when working with diverse individuals, families, groups, organizations, and communities. During their second year, students complete a clinical practice specialization along with specialized courses in gerontology and geriatric practice. An integrated practicum and specialized seminar class in gerontology typically begins in the summer quarter of the final year.

Liberal arts preparation

The combined M.S.W. and M.S. degrees in gerontology curriculum is built upon a liberal arts perspective. Individual applicants whose undergraduate degrees do 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 two-, three-, and four-year options.

Due to the use of online and hybrid teaching formats, visas are not available to international students and therefore international students cannot not be accepted into the M.S.W. Program. 

Laptop Computer

Students are required to have a laptop computer. For computer specifications, see the department website.

Closed to admission for the 2023-2024 academic year.

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

The M.S.W./M.S. in Gerontology degrees consists of 90 units of didactic coursework in addition to professional practica experiences. The dual degree program provides the mix of academic, experiential, and research activities essential for master’s degree level students. Students must maintain a grade point average of 3.0 on a 4.0 point scale (a letter grade of B) in order to progress successfully through the program and complete the degree. In addition, students must meet the knowledge, skills, and professional performance competencies outlined by the program. Students must meet both course and cumulative G.P.A. standards and course repeat expectations set by the School of Behavioral Health in the general regulations section of this CATALOG.

Generalist curriculum
SOWK 510Diversity Theory in Practice and Research3
SOWK 513Human Behavior in a Culturally Diverse Environment4
SOWK 514Social Welfare History and Policy4
SOWK 517Practice I: Individuals4
SOWK 518Practice II: Groups3
SOWK 519Practice III: Organizations and Communities3
SOWK 520Practice IV: Families 13
SOWK 548Research Methods5
SOWK 574Practice V: Administration, Management, and Supervision3
SOWK 585Legal and Ethical Aspects in Health and Behavioral Health Services3
SOWK 578Field Orientation 10
Required cognates
RELR 540Wholeness and Health3
Gerontology core courses
GERO 515Diversity and Aging3
GERO 615Economics and Management Issues of Older Adult Services4
GERO 617Bio-psycho-social-spiritual Theories of Aging4
Clinical specialization and geriatric practice
GERO 654Therapeutic Interventions with Older Adults3
SOWK 584Special Topics in Social Work2
SOWK 613DSM: Diagnosis, Diversity, and Differences4
SOWK 617Social Justice and Global Practice3
SOWK 620Psychopharmacology in Clinical Practice2
SOWK 647Integrated Behavioral Health Practice3
SOWK 648Co-occurring Processes and Interventions3
SOWK 659Recovery in Behavioral Health2
SOWK 661Psychodynamic Therapies4
SOWK 662Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies4
SOWK 663Crisis and Trauma Interventions3
SOWK 681Behavioral Health Policies and Systems2
Degree completion options6
Non-thesis option: 6
Advanced Research Methods
Advanced Research Methods
Advanced Research Methods
Thesis option: 2
Applied Research
Total Units90
Professional practica experience 5
GERO 787Advanced Professional Practicum and Seminar4
Generalist practicum and seminar
SOWK 757AGeneralist Practice Consultation 3,73
SOWK 757BGeneralist Practice Consultation 3,73
SOWK 757CGeneralist Practice Consultation 3,7,83
Clinical practicum and seminar
SOWK 787AClinical Practice Consultation 44
SOWK 787BClinical Practice Consultation 44
SOWK 787CClinical Practice Consultation 44
Total Units25

Not eligible for waiver.


Thesis option is available for students meeting program criteria.


Hours: 160 + 20; Not eligible for waiver


Hours: 200 + 20


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


SOWK 695ABC is equivalent to SOWK 695.


SOWK 678 substitutes 757ABC for Advanced Standing students with approval of the program


Students not passing the Qualifying Review at the completion of SOWK 757C must take SOWK 595.

Normal time to complete the program

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