May 25, 2024  
Academic Catalog 2019-2020 
Academic Catalog 2019-2020 [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Gerontology Graduate Certificate


The Graduate Certificate in Gerontology is a 15 credit post-baccalaureate program. All courses are fully online with no residency requirement. The program is offered in a part-time format, and the 6 courses can be completed in 12 months.


The primary mission of the Graduate Certificate in Gerontology is to foster and facilitate interdisciplinary education that enhances the life quality of older adults. In support of this mission, the program focuses on health and aging; elder rights and health disparities in aging; and creating change in the healthcare environment by developing, leading, and managing innovative programs to better serve older adults. The certificate reflects the mission of the College of Health Professions and Pacific University because students are prepared to provide compassionate delivery of exemplary healthcare for a diverse aging population in a changing healthcare environment.


The program provides students with an exemplary online education, educates current healthcare professionals to integrate gerontology scholarship into everyday practice, promotes interprofessional collaboration focused on the diverse needs of the aging population, and empowers students to create positive change in their work environment.

Upon completion of the certificate, students will:

  • recognize the myths, realities, and their own biases related to the physical, mental, and social aspects of aging;
  • use an evidence based approach to provide services/care to older adults;
  • integrate effective communication and educational strategies appropriate for the individual sensory impairments and health literacy levels of the older adults they serve;
  • advocate for older adults and increase public awareness of needs and services; and
  • be empowered to create change in their work environment.




The following are required for admission:

Admission occurs on a rolling basis and qualified students are accepted until the class cohort is filled. A new class cohort begins each fall semester and is limited to 15 students.


Add/Drop/Withdrawal schedule

Students can drop a course through the first week without having the course appear on their transcript. Students may withdraw through the fourth week of the seven-week course and receive a W on the transcript, with no grade penalty. Withdrawls after the 4th week normally are not permitted unless approved by the Program Director. It is the responsibility of the student to drop or withdraw from a course; otherwise, the student may receive a failing grade.

Taking courses as a non-degree seeker

Matriculating students in graduate programs at Pacific are permitted to enroll in up to six credits of gerontology courses, except GERO 650 , before matriculating into the gerontology program.

Leave of Absence/ Readmission policy

Students may apply for a leave of absence, of up to one year. To return to the gerontology program after a one-year leave of absence, the student must contact the Program Director in writing during the semester immediately preceding the desired semester of return. If a student does not return in this time frame, that student is withdrawn from the program, but may submit an Application for Readmission if readmission is desired at a later date.  If a student decides to return to the program after a period greater than one year, the student must submit an Application for Readmission. Any student who completes additional college-level course work at another academic institution while on a leave of absence from the gerontology program must submit official transcripts from all colleges attended during the absence from Pacific University. If a student is on academic warning or academic probation at the time a leave of absence is granted, the student may be required to demonstrate competency through additional course work at another regionally accredited educational institution and/or formally reapply to the gerontology program before readmission. Contact the Program Director for more information.

Time limits to complete degree

Students must complete all certificate requirements (15 credits) within four calendar years of entry into the program.


A 95-100
A- 90-94
B+ 87-89
B 83-86
B- 80-82
C+ 77-79
C 73-76
F < 73

Students must maintain a 3.0 cumulative GPA and no grade lower than a C is acceptable. Students with academic records that do not meet these requirements will be evaluated individually and may be required to repeat courses, pass a qualifying exam, or be dismissed from the program.

Incomplete Grades

An instructor may issue a grade of Incomplete (I) only when the major portion of a course has been completed satisfactorily but health or other emergency reasons prevent the student from finishing all requirements of the course. Prior to submitting an Incomplete grade, the instructor and the student complete an Incomplete Grade Contract detailing the completion and submission of all remaining work. After submission of the work, the instructor completes a Grade Change form and submits it to the School Director for approval; the form then is processed by the Registrar.

The instructor and the student must agree upon a deadline by which all coursework will be completed and submitted to the instructor. Students may take up to two academic semesters to make up any incomplete work.

If agreed-upon work is not completed and no grade change submitted within two semesters (and an extension has not been granted), when the Incomplete expires the grade becomes an F or N. Faculty may request an extension of an Incomplete (before the expiration date of the Incomplete) by notifying the Registrar’s office.

Students may not begin the Capstone Project until all Incompletes have been removed. Incomplete grades must be completed with a grade of C or higher.

Questions regarding this policy should be directed to the Registrar or the School Director.

Student Conduct

Students have the responsibility to conduct themselves, both individually and in groups, in a manner which promotes an atmosphere conducive to teaching, studying and learning. Students are expected to uphold academic and personal integrity, to respect the rights of others, to refrain from disruptive, threatening, intimidating, or harassing behavior, or behavior that is harmful to themselves, other persons or property.

Student Evaluation

Students will be given regular feedback on their progress in the program. A student who is not performing adequately according to the standards will receive notification through written feedback and/or individual advisement.


Gerontology students must maintain a 3.0 cumulative GPA, and no grade lower than a C is acceptable. Students with academic records that do not meet these requirements will be evaluated individually and may be required to repeat courses, pass a qualifying exam, or be dismissed from the program.

Academic Standing

Good academic standing requires satisfactory academic performance and progress through the curriculum, appropriate professional conduct, effective computer and interpersonal skills, and adherence to policies and procedures. 

Assessment process

See gerontology website:


If any instructor detects instances of plagiarism, cheating, fabrication, misrepresentation, failure to appropriately attribute reference materials or the reuse of a student’s written materials from other courses on any exam, paper, assignment or other work submitted by a student, or the submission of the work of another student as your own work, the result will be an immediate failure of the course, with a grade of F, and referral for possible institutional action including expulsion from the program.

In cases of flagrant or intentional violations of the University Code of Academic Conduct or the University Code of Student Conduct, a student may be removed from the program without previous warning, at any time.

Transfer Credits

The Gerontology Certificate Program accepts up to 6 transfer credits, upon approval by the Program Director.


With the permission of the Program Director and the course instructor(s), students may audit any gerontology courses, except GERO 650 .

Repeated Courses

Students may repeat any gerontology course for a grade, but each course can be retaken only twice.

Normal Load

Students typically will enroll in 5 credits per semester. This is considered half-time, and students are eligible to apply for financial aid.

Dropping/Withdrawing From a Course

Students may drop a class through the first week without having the class appear on the transcript. Students may withdraw through the fourth week of the seven-week course and receive a W on the transcript, with no grade penalty. Withdrawals after the fourth week are only permitted with approval by the Program Director.

It is the responsibility of the student to notify the Registrar’s Office and the instructor when dropping or withdrawing from a class; otherwise, the student may receive a failing grade.

Requirements for Certificate Completion

  • Students must complete all certificate degree requirements (15 credits) within four calendar years of entry into the program
  • Students must complete all course work with satisfactory grades and maintain a cumulative GPA of 3.0
  • Students must receive a C to pass a course
  • Students must receive faculty and preceptor approval prior to starting on capstone project

Appeals Process

In general, program decisions regarding academic standing are final. A decision may be appealed only if the student can show that 1) there was an error in the procedure used by the faculty, 2) there is new evidence sufficient to alter the decision, or 3) the sanction imposed was not appropriate to the severity of the violation of professional or academic standards. Appeals to the College of Health Professions Standards and Appeals Committee are to be filed with the School Director’s office within 10 days from the date of notification of the original action. Students are not allowed to attend class until the student has filed an appeal. Further appeals may be pursued through the University Standards and Appeals Committee.

Gainful Employment

For more information about our graduation rates, the median debt of students who completed the program, and other important information, please visit our website at

Tuition and Fees

Tuition: $828 per credit
Audit: $450 per hour

Certificate Requirements

15 credits are required. The curriculum is designed so that courses build upon each other; therefore, students should complete the curriculum in sequence.